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Portable Generator Grounding Part1

bscap0000One of the recent questions that have come up with using a portable generator has been whether or not you need to ground them. The most logical reason for grounding is for Safety of course, in a situation where there is a fault you have a path to ground so you are not the conductor.

On some generators because there is no ground present you might have a problem powering up some items. I have heard from some people who have had problems powering their furnace using a Honda Generator. I basically take the approach it’s better to be safe than sorry.

On many of the constructions sites I have worked; the use of portable generators is very common. Most if not always I have seen them grounded, The most common way to ground is with a direct wire to the frame onto a pipe or length of rebar into the ground.

I keep a 2-3′ section of 1/2″ rebar with my portable generator, simply pound into the ground where it is to be located and affix to the generator grounding lug.

I decided to do a short video series on how to properly Ground & Secure a portable generator.

In Part 1 I show how to install a simple ground wire with alligator clip;

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Comments

  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing this information and video.

  2. Dean says:

    Hi Rick –
    Thanks for all the great info! Question for you – I have a Champion (floating neutral) generator connected to a transfer switch. And sure enough my gas furnace will not ignite. However the transfer switch passes the neutral and ground through to the main panel where they are of course bonded. So what would the difference be between bonding at the generator versus both ground and neutral traveling through the extension cord and being bonded in the main panel?
    Thanks very much!!
    Dean

    1. Rick says:

      Not really much if your going through the main panel it should be grounded as you said there by you shouldn’t need a separate ground, but your panel might have a separated ground/neutral…might need to either look or try the ground neutral plug and see what happens.

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About Rick

I've been an HVAC/R Mechanic working in the Seattle area for over 15 years, specializing in the commercial service industry.. I’m also a Licensed Electrician & Gas Piping Mechanic and have numerous other trade related certifications. I’ve instructed at local trade schools and now continue teaching through this site.

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