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What is Grounding and Why Is It Needed?

November 22, 2021

A single lightning strike can contain as many as one billion volts. The sheer power and frequency of lightning strikes make them a serious threat to ungrounded commercial facilities and homes. But what is grounding? How does it work? And why is it important? Today we answer all these questions and more. Explore the features of an effective grounding system to see how VFC Lightning Protection can help you protect your property.

What Is Grounding?

Grounding protects you and your property from the devastating effects of a power surge. Proper grounding connects equipment and systems with non-conductive materials to the earth ground. This prevents a power surge from damaging your property or causing injury.

When your building is struck by lightning or experiences another surge event, the excess voltage can seriously damage facilities and systems. It can also cause electricity to leap out of the wiring. This stray electrical arc can seriously injure bystanders, start fires, and damage electronic systems..

Most systems require a grounding wire. This can be solid grounding, high-resistance grounding, or low-resistance grounding. These types refer to one or more conductor point that’s intentionally grounded, either through an impedance or solidly grounded. This point could be a middle wire of a transformer or generator windings.

How Does Grounding Work?

The goal of grounding is to connect all the neutral points of current-carrying conductors to the earth. By connecting them to the earth, the grounding system creates a highly efficient route of excess electricity. Even if a wire is damaged or millions of volts come surging into your facility, this system directs them safely to the earth to prevent arcing.

Why Is Grounding Important?

Grounding includes state-of-the-art lightning protection, but it’s about much more than preventing unusual lightning strike surges. A properly grounded system provides the following features:

  • Electrical overload protection
  • Voltage stabilization
  • Electricity direction
  • Damage and injury prevention

Lightning isn’t the only cause of a power surge. Other issues can create dangerously high voltage situations in your equipment and wiring. While lightning and other external power anomalies cause some surges, an estimated 80% of surges are produced internally in commercial facilities. Without proper grounding, these high levels of voltage are a liability.

Regardless of the incoming voltage, grounding keeps levels stable in your systems. A sudden lightning strike can devastate computers, manufacturing equipment, and other instruments that are ungrounded, so this system plays a major role in protecting your personal and commercial investment.

Directed electricity means peace of mind. You shouldn’t have to worry about the risks of injury and death every thunderstorm.

What Does Grounding Do?

Grounding provides a secure path for excess electricity to safely leave a system. Your wiring, fuses, equipment, and other electrical components are all designed to handle a specific range of volts and watts. Excess electricity creates complications and can cause unexpected damage and/or injury without proper grounding.

The size and scope of a grounding system can vary. Industrial surge protection looks very different from residential protection, but both perform the same basic safety functions. The goal of this type of system is to minimize the risks of damage, electrical fires, and injury.

What Are the Signs of a Ground Fault?

You shouldn’t have to worry about a ground fault once a system is properly grounded. A ground fault is a disruption of the normal electrical flow in a system. It’s caused by an unwanted connection and allows electricity to flow and surge in unexpected ways.

Your facility may be at risk of a ground fault issue if you have older equipment or wiring. Even the most updated equipment, however, still needs proper grounding. This prevents the havoc and downtime caused by unexpected outages, equipment damage, fire, and electrocution.

These signs point to a facility that’s at risk of a ground fault. Here are some signs that a ground fault has occurred in your facility:

  • Individual has experienced an electrical shock
  • Equipment is inoperable
  • Wiring is damaged or excessively hot
  • Breakers and fuses are damaged
  • Your facility has experienced an unexpected power outage

Don’t wait until you spot these signs in your facility. Take proactive measures to safeguard your systems from internal surges and external electrical threats. Work with an experienced team to identify the correct size and installation of a ground fault protection system to avoid these devastating effects.

How Can You Benefit From a Grounded System?

Grounding solutions reduce downtime in commercial facilities. Lightning-created equipment failure can halt business operations, which can cost as much as $500,000 per hour. A grounded system can protect your property and operations.

When you work with a professional grounding system design and installation team like VFC, you can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Reduced risk of electrical shock
  • Extensive equipment protection
  • Reduced fluctuations in an electrical signal
  • Reduced risk of equipment damage and downtime
  • Improved electrical fire protection

Grounding alone can help prevent downtime, but you can also receive efficient alerts to potential storms and issues with lightning warning solutions from VFC Lightning Protection. Receive location-specific alerts that can be easily integrated into your existing safety protocols for added peace of mind.

Why Choose VFC Lightning?

Grounding can prevent costly downtime in your facility, but attempting to design and implement your own system can cause its own costs and related downtime. Choose an efficient, effective, and proven method to update the safety of your electrical system by working with a skilled grounding solutions team. Discuss the engineering, product selection, and implementation steps with the industry-leading team at VFC Lightning.

From warning alerts to comprehensive grounding systems, VFC Lightning Protection is your single-source provider of grounding solutions for your industry. Explore our grounding services to see how we can protect your home, commercial property, or industrial facility with lightning and surge protection tailored to your industry and facility.