Grounding near the gas meter? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-24-2001, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I won't promise this will be my last grounding question, but I think I've got 90% of my needs figured out and will come fairly close to NEC code. It's gonna take a lot of wire, and my father-in-law the electrician may completely want to redo the whole affair when he comes for a visit in August.

But to my question: I'm mounting my OTA antenna on the wall of my second story home on a 10' mast, so the antenna will sit around 7' above the roof line. Unfortunately, directly below where I'm mounting the antenna is my A/C unit and my gas meter. I'm using a ground rod (yes, just for the lightning protection and it will be bonded to a hose bib) and the rod is now sunk just about 16" from the gas meter.

Considering the electrical for the a/c is also sitting right next to meter, is it a problem or against any regs that anyone knows to have a ground rod that close to a utility meter? Particularly a gas meter? I couldn't find anything, and since everything is sealed I wouldn't think it's a problem, but thought I'd better check. My only other option would be try to pull the damn rod back up before the ground hardens and move it over further toward the back of the house, which will require me to run the ground wire somewhat horizontally down the house to get to the rod. (wish I could just draw a picture)

Anyone think I'm inviting disaster by having my antenna ground rod 16" from my gas meter?
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-24-2001, 07:16 PM
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It's probably just fine. The one thing they don't allow is using the gas pipe itself for a ground connection, but since your utility meter is just about as close, there won't be any problem.

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post #3 of 10 Old 05-24-2001, 10:05 PM
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Randy:

There are regs on how close a ground rod can be to utility connections, but I'm not at work now and don't have my NEC. Since, however, you've already gone to the trouble to pound in a rod, don't pull it up. It's just too much of a PITA, and unless you plan to sell your house in the next 90 days, don't sweat it.

Adherence to code is a requirement for industrial and residential electricians, usually enforced by city/county permitting and inspectors. Homeowners, however, while technically required to adhere to code (ususally by the city), don't get inspected too often.

What you've described so far sounds plenty safe, IMO, worrying about every nitpicking detail will drive you to distraction. Just string your cable, and enjoy! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

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post #4 of 10 Old 05-25-2001, 06:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys. Because of the rock bed here in my area, I was able to get the rod down about 6' (with 2' sticking up out of the ground). From what I understand, that's acceptable, as long as it's at least 3' into the ground.

I decided to go ahead and get a dual grounding block, one for the sat and one for the antenna lead, and rather than ground the SW21 Dish switch, I'll use the dual block and run a #10 copper wire around to the side of the house and connect up to the electric meter (the phone junction box is already jumpered to one of the screws, I'll use the other) I'm also going to run my grounds from the sat dish mounts themselves around to the electric meter as well. Is it acceptable to connect these ground wires via a twist cap at some point so I'm only running one long wire, or do the ground wires have to be uninterrupted? (I'm just trying to avoid running three separate lengths of copper around the house to the meter)

I'm trying to get as close to regs as possible, but you're right, this whole grounding situation has been giving me a major headache. As long as I've got reasonable protection from lightning strikes, I'll be happy. The satellite dishes are mounted to the side of my chimney, halfway down, so a lightning strike there, while not impossible, is highly unlikely.

Thanks for all the input and suggestions.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-25-2001, 07:09 AM
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From the standpoint of splicing grounding wires, I would not recommend wire nuts ("twist caps"). Instead, you can find grounding wire lugs at your local Home Depot. These are typically made of copper, and have a set-screw type of clamp that will provide a more secure connection.

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post #6 of 10 Old 05-25-2001, 12:01 PM
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Guys, I have to interject one thing here: don't EVER go pounding a steel ground rod into the soil anywhere near a gas meter unless you are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN the gas pipe itself is not going to be punctured by your ground rod.

The previous owner of my first home was a ham operator. I had to dig up one section of foundation to stop a basement water leak. The contractor knew enough to get the gas company involved before excavating. They uncovered a creased gas supply line that had been ALMOST punctured by one of the 10 ground rods that the ham guy had pounded into the ground....

Explosions happen.

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post #7 of 10 Old 05-26-2001, 11:20 AM
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Hmmm - I was going to mention that, but I had the distint impression that the ground stake was already in....

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post #8 of 10 Old 05-27-2001, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
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The ground rod is already in. I tried three different spots, as close to the house as I could get. Because of the layer of rock around here, I thought it would be harder than it was. The first hole hit some resistance about 3' down. I pounded a little (I only have a 3 lbs mallet, not a full blown sledge), it wouldn't budge, so I pulled up and tried another spot. Same thing. Then I moved as close to the house as I thought I could get and still get the mallet in contact with the rod without bashing a hole through my siding. That went down relatively easily until I got about 6' down, and it won't go no more.

Just to be sure I didn't do something terrible, I filled the holes with water to check for bubbles (gas leak) Everything looks fine. So I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed that I didn't actually start pounding into the gas line. I don't see how I could have, based on the line of the house and other objects nearby. The path of the pipe to the street would have to have been in a different direction. I'm reasonably sure there's no damage. (famous last words...) Guess it's always a good idea to call Blue Stakes before doing something like that.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-30-2001, 02:39 PM
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Be careful here...

A firm I contracted with lost a $60K server because they drove a ground rod for the server's dedicated circuit close to a satellite dish feed into their building. The dish was hit one night and the lightning traveled through the conduit to the building, lept the gap between the conduit and the ground rod (approximately 2 feet) and fried all the electronics in the server.

Keep in mind that the conduit that contained the satellite feed to the building was buried IN THE GROUND for its entire length, approximately 25 feet. I would have to say that a strike with that much potential could easily leap onto the gas meter/pipes, regardless of the effectiveness of the rod. Please check your local regulations for proper code before you rest easy.

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post #10 of 10 Old 05-31-2001, 06:05 PM
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With an actual lightning strike, all bets are off as to how those ions are going to find rest at ground. Grouding near a gas main may be unnecessarily tempting fate. A bolt jumping the ground path to the gas pipe and partially melting to the point of perforation would have catastrophic consequences. There could be legal consequences, too, if neighboring property were damaged.

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