Grounding an Electrical Panel

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Ground a Electric Circuit Breaker Panel: Grounding Requirements for Electric Panels, National Electrical Code, NEC Article 250, Grounding a Main Panel, Grounding a Sub-Panel, Electrical Grounding Methods.

Guide to Grounding Requirements for Electric Panels

Electrical Question: How do I ground a breaker panel to the ground bar.

  • I have a GE 125 amp panel.

Thank You.

This electrical wiring question came from: hector, a Handyman from St. Cloud, Florida.

Additional Comments: Its a very helpful site.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Hector.

How to Ground a Electric Circuit Breaker Panel


Skill Level: Advanced – Licensed Electrical Contractor, Not Recommended for Homeowners.
Tools Required: Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools.
Estimated Time: Depends on the extent of the project, the panel make and model, and the grounding method to be used.
Precaution: If the only ground source for the electrical system will be removed or modified then the electrical service should be shut off until the new ground source can be reconnected.
Notice: Making changes to the Electrical Service Panel should be done with a permit and be inspected.

Grounding Requirements for Electric Panels

PLEASE NOTE: This question did not state if the GE 125 amp panel is a main panel or a sub panel, which makes a very big difference with the grounding method as outlined below:

  • When Grounding an Electrical Panel the following applies
    • Grounding a Main Panel
      • The ground bar is bonded internally when an external bond to earth is installed as described at the link for Electrical Grounding below.
    • Grounding a Sub-Panel
      • Sub-Panels are grounded through the cable that provides the sub-feed circuit power.
      • This sub-feed cable will have 2 insulated power conductors, 1 insulated neutral conductor and one ground wire.
      • The ground wire is bonded at the main panel to the ground system.
      • The sub-feed wiring type and size will depend on the specific application and the applicable local building codes.

Electrical Grounding Methods

  • National Electrical Code, NEC Article 250.5 Grounding and Bonding
    • All grounding electrodes that are present at each building or structure served shall be bonded together to form the grounding electrode system.
  • National Electrical Code,NEC Article 250-50 Premise’s Electrical Service
    • A premise’s electrical service shall be connected to a grounding electrode system consisting of a metal underground water pipe in direct contact with earth for 10 feet or more, if available on the premises, and a supplemental electrode (a rod, pipe, or plate electrode.) An additional electrode shall supplement the buried water pipe electrode.

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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.


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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Grounding an Electrical Panel”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi William,
    Please refer to the Electrical Code section of this website for sizing your sub panel ground wire.
    A ground wire may not be spliced, but must be continuous.
    Attaching other wires to the ground rod would depend on what the system may be and how it is connected.
    I hope this helps,

  2. William Schymick says:

    I have installed a 125 amp sub-panel, serviced with #2 stranded copper. I have a grounding rod implanted for use as a supplemental exterior ground.

    1. Can I use left over #2 insulated stranded wire for this ground? or, must it be exposed solid copper? (# 4 or #6)
    2. Can the ground wire be spliced?
    3. Can I attach other ground wires to the grounding rod, or must it be used only for the sub-panel?


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