Ground rod - angle of installation

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
I used to do work for EDC (Ross Perot owned them at one time I think) anytime I had to pull a floor tile, I had to disable the Halon system. One day one of the IT guys pulled a tile right under an office thermostat, and didn't disable the Halon. Heat cut on, the dust started smoking off the heat strips, set off the fire alarm. You should have seen the bunch of IT geeks scrambling to the Halon closet to pop the head off the canister! LOL!
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
The EI insisted I remove them and put them through a roamed connector because “he doesn’t like to see EC’s use those entry ports.”
A friend used to be an elevator installer/mechanic, and every time an inspector (usually the same one) said some thing like "I would have . . . " or "I'd rather see . . . " my friend would reply "Sure, just sign the change order."
"
 

tjtrout20

Member
I wish I was kidding…..I had an city inspector call me and said “you need to be there during his inspection” on a 200amp residential service change because he did not carry a screw driver to open the dead front of an enclosure. I said yes sir. I’ll be there the next one as he passed us on that one. Can’t wait for the next one!

Another one in the same city…was turn down for mounting can housing leg to joist with a romex staple. When I asked why? Isn’t rated for the use. What should I use I asked? A #10 pan head. When I pointed out that this was equally not rated for use. He assured me that it was OK! I would have used 3/4" lag bolts if I didn't think it would compromise the structure.

I’m close to retirement as well Goldstar. I think I will miss the $$$, work and camaraderie of the guy’s. When I think of a 6 page thread of a correction of a driven ground rod being off a degree or two…..see ya later alligator!

Never fight with pigs. You will both get dirty and they love it!
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Yes "doesn't like" is not part of the electrical inspection. He cannot make up his own rules because he doesn't like what it says in the NEC. Go to the next town over and install a Romex connector and the EI fails you because they're not listed for a single #6 conductor. Your guy wants you to correct a non-violation with a violation.

He probably doesn't want to touch the meter enclosure because it's energized.
Hi All, I just want to report back and say that I met the EI and passed inspection. I was present with a torque wrench, backed off the lugs on the neutral and main breaker and torqued them to 250 inch lbs as he witnessed. When I confronted him with the EGC wiring through the small holes in the top of the breaker panel he stated that he does not like to see EC's using them as they are "not professional looking." With that I mentioned that I e-mailed the DCA Code Assistance unit and they verified that there is no NEC section stat states that you cannot use these holes. So, I mentioned that he is required to inspect based on the NEC and State's standards and should not interject his own opinions based on what he learned coming up through the trade. His response was that HE is the AHJ and what he says should stand. We left on good & friendly terms but he now knows that I'm not just going to stand by and take things like this laying down. :cool:
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
He's misunderstanding what his job description is as an inspector.

He shouldn't be inspecting if that is the case.
If push ever comes to shove, he will regret selecting that hill to die on. The DCA loves to make examples of tin-pot dictators.
 

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
OK. So, I spoke with the EI yesterday and after some persuading and a verification that I pounded these in by hand at that they hit compacted earth he agreed that I do not have to re-install the rods or supplement them. Now I find out that there were two other items that he wanted corrected. The first was the entry of the electrode grounding wires into the breaker panel. I used those two small KO holes at the top of the panel (and not a Kenny clamp) for entry. I remember this like it was yesterday in a CEU class that as long as you have properly secured the ground wires before entry to the panel you could use these small KO holes. He was not in agreement so this is not a big change and not worth arguing about. He suggested that I use either an Arlington black button or a metal roamex clamp. I didn't think these were an approved method for these wires but again - not worth arguing about (BTW, the other reason I use the small KO's is so that you don't use up a regular KO that you might need for existing wires).

The second is that he wants me to be present with a torque wrench and wants to see that I have tightened the service lugs in the main breaker panel to the suggested torque. He is not concerned about the lugs in the meter enclosure. Anyone else run into these requirements ?
Did you do something to make this inspector mad at you? Lol. If this is the first time dealing with a specific inspector sometimes I've had them get a little more picky, I usually comply if it doesn't create a clear violation by doing so, then next time they will almost just do a "fly by", I will also highlight on next inspection that you covered the point he had with first. Some inspectors do get power to their head, also can be almost political especially if it like a county codes inspector. I know it's a little bit of KA but they're happy, customer happy with no delayed from inspection, I'm happy - got job done and paid.
AFA torque, I will usually preempt the question by telling inspector the torque that was used to make connection and if needed show that I have the tool, torquing is a component of proper installation per nec.
 
In my experience, so many inspectors have to at least find SOMETHING. I dont know if its an ego thing, or they need to feel like they are accomplishing something by finding something "wrong". I dont know why they cant just in their heads say, "cool, an EC who knows is stuff, nothing for me to do here." and move on. Just got a final recently and, in line with this theory of finding SOMETHING, he says the panel schedule should be in permanent ink, not pencil. Ok bro......
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Hi All, I just want to report back and say that I met the EI and passed inspection. I was present with a torque wrench, backed off the lugs on the neutral and main breaker and torqued them to 250 inch lbs as he witnessed. When I confronted him with the EGC wiring through the small holes in the top of the breaker panel he stated that he does not like to see EC's using them as they are "not professional looking." With that I mentioned that I e-mailed the DCA Code Assistance unit and they verified that there is no NEC section stat states that you cannot use these holes. So, I mentioned that he is required to inspect based on the NEC and State's standards and should not interject his own opinions based on what he learned coming up through the trade. His response was that HE is the AHJ and what he says should stand. We left on good & friendly terms but he now knows that I'm not just going to stand by and take things like this laying down. :cool:
My reply to that would be he (the individual) is not the AHJ. He is a representative of the AHJ. The AHJ may grant him permission to make on the spot decisions but I (the installer) certainly can appeal to his supervisor(s) if I there is disagreement on something. The supervisor also is not the AHJ, but getting more than one opinion is better than getting dictatorship conditions from individuals. The AHJ is not any one individual (except unfortunately in some corrupt small jurisdiction where there is only one person that essentially runs the entire operation) it is the entire AHJ operation as a collective.
Individuals that do work for the AHJ are human and can make mistakes.
 

SceneryDriver

Senior Member
Location
NJ
Occupation
Electrical and Automation Designer
In my experience, so many inspectors have to at least find SOMETHING. I dont know if its an ego thing, or they need to feel like they are accomplishing something by finding something "wrong". I dont know why they cant just in their heads say, "cool, an EC who knows is stuff, nothing for me to do here." and move on. Just got a final recently and, in line with this theory of finding SOMETHING, he says the panel schedule should be in permanent ink, not pencil. Ok bro......
It’s called a duck, from a legend that allegedly comes from Interplay’s Battle Chess:

This started as a piece of Interplay corporate lore. It was well known that producers (a game industry position, roughly equivalent to PMs) had to make a change to everything that was done. The assumption was that subconsciously they felt that if they didn’t, they weren’t adding value.
The artist working on the queen animations for Battle Chess was aware of this tendency, and came up with an innovative solution. He did the animations for the queen the way that he felt would be best, with one addition: he gave the queen a pet duck. He animated this duck through all of the queen’s animations, had it flapping around the corners. He also took great care to make sure that it never overlapped the “actual” animation.
Eventually, it came time for the producer to review the animation set for the queen. The producer sat down and watched all of the animations. When they were done, he turned to the artist and said, “That looks great. Just one thing—get rid of the duck.”
I of course have never, not even once, done something like this when programming a touchscreen for an automated piece of equipment....


SceneryDriver
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
In my experience, so many inspectors have to at least find SOMETHING. I don't know if its an ego thing, or they need to feel like they are accomplishing something by finding something "wrong".
I know they have to justify their existence but picking petty things on a service upgrade just to show an EC that HE's the AHJ is pure BS. If this were my first upgrade I could understand. But, I've been in my own business for 27 years and have had over 20 years experience before that. On top of that, explaining to the HO why the job was failed in another kick to the groin. Luckily for me the HO is a friend and didn't take this seriously.

So, now if I do anymore work or service upgrades in this town should I bring a protractor with me and make sure the rods are driven at 45 degree angles ? Do I continue to bring the EGC wiring through the small holes in the top or bottom of the breaker panel ? Am I now required to provide documentation that ALL terminals and lugs are torqued to the proper values ? OR, do I place my tail between my legs and just make sure everything is done to HIS specifications just to pass inspection ?

I think not. I'm too far along in my career to give a damn what the EI thinks. I will write to the State DCA and make inquiries every time if I believe I am correct and he is not. To date, any inquiries I've made to the State Code Assistance Unit regarding Code issues have not included the EI's name or township. However, if failing me for petty infractions just to show me that he's the AHJ is the type of relationship he is looking for, then I'm probably not the right guy to do this to.

Thanks for all your replies and opinions.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I know they have to justify their existence but picking petty things on a service upgrade just to show an EC that HE's the AHJ is pure BS. If this were my first upgrade I could understand. But, I've been in my own business for 27 years and have had over 20 years experience before that. On top of that, explaining to the HO why the job was failed in another kick to the groin. Luckily for me the HO is a friend and didn't take this seriously.

So, now if I do anymore work or service upgrades in this town should I bring a protractor with me and make sure the rods are driven at 45 degree angles ? Do I continue to bring the EGC wiring through the small holes in the top or bottom of the breaker panel ? Am I now required to provide documentation that ALL terminals and lugs are torqued to the proper values ? OR, do I place my tail between my legs and just make sure everything is done to HIS specifications just to pass inspection ?

I think not. I'm too far along in my career to give a damn what the EI thinks. I will write to the State DCA and make inquiries every time if I believe I am correct and he is not. To date, any inquiries I've made to the State Code Assistance Unit regarding Code issues have not included the EI's name or township. However, if failing me for petty infractions just to show me that he's the AHJ is the type of relationship he is looking for, then I'm probably not the right guy to do this to.

Thanks for all your replies and opinions.
I'd do about same thing if I think he is making up his own rules.

Had an inspector one time that liked to pick on petty little things, but was seldom wrong about them either, that is a little tough to deal with compared to one that makes his own rules. But correction notices do have a cost and some things are simply just petty little things that maybe one can say "in the future you really should....." and that can work for both sides more peacefully.

I think some just like to argue on top of everything else.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I have never, nor would I ever intentionally leave an infraction to stroke an inspector's ego. I would rather keep my reputation as the guy who passes every inspection the first time. The few times I have challenged an inspector, I did so politely and respectfully, but I "won" every time, because I was sure I was correct.
 

Jerramundi

Senior Member
Location
Chicago
Occupation
Licensed Residential Electrician
I don't know why 45° is acceptable but 50° isn't, after all you're permitted to bury the rod horizontally if you encounter rock. I don't think that you'll find any technical substantiation for this but it is what it is. If you had dug down a foot around the rod and bent it straight with a hickey no one would ever know what angle it was installed at.

So back to the original installation, could you have driven it all of the way in at 45° or less? If the area is known for problems with driving in rods then another type of electrode may be necessary like a plate electrode.
Interesting thought about "why 45° is acceptable but 50° isn't." The only thing I can think of as justification for this is that a rod driven at a certain maximum angle off the vertical axis still maintains a certain vertical depth (e.g. the 8ft vertical depth)... for whatever reason, continuity to ground, w/e...

...but a 10ft rod driven at an angle of 45° off the vertical axis only achieves 7ft of vertical depth.

If the reasoning for a maximum of 45° were to maintain a certain vertical depth, the max angle should actually be ~36° off the vertical, which on a 10ft rod still maintains 8 ft of vertical depth.

So ultimately the 45° is nonsensical, unless viewed from a position of "simplicity."
 

winnie

Senior Member
Location
Springfield, MA, USA
Occupation
Electric motor research
Random idea: 10 foot rods curved so that when hammered in at a shallow angle the net result is a full 8 feet at the required horizontal trenched in depth
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Interesting thought about "why 45° is acceptable but 50° isn't." The only thing I can think of as justification for this is that a rod driven at a certain maximum angle off the vertical axis still maintains a certain vertical depth (e.g. the 8ft vertical depth)... for whatever reason, continuity to ground, w/e...

...but a 10ft rod driven at an angle of 45° off the vertical axis only achieves 7ft of vertical depth.

If the reasoning for a maximum of 45° were to maintain a certain vertical depth, the max angle should actually be ~36° off the vertical, which on a 10ft rod still maintains 8 ft of vertical depth.

So ultimately the 45° is nonsensical, unless viewed from a position of "simplicity."
This was done at a residence that's been there since about 1960. I'm going out on a limb here but I would venture to say that except for the first 2 to 4", the soil around the house is compacted (Mother Nature has taken care of that). The rods have to COME IN CONTACT with the earth (thus the reasoning for 250.53(F). If that is an acceptable ground then why wouldn't a rod driven at other than 45 degrees not be acceptable?). Rods are a SUPPLEMENT to the water main bond. The only reason we here in NJ drive a second rod is so that we don't have to prove to an EI that the resistance to ground of one rod is 25 ohms or less. I'll spend the extra $15 and 20 minutes to drive the rod just not to have a confrontation with the EI.

The EI is breaking chops - pure and simple !!!
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
This inspector may be hanging his hat on the NJ Amendments to the NEC. Why the State chose to change the definition of the term AHJ is beyond me but he still should be following the NEC as written. N.J.A.C. 5:23-3.7 allows for alternative materials, equipment, or methods of construction that the subcode official may allow and approve if he feels that they're equivalent to what's required by the code. I've heard inspectors who are also licensed subcode officials say "I'm the AHJ so I can pick and chose what I want to enforce". Technically the NJ building code does not give them that latitude.
2017 NJ Code Amendments:
Chapter 1 of the electrical subcode,

Article 100, entitled "Definitions," is amended as follows:

i. The definition of the term "approved" is amended to delete the phrase "the authority having jurisdiction" and substitute in lieu thereof, the phrase "electrical subcode official. Approval shall be in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:23-3.7."

ii. The definition of "Authority having jurisdiction" is replaced with "Unless otherwise specifically noted, the authority having jurisdiction for the Electrical Subcode shall be the Electrical Subcode Official."
 
Top