Happy Groundhog Day! Seeing Shadows + Electrical Grounding & Bonding

February 2, 2016 at 1:33 pm  •  Posted in Construction, Product Highlight, Safety  •  0 Comments

Today we collectively cross our fingers, eager for our fuzzy woodchuck friend to emerge from his burrow and bestow us with an early spring. Some of us may even feel a bit nostalgic, recalling Phil Connors’ comic and karmic lessons in the iconic movie Groundhog Day. If history’s bound to repeat itself tomorrow? Let’s vow to do things right the first time.

To celebrate groundhog day in true Graybar style, we’ll dive into the basics of grounding and bonding. Graybar’s Greg Aranda caught up with John French, Application Engineer at Panduit, for the lowdown on grounding and bonding in an industrial setting.

Here are the cliff notes from Greg and John’s chat. (Watch the full webinar.)

Performance Issues

Poorly designed or improperly applied bonding and grounding techniques really tank the performance of electronic equipment in an industrial setting.

In fact, John estimates that around 70 percent of all problems related to power-distribution systems are connected to bonding and grounding issues, in one way or another. According to John, a typical AC third-prong ground circuit is almost never enough to prevent damage to network equipment that’s susceptible to other related potentials.

Safety Concerns

Besides the obvious performance concerns, improper bonding and grounding techniques open up a host of safety issues—such as fire hazard, electrical shock, and burns.

When heat is generated from electrical surges that occur on a high-impedance grounding-and-bonding path, the risk of fire hazard is high. One of the main objectives of proper grounding and bonding is to have the same potential-to-ground throughout the system. From what John has seen out in the field, that’s an area where a lot of people make mistakes when developing these types of systems.

Industry Speak

There are lots of industry terms floating around, and problems arise when we don’t properly define earthing, bonding, and grounding.

Not just what’s under your feet, the word “ground” can mean so many different things. In the past, the NEC has interchangeably used the terms bonding, grounding, and earthing, but John says they’re working on changing misconceptions. In his opinion, a proper understanding of these terms will go a long way towards alleviating most grounding issues within any facility.

Many countries outside the U.S., actually use the term “earthing” to mean “grounding,” and very few use the term “bonding” correctly. To keep safety and performance issues in check, it’s important to establish a solid vocabulary to accurately describe the various areas of the system:

  1. Earthing: This is where the ground rod or electrode is actually put into the ground or earth.
  2. Grounding: This refers to the attachment of the grounding lead from the service entrance out to the rod or electrode.
  3. Bonding: Everything else inside the plant or facility is bonding to the ground lead that goes to that electrode, and the ground lead needs to come through the facility entrance. From what John’s seen, this is one of the critical areas where mistakes are made.

Getting Grounded

For the proper codes and techniques around building a bonding and grounding system, get your hands on a code book and reference TIA-607-B and NECA/BICSI-607-2011.

Whether you need bonding straps, jumpers, mechanical connectors, or grounding strips, Panduit’s assortment of bonding and grounding solutions will help you stay safe and lock down maximum equipment performance.


Over To You 

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Todd Reed, National Market ManagerAbout The Author
Todd Reed, National Market Manager

As National Market Manager at Graybar, Todd’s goal is to find the best products and solutions to help contractors work more efficiently, stay safe on the job, and win more productive and profitable business.




Sources & Credits
Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA)
BICSI: NECA/BICSI 607-2011, Standard for Telecommunications Bonding and Grounding Planning and Installation Methods for Commercial Buildings

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