National Electrical Installation Standards

Standards as High as Your Own

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Re: CQD answer published Friday, August 25, 2017 -Ground Rod Electrode Installation

Regarding the difficulty in installing ground rods in rocky conditions:

1. we use a demolition hammer to drive our rods;

2. if vertical is impossible we attempt a 45 degree;

3. and lastly if all of those do not work, we drive it as far as possible and dig a 6" trench for the remaining rod. We use a torch to heat of the rod and then bend it into the shallow trench. No the entire rod is in the ground. The code doesn't say that it can't be bent or that it has to be straight. I Hope this helps all the guys and gals with this same problem.

Jeff Glanstein



Hey Jeff thanks for your comment. The NEC doesn't specify what is to be used to drive ground rods and using a power tool as you suggest is a common method. The wording in 250.53(G) does not specifically prohibit bending ground rods but it does require the rod to be driven to a depth of 8 ft - unless rock bottom is encountered. If driving a rod at the 45 degree from vertical cannot be done, due to rock bottom, then the rod can be buried in a trench that is at least 2 1/2 feet deep. A 6 inch trench seems questionable and although UL 467 Grounding and Bonding Equipment has a bend test it does not have a "torch heating" test so damage to coatings could occur. As previously mentioned if none of those options work it will be up to the AHJ to decide what can be done.

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