If you have just bought a portable generator for the first time, you may be wondering how to ground it. This is a very common question as many people do not understand what grounding a generator means.
Do you bury the generator in the ground? Why does a portable generator need to be grounded, and what happens if you don’t ground it? These are all good questions to ask if you have never used a portable generator before.
Keep reading to find out exactly how to ground a portable generator at home and why this is important to do for safety purposes.
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How Do I Ground a Portable Generator?
If you have a portable generator that needs to be grounded, there are certain things that you have to do. This includes installing a grounding rod and attaching the generator bolt to the rod to ground it correctly and safely.
The steps you need to carefully follow to ground you’re portable generator are:
- Install the grounding rod on the ground
- Wrap the rod in copper wire
- Connecting the generator to the rod with the bolt
To do this, you need to have a grounding rod that you embed in the ground to 8 feet in depth. You may need water to moisten the ground, to do this if it is dry and compacted.
You will also need copper wire to wrap around the part of the rod that is visible. You will need wire strippers to strip the insulation from the wire and pliers to tightly wind it around the rod.
Your portable generator should have a bolt that you can loosen with a wrench. Wrap your wire around that loosened bolt and tighten it again to the tightness that it was before, alternatively, you could also try soldiering it.
Keep in mind that you do not have to ground your portable generator if you have extension cords to use. This eliminates the need for grounding, as this makes it much safer to use your generator.
Do Portable Generators Need to be Grounded?
Many areas in the US actually legally require that portable generators be grounded due to the high risks. This is because you could easily electrocute yourself or others by not grounding it.
Grounding is when you drive a rod into the ground and attach your generator to it. This acts as a failsafe that protects you and your equip[ment from being electrocuted.
This works as electrical currents are directed to the rod and dispersed into the ground. This aims at the currents in the ground instead of aiming them at anyone who happens to be closest to the generator.
This makes it much safer and reduces the risks greatly for all involved.
What Happens if a Portable Generator Isn’t Grounded?
Portable generators come with a huge risk of electrocution, this is why grounding is required. Portable generators are designed differently than other kinds of generators and are not as safe.
They are more convenient because you can travel with them, but that comes at a price. There is a very high risk of injury or even fatalities if you fail to use a portable generator correctly.
Grounding your generator helps to eliminate this danger almost entirely. It may be a pain to do, but it could very well be more of a pain to not do in the end.
Not only could you electrocute yourself by not grounding your generator, but you could electrocute other things as well. The generator itself could be damaged as well as all of your equipment, creating a huge financial loss.
Do I Need to Ground My Portable Generator When Camping?
Grounding a portable generator when you are camping sounds like a real drag. Do you have to do this step, or can you just leave it as it is? Well, the answer is simple, you must ground it.
It would be highly unsafe and even irresponsible to not ground your generator, as this is a huge safety risk. Generators put out electrical currents, and portable generators are not equipped with many safety features.
This means that those electrical currents are being sent out, touching whatever or whoever is nearby. This could be you, your family, your pets, or your gear, electrocuting everything and causing extensive damage.
As much of a pain as it is to ground your generator, this is absolutely necessary for safety when using it. It is also legally required in many states within the US, especially in public areas where others could get hurt.
This is why it is best to get a generator that already has safety features installed so that you can skip the step of grounding. Or to simply do without it or camp in one area so that you don’t have to ground it repeatedly during your camping trip.
How Can I Ground a Portable Generator?
If you are going to be using a portable generator, you need to ground it to use it safely. This involves digging a hole for your grounding rod and wrapping it in copper wire. You should then attach that wire to the bolt on the generator.
This works by redirecting electrical currents to the rod and into the ground. This keeps you and everyone else safe as you aren’t going to be where the currents are heading for if it is grounded.
This is very important to do for safety reasons, so important that it is often legally required by law.