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How to install a copper ground rod coupling

Updated February 21, 2017

Installation of a ground rod is a physically demanding job, and can typically be done one of two ways: shallow or deep earth ground. Shallow earth grounds are those where a single-length (typically eight-feet long) copper-clad ground rod is driven into the ground to which a grounding wire or strap is attached to the top. Deep earth grounds ause multiple grounding rods coupled together and driven to depths of 20 to 60 feet or more. Installation of couplers requires the use of a rod-driving tool to prevent damage to the threaded ends.

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  1. Drive the bottom section of the grounding rod into the ground until only the last five inches can be seen above the ground. Use a ground rod impact driving tool to drive this first section, and all subsequent sections, into the ground rather than using a sledge hammer. This prevents mushrooming of the top of the rod, which would damage the end, preventing a coupler from being screwed on.

  2. Screw a coupler onto the threaded top end of the first rod driven into the ground until hand tight. Further tighten the coupler with a small pipe wrench an additional half-turn, but no more than this to prevent stripping the threads.

  3. Screw a threaded end on another section of ground rod into the open threaded end of the coupler previously installed on the first ground rod section. Rotate the second ground rod section clockwise and continue rotating until the threaded end has been screwed into the coupler completely. Use a pipe wrench to rotate the section an additional half-turn.

  4. Drive the coupler and the second section of the ground rod into the ground using a ground rod impact driving tool until only five inches remain above the ground. Screw on a second coupler to the threaded top of the protruding rod and tighten it until hand tight. Again, use a pipe wrench to turn the coupler a half-turn further than hand-tight. Screw a third section of threaded-end grounding rod into the coupler and use a pipe wrench to rotate this third section a half-turn past hand-tight.

  5. Continue adding couplers and ground rod sections until the desired grounding depth has been achieved. Install a ground wire connection block to the top of the last section and connect the grounding wire or strap to this connection block.

  6. Tip

    Always use the correct diameter grounding rod driver tool. The impact tool must be designed to match the diameter of the grounding rod section being driven. If the grounding rod sections are half-inch in diameter, the impact driving tool should be designed to accommodate half-inch diameter rod sections. Such driving tools prevent the tip of the rod from flaring outward (mushrooming) as it is rammed. Grounding rod impact driving tools are sold in most hardware stores where grounding rods are available.


    Contact your local electric company and county offices to have a survey of the property performed before driving a deep earth grounding system so you don't inadvertently damage any buried cables, pipes or wires.

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Things You'll Need

  • Grounding rod driver tool (must match diameter of grounding rods, typically 5/8", 3/4" or 1/2" diameter)
  • Bottom ground rod with tapered end
  • Additional ground rod sections with threaded ends for coupling
  • Ground rod couplers (must match diameter of grounding rods being used)
  • Small pipe wrench

About the Author

Kurt Schanaman

Kurt Schanaman has had several editorials printed by the Star-Herald Newspaper publication in Western Nebraska. He attended Western Nebraska Community College.

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