Ground rods and their connections to your home’s electrical system may be damaged over time and must be properly maintained. Causes of damage include corrosion, freeze/thaw cycles, landscaping equipment or careless installation of grounds for other equipment, such as cable TV, security systems or generators.
A visual check of grounding can be done by inspecting the wire that connects the electrical panel near the meter to the ground rod. Typically, this is a copper wire about 1/4″ in diameter and can be seen going down into the soil. Below the surface, the wire is connected to one or more ground rods. The tops of the ground rods are typically below the surface and may not be easy to inspect. However, sometimes ground rods extend a few inches above the surface, making it easy to inspect the connection.
In some cases, problems with ground rods are easy to see. Rods that are not fully installed may extend a foot or more above the surface of the soil. This reduces the effectiveness of the ground. Ground rods that are bent over, have disconnected wires or are severely corroded must be replaced. Ground rods that are installed in rocky or dry soil should be checked to make sure they still have a low resistance. If soil conditions change due to drainage or other factors that affect soil moisture, a ground rod that was acceptable at the time of installation may no longer meet approved requirements.
Unfortunately, we have no control over how well your electrical panel is grounded. If you do not provide proper grounding in accordance with the NEC, there is no way to mitigate electrical damage that may occur beyond your electrical panel. If you have concerns about your business or home grounding, contact a licensed electrical contractor.