How to Ground a Portable Generator

It may be best if you buy a portable generator that doesn’t need grounding. You don’t even have to understand what grounding is and why it’s necessary, if the portable generator doesn’t have to be grounded at all.

But if you find the portable generator that’s perfect for your needs except for the grounding requirement, then you may want to find out how to ground a portable generator.

Do You Need to Ground Your Generator?

To find the answer to this question, you can just check the owner’s manual. If you want to know before you buy, then you should post the question to the seller to be sure.

You don’t need grounding if your generator is not a separately derived system. That’s a description that applies to best rated portable generators these days. They have the engine, fuel tank, and the housing of the generator bonded to the frame, so there’s no need for grounding.

But if your manual says the generator needs to be grounded, then it has to be done. If there’s ever a short circuit, a generator that’s not been grounded can cause a fire. So it’s necessary to learn how to properly ground a portable generator.

What is Grounding Anyway?

The term “grounding” alludes to connecting an electrical circuit to a reference ground. In the case of your portable generator, the electrical circuit is the generator frame.

Then you have to install a grounding rod which functions as the reference ground. It’s not really a complicated procedure.

Basically, the act of grounding involves connecting a copper wire from the frame of the generator to the grounding rod. That’s basically it.

The Tools You Need

To do the job, first you need the right tools. You will need:

  • A good set of wire strippers. This is to strip the copper wire safely and cleanly.
  • Lots of solid copper grounding wire. You’ll want to make sure you can connect the wire to the generator and the copper rod with a bit of wire length for insurance.
  • This is to loosen a bolt on the generator so you can attach the copper wire to the generator.
  • A copper ground rod that’s at least 4 feet long. However, the NEC says that the ground rod should be at least 8 feet long.
  • A hammer or similar tool (like a mallet). This is to drive the copper grounding rod into the ground (which is why “grounding” is the name of the procedure).
  • A bit of water. You can use this to make the ground softer so you can drive the copper rod into the ground more easily.
  • A good set of pliers. You’ll need this to wind the copper wire tightly around the copper rod.

So How Is This Done?

1. Drive the copper grounding rod at least 4 feet into the ground. If the terrain is rocky, the rod can be buried at an angle of not more than 45 degrees.

2. Strip the copper wire.

3. Use the pliers to wrap the copper wire tightly around the grounding rod.

4. Strip the other end of the wire.

5. Find the grounding bolt on the generator, and then loosen it just enough to wrapped the stripped copper wire around it.

6. Wrap the stripped wire tightly around the bolt.

That’s it. You’ve managed to learn how to ground after you get your best portable generator for home backup ad camping use.