How to Ground the Electric Panel and Meter Base

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The ground connection is inside the meter base.
The ground connection is inside the meter base. (Image: electric meter can image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com)

Home wiring can be accomplished by the owner without a license in many states and municipalities. Some types of wiring require an inspection by the local building inspector or commissioner before the power company will connect to them. A knowledge of some basic wiring techniques and familiarity with tools is helpful but not required. Using good safety habits is always well-advised. Obtaining the proper tools and keeping steps in order will make any electrical task easier.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Screwdriver kit
  • Electricians pliers
  • Electrical wire, 8 feet No. 6
  • Shovel
  • Sledgehammer
  • Ground rod
  • Ground rod clamp
  • Adjustable wrench

Call the local utility wire locating service, often referred to as call before you dig, to locate any buried wires. Call the power company to make an appointment for them to break the seal and remove the electric meter.

Locate the meter base after the power company has removed the meter. Put on your safety glasses. Locate the ground rod lug on the meter base, which is in contact with the metal base. The lug is the smallest one and will be uninsulated.

Locate the large ground lug, which is also uninsulated, in contact with the metal base, and has a large wire going to the electric panel. Check the large ground lug to verify it is tightened snugly.

Place one end of the No. 6 wire through the proper hole in the bottom of the meter base. Leave enough slack to connect it to the small ground lug. Strip a half inch of insulation off the No. 6 wire. Place the No. 6 wire under the ground lug, and tighten it securely.

Scoop out about three inches of dirt under the meter base to make a shallow hole. Drive the ground rod into the hole in the ground directly under the meter base using the sledgehammer until the rod only has a few inches left above the bottom of the hole. Place the ground rod clamp on the ground rod, and tighten it securely using the adjustable wrench.

Strip a half inch of insulation off the other end of the No. 6 ground wire. Place it under the lug on the ground rod clamp. Tighten the ground rod lug securely on the wire, thus completing the ground circuit all the way to the panel box through the meter base and increasing protection from lightning.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always work with the power off.

References

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