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October 9, 2008 A Penton Media Publication Vol. VI No. 19

250.52 Grounding Electrodes

What's Wrong Here?

Code Q&A

Code Quiz

Canadian Electrical Code Moves to Three-Year Revision Cycle

Learn Everything You Need To Know About Arc Flash


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    Top 2008 Code Changes

    250.52 Grounding Electrodes

    The requirements for a concrete-encased electrode now include vertical electrodes as well as what to do when multiple isolated concrete-encased electrodes are present.

    (A) Electrodes Permitted for Grounding.
    (3) Concrete-Encased Grounding Electrode
    . A concrete-encased electrode is an electrode that is encased by at least 2 inches of concrete, located horizontally near the bottom or vertically within a concrete foundation or footing that is in direct contact with the earth consisting of one of the following:

    • Twenty feet of one or more bare or zinc galvanized or other electrically conductive coated steel reinforcing bars bonded together by the usual steel tie wires not less than ½ inch in diameter, or
    • Twenty feet of bare copper conductor not smaller than 4 AWG
    If a moisture/vapor barrier is installed under a concrete footer, then the steel rebar is not considered a concrete-encased electrode.

    Where multiple concrete-encased electrodes are present at a building or structure, only one is required to serve as the grounding electrode system.

    The grounding electrode conductor to a concrete-encased grounding electrode isn't required to be larger than 4 AWG copper [250.66(B)].

    The concrete-encased grounding electrode is also called a "Ufer Ground," named after Herb Ufer, the person who determined its usefulness as a grounding electrode in the 1960s. This type of grounding electrode generally offers the lowest ground resistance for the cost.

    The requirements for concrete-encased electrodes have been expanded to allow structural steel rebar in vertical foundations to be suitable as a grounding electrode, as long as it meets all of the requirements for horizontal structural steel rebar electrodes. In addition, the 2008 NEC clarified that in a building or structure where multiple isolated concrete-encased electrodes are present, such as for spot footings, only one of these "present" electrodes will be required to be used. The purpose of the NEC [90.1] is the "practical safeguarding of persons and property," and requiring all of the concrete-encased electrodes to be bonded together served no safeguarding purpose.

    The Fluke 1735 Power Logger is the ideal electrician or technician's power meter for conducting energy studies and basic power quality logging. Set the Power Logger up in seconds with the included flexible current probes and color display. The power quality meter measures most electrical power parameters, harmonics, and captures voltage events.

    Code Challenge
    What's Wrong Here?
    By Joe Tedesco
    Think you know how this installation violates the NEC? Visit EC&M's Web site to see the answer.

    Hint: Do you use protection?

    Code Q&A
    By Mike Holt
    Q. Our utility requires a nonfused disconnect upstream of the meter and service disconnect for certain services. Is this legal?

    Visit EC&M's Web site to see the answer.

    Code Quiz
    By Steven Owen
    Q. When grounding the frames of metal-enclosed power switchgear, which of the following methods listed here is the only one that is permitted by the 2008 NEC?

      1. A 6 AWG equipment bonding jumper from a nearby effectively grounded steel column.
      2. A 6 AWG grounding electrode conductor connected to a driven ground rod adjacent to the equipment.
      3. GFPE protection (30mA trip setting).
      4. A properly sized equipment-grounding conductor.

    Visit EC&M's Web site for the answer and explanation.

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    Code News Update
    Canadian Electrical Code Moves to Three-Year Revision Cycle
    According to a news brief in the July/August 2008 issue of Electrical Line magazine, a Canadian business trade publication, the 21st edition of the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I (CEC) in early 2009 will signal the beginning of its move from a four-year to three-year cycle. One benefit of this change may be a closer correlation between the CEC and the NEC. The new three-year cycle will also allow the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) -- publisher of the CEC -- to more quickly accept new safety requirements and product technologies available to the electrical market.

    Cool Electronic Cabinets
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    • Software Tools and Arc Flash
    • Calculating Arc Flash Energy Levels
    • Low Voltage Shock Damage to Human Body
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