Commercial Grounding and Bonding

Commercial Electrical Grounding and Bonding

Greetings. Hello everyone and welcome to today’s edition of your Edmonton electrician! Today we talk about the commercial line of electrical work that we call grounding and bonding. If you ever have any questions or concerns regarding the grounding in your facility feel free to reach out and ask your commercial electrician.

We will discuss the differences when it comes to grounding and bonding. Electrical grounding and bonding have separate definitions as per the Canadian electrical code book. There are certain electrical requirements to keep in mind when talking about commercial bonding as well as commercial electrical grounding. We will not be going through a whole lot regarding residential bonding as that may be a piece for another day. Grounding electrode applications and common questions will be addressed as we go through different commercial electrical grounding applications. Come with your Edmonton electrician as we guide you through the wide and often confusing world of electrical grounding.

What is the point of Grounding or electrical bonding? No matter where you go in the world the reason for grounding and bonding is essentially the same. The whole reason why your Edmonton electricians follow electrical codes for grounding and bonding, is to minimize the possibility of electrical fires, injuries, and property damage.  When your commercial electrician does not take grounding and bonding seriously the results can be catastrophic. this article of your Edmonton electrician is going to be referring to the CEC, better known as the Canadian electrical code. In the United States they do not follow the CEC, they follow the NEC better known as the National Electric Code. There are many differences between the CEC and the NEC but the whole idea is essentially the same.  As a quality electrical contractor your electrician must follow all local electrical codes. 

Definitions of Bonding and Grounding. Bonding is defined by the Canadian electrical code in section 0. The CEC defines bonding as a low-impedance path obtained by permanently joining all non-current carrying metal parts to ensure electrical continuity and having the capacity to conduct safely any current likely to be imposed on it.  That can be quite a mouthful and can definitely cause some confusion as to how to interpret it. As a professional commercial electrical contractor we are familiar with proper bonding practices and when they are required. Essentially what bonding is is joining together any metal part in a system with adequate methods and ensuring that these parts are rated to safely carry is a current that could be placed those metal parts.

A bonding conductor is a different definition than the general term of electrical bonding. An electrical bonding conductor is a conductor that connects the non-current carrying parts of electrical equipment, raceways, or enclosures to the service equipment or system grounding conductor.  bonding conductors are any conductors that are used to join together metal equipment that is not designed to carry electrical current. In no instance should a bonding conductor be used to carry electrical current under normal conditions. Bonding conductors are different than grounding conductors because bonding conductors are after the service side of an electrical system. As a quality commercial electrical contractor we are very familiar with the bonding and grounding requirements of your commercial facility. 

What is electrical Grounding? Canadian electrical code has many different definitions for different versions of grounding. In section 0 of the Canadian electrical code on page 71 you will find 11 different definitions for various types, stages and variations of grounding. A good commercial electrician should be able to tell you what to watch for when it comes to the grounding in your facility. The main ones that we are going to talk about today refer to the grounding conductor, grounding electrode, and grounding itself.  So, what does it mean to perform grounding? Well grounding in the CEC is defined as a permanent and conductive path to the Earth with sufficient ampacity to carry any fault current liable to be imposed on it, and of a sufficiently low-impedance to limit the voltage rise above ground and to facilitate the operation of the protective devices in the circuit.

That is a really long way to say that grounding is essentially bonding, but to the Earth and not to another metal non-current carrying part. Your Edmonton electrician should be able to tell you that when the code book says that grounding facilitates the operation of the protective devices in the circuit, they are referring to your electrical circuit breaker. Your electrical circuit breaker or equivalent is  most commonly you’re protective circuit device. In most commercial electrical situations circuit breakers are your protective device. In your electrical main service panel fuses will be more common depending on the size and age of your facility. As a certified commercial electrical contractor we are familiar with all types of circuit breakers and electrical fuses when it comes to your commercial facility.

What is a Grounding conductor? Believe it or not the Canadian electrical code has another definition for the grounding conductor as well as for the grounding electrode. A grounding conductor is defined as the conductor used to connect the service equipment or system to the grounding electrode. Your electrical grounding conductor is what is going to connect Thor electrical system to ground. Whether your facility has ground rods or a series of ground plates and ground rods, or another type of grounding electrode your grounding conductor is going to extend from your grounding electrode to your main electrical service panel.

Now then what is my grounding electrode? Your grounding electrode is defined by the Canadian electrical code as a buried metal water piping system or metal object or device buried in, or driven into, the ground to which a grounding conductor is electrically and mechanically connected. What this means is that your grounding electrode is the part of your electrical system that is buried to the required standard required by code. different grounding electrodes exist for different situations. If you are installing a residential grounding electrode then your buried metal water piping system will most likely be your best bet.  As a quality commercial electrician we would tackle different facilities in different ways when it comes to establishing a grounding electrode.

How big should my grounding conductor be? One area of confusion that oftentimes will confuse edmonton electricians is the size of your grounding conductor. As the Canadian electrical code book changes every 3 years so do many of the grounding rules. As in rule 10 – 114 now states that: copper grounding conductor shall not be sized smaller than number 6AWG. As always the Canadian electrical code States many sub rules to allow for certain scenarios. As your commercial Edmonton electrician, we are familiar with these rules and how they apply to your commercial facility.

The whole point of grounding and your grounding conductor is to establish a common reference to Earth for your electrical system. You want your grounding conductor to have equipotentiality with the Earth in order for your overcurrent devices to react accordingly. your grounding conductor does not have any need to be larger than number 6 gauge copper, or #6AWG Cu.

When installing your grounding conductor your commercial electrician must ensure that the grounding conductor is electrically continuous throughout its entire length. In addition to having your grounding conductor continuous, your Edmonton electrician must also take adequate precautions in order to protect your grounding conductor from damage. These methods of protecting your grounding conductor from damage can be either a mechanical method of protecting them by location. There are certain allowances or whether or not your grounding conductor needs to be insulated or not. 

Commercial electrical issues. Many issues can be solved with your commercial electrical through adequate grounding and electrical bonding. As a commercial electrician when we see that lights are dimming it is often not the power coming in, but the reference.  most electrical issues and anomalies that exist in a commercial facility are usually directly or indirectly related to grounding and bonding. When power enters a system, it needs a pathway back. without a sufficient pathway in and out of a resistive device your electrical system will face issues.  Oftentimes a system will have multiple grounding electrodes and this can create and objectionable current. There should be no parallel path from the neutral and ground. Ideally an electrical system should only be electrically grounded at the main panel or disconnect switch. Single point grounding virtually eliminates all objectionable currents.

Another common misconception about grounding exists when your Edmonton electrician says that ground fault current flows to Earth. Ground fault current does not flow back to Earth. As a quality commercial electrician I can say with confidence that your ground fault current flow goes back to the source from where it came. Your ground is in place to facilitate your overcurrent device. This refers back to the definition of grounding.

Being a professional commercial electrical contractor we must be thorough and educated on the topic of electrical grounding and bonding. The whole point of grounding is to limit electrical shocks and to safely control an electrical system. Without bonding we would have live electrical parts as well as no reference point for troubleshooting an electrical system. Without a ground our overcurrent device would not have a reference point in order to facilitate its operation properly. In layman’s terms, without proper grounding and electrical bonding your electrical circuit breakers will not function properly, and thus will not trip and open the electrical circuit when they should.

One question that we get asked quite frequently is regarding permits. Commercial facilities maintenance staff will ask us if grounding requires a permit. Any electrical alteration to an electrical system technically does require a permit. As per section 2 of the Canadian electrical code all electrical work requires a permit.

Any commercial electrician working in your facility should be familiar with this next rule. Rule 2 – 004 states: electrical contractors or others responsible for carrying out the work shall obtain a permit from the inspection department before commencing work with respect to installation, alteration, repair, or extension of any electrical equipment. Bear in mind that the Canadian Electrical Code is enforced as law. This means the CEC can be interpreted in a court of law. Regardless of type, all electrical work is required to have an electrical permit. Even grounding work installed requires an electrical permit. 

So here we conclude this edition of your Edmonton electrician. It is always important to have an electrically grounded and bonded system. Bonding and grounding is extremely important especially in Edmonton laboratories and technology facilities where static may be an issue. 

Our commercial electricians keep up to date on best practices for facilities where static electricity can be a concern. Hazardous locations always require extreme care and caution with regards to grounding and bonding. As a quality commercial Edmonton electrician we take pride in what we do. Our mission to to provide power through exceptional customer service. 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your commercial facility feel free to reach out to us at 780-935-0622. If you prefer email contact you can email us at info@hauerpower.ca. We are proud to serve efficient electrical services to Edmonton and surrounding areas. This includes Sherwood park, St.Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, Nisku, Beaumont, Leduc, Spruce Grove and Stony Plain.

If you are unsure if our commercial electricians can serve you and your facility, give us a call and find out! As your best Edmonton electrician it is our mission to provide power through exceptional customer service. We always look forward to hearing from you, and we look forward to giving you power! 

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