A static voltage discharge – like lightning – poses a danger to anyone in direct contact with it.
When installed, a grounding rod creates a ground field, helping ensure the safety of the homeowner.
Simply put, a ground rod redirects the electrical flow into the ground and prevents the leaking voltage from harming the occupants of a home in a storm.
(Hence) A Manufactured Home Require A Grounding Rod?
In one word – “Yes.” Both the HUD Code of 1976 and many local codes for mobile homes require these homes to be equipped with a grounding rod to protect the electronics and the human occupants. As such, it has become near standard for local authorities to require mobile homes to have a 200 amp 4-wire service that’s grounded. And since the power demands of an average mobile home owner have increased – with tons of appliances and electronics to run – the rules regarding grounding have evolved considerably over the years.
Why Do Regulations Even Insist On Grounding?
Here are the reasons why the HUD Code and local codes won’t stop until you add that rod to your home:
1. No More Dimming Lights
A badly installed electrical ground, or lack of it, can cause your lights to dim erratically and reduce the quality of illumination.
When the slightest sign of this problem occurs, it becomes near impossible to turn on larger appliances like the heater or stove.
Any attempt to use the heater, for example, almost certainly causes the lighting fixtures to dim further and even turn off.
Your appliances may not receive the right amount of power they deserve in this situation.
It could generally translate into a refrigerator whose motors won’t run properly, ovens that won’t generate sufficient heat to broil your chicken, heaters that won’t warm the room at your preferred temperature, etc.
2. Reduced likelihood of an electrical shock
Poor or non-existent grounding for your electrical system creates another risk: electrical shock.
One of the must-observe rules in electrical systems is that the flow of electricity in any circuit must eventually find a way to earth – you achieve this by grounding.
So, in the likely event that the ground line of your utility company fails, the grounding line on your home should take its place as a backup.
If your home’s ground rod is faulty or non-existent, the electricity will still be compelled to find an alternative path to the ground. The alternative path could be your body.
Coming into contact with a home electrical socket that hasn’t been properly grounded usually ends up with an electrical shock.
Related: Do Manufactured Homes Need to Be Inspected?
3. Bloated electricity bills
While uncommon, your grounding rod can short and cause power wastage.
This situation normally occurs when the “hot” wire (or the wire carrying the electric voltage) accidentally connects to your ground line before it makes its way into the home circuit.
This is mostly caused by old, faulty, or decayed wires, which may end up exposing the cores of the wires to the elements.
If the “hot” wire is exposed and brought into contact with the main grounding wire of the home (or other ground lines, such as wet earth or metal water piping), shorting will occur.
This kind of shorting normally allows an uncontrolled and perpetual flow of the current into the ground. The longer the current flows into the ground, the higher your electricity bills get.
So What Does The HUD Code of 1976 Say About Grounding (In General)?
The last time the HUD code was updated was in 2008 and here is what it says about grounding your mobile home:
The grounding of electrical and non-electrical metal parts in mobile homes should be via a connection to the grounding bus found in the home’s distribution panelboard.
Also, the grounding bus should be grounded via the green-coat conductor of the supply cords.
Alternatively, it can be through the feeder wire that leads to the specific service ground in your service-entrance equipment often situated close to your mobile home location.
Never let the frame of your appliance or frame of the home come into contact with the neutral wire.
2. Insulated neutral
The ground circuit conductor (or neutral) should be sufficiently insulated from all the grounding conductors as well as from equipment/appliance enclosures and any other grounded parts.
Also, the neutral (grounded) circuit terminals in your distribution panelboard and all major electrical equipment/appliances at home especially clothe dryers, ranges, wall-mounted ovens, and counter-mounted cooking setups should be insulated from your equipment enclosures.
Straps, buses, and bonding screws, in appliances or distribution panelboard should be removed then discarded.
Things may be slightly different if the service equipment is housed in the home.
In this situation, the ground bus and the neutral can be linked in your distribution panel.
Connections involving clothes dryers and ranges with 120/240 volt, three-wire ratings should consist of either type AC metal conductors (with cladding) in a flexible metal conduit or 3-pole and 4-conductor, four-wire ground-type.
For 120-V rated devices a three-conductor wiring cord and 2-pole, three-wire ground-type plug can be used.
3. Home equipment grounding means
The green ground wire in the permanent feeder line or supply cord should be connected to disconnecting means or the grounding bus found in your distribution panelboard.
In your electrical system, ensure that the exposed parts of the enclosure, lamp fixture canopies, frames, etc., are well bonded to the casing that covers your distribution panelboard grounding terminal or the enclosure of the home’s distribution panelboard.
All your cord-connected appliances (washers, clothes dryers, fridges, electrical parts of the gas range, etc.) should be grounded using an approved cord complete with a grounding conductor and ground-type attachment plug.
4. Bonding the metal parts that carry zero current
Bare noncurrent-carrying parts made of metal can be energized by accident.
For that reason, HUD Code recommends that you bond your grounding terminal or opt to enclose the distribution panelboard instead.
The bonding conductor should be connected between every distribution panelboard you have and the terminal present on the chassis.
Grounding terminals must meet 2 conditions:
- firstly, they should be approved to be pressure-terminal connectors (you can tell by the size of the wire),
- and secondly, should be solderless.
Star washers or any other permitted paint-penetrating fitting should be used to link the terminals to your home’s chassis or any other coated area.
The bonding conductor should be stranded or solid, bare or insulated, and should be Number. 8 copper (minimum), but any other similar conductor can be used.
The bonding conductor should be routed to prevent exposure to physical damage. You will decide the type of protection based on the configuration of your chassis.
Metallic water, gas, and waste pipes as well as metal air-circulating ductwork can only be assumed to be bonded if you previously connected them to a terminal on the home’s chassis using solderless connectors, clamps, or by suitable ground-type straps.
Any metal roof and exterior cover can only qualify as bonded if:
- Its metal panels overlap each other and are secured to the metal or wood frame parts using metallic fasteners, and
- If the lower panels of the metal exterior cover are secured using metal fasteners at any cross member of your chassis using 2 metal straps per mobile home unit or constituent section at its opposite ends. The straps should be fastened with a paint-penetrating fitting – it can be star washers and screws or equivalent.
Two things you should know:
- Keep the color code in mind. When identifying the ground line in the disconnect box, always choose one coded with green color.
- Also, keep the rest of your ground wire green by giving it a green sheath.
Two grounding poles are normally needed – the two should be 6 ft. apart, with one pole being closer to your meter pole.
This distance is very necessary as it helps get rid of the static electricity that may build up in your grounding wire.
If you erroneously position the poles too close to each other, you can be certain of an electrical shock if you touch it.
Does a manufactured home require a grounding rod? Yes, certainly.
One of the must-observe rules in electrical systems is that the flow of electricity in any circuit must eventually find its way to earth – you achieve this by grounding.
A ground rod redirects the electrical flow into the ground and prevents the leaking voltage from harming the occupants of a home in a storm.
MANUFACTURED HOME CONSTRUCTION AND SAFETY STANDARDS