TV antennas are usually installed outdoors on the top of your home, which makes the structure vulnerable to lightning strikes. Most city or municipal building codes require that antennas be properly grounded to reduce fire hazards. After installing a TV antenna, you should ground the mast as well as the transmission wires going into your home. The process is simple, but it's wise to have the ground connection inspected by an electrical professional once you're done.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Copper-coated steel ground rod
- Fine grit sanding paper
- Epoxy sealant or metal paint
- Wire staples
- No. 8 or higher copper ground wire
- Grounding box
Place the grounding rod a minimum of 3 feet into the ground as near to the antenna location as possible. Grounding rods can be purchased at any hardware or electrical supply story and should be copper-coated steel.
Turn a bolt on the lower section of the antenna mast clockwise with a wrench to loosen it slightly.
Sand away any paint or coatings from the loosened bolt with fine grit sanding paper to ensure that the grounding wire directly touches the metal.
Attach the grounding wire (No. 8 or higher copper) and tighten the bolt.
Seal the exposed metal of the bolt with an epoxy sealant or metal paint. Metal-to-metal connections will corrode, and sealing them protects them from moisture.
Run the wire down to the grounding rod using the straightest and shortest path possible. Do not splice or place connections in the wire.
Avoid making turns with the wire. A lightning charge doesn't easily make bends of 90 degrees or sharper and could release its charge into the structure if forced to do so.
Fasten the loose wire to your house using standard wire staples.
Insert the other end of the ground wire into the clamp on the grounding rod.
Turn the screw on the clamp to secure the wire. Use only clamps designed for use with the grounding rod. Typically grounding rods are sold with the necessary clamps, but you can buy them separately.
Remove any wire that is in excess of 1 inch past the clamp.
Run the antenna's cable into the building as close as possible to or through the opening where cable or phone wires also enter so that the house has a single point of entry.
Attach a coax grounding block (antenna discharge unit) where the coax cable enters the building or as close to this point as possible. A grounding block absorbs high-voltage spikes and bleeds off static charges before they reach levels that would be hazardous to your equipment.
Connect one length of the antenna cable from the antenna to the grounding block and then another length of cable between the end of the block and your antenna receiver.
Connect a length of ground wire between the ground block and the ground rod.
Tips and warnings
- Do not install an antenna on a snow-covered or wet roof.
- Do not use water pipes as a grounding rod, as they may not provide a true ground.
- Always check the manufacturer's directions for grounding your antenna. If you're unsure, then have a qualified electrician check that your antenna has been grounded properly.
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