Loose Ground Wire or Clamp

A loose ground wire or clamp inside an electrical panel, or anywhere in the electrical system, is a problem. If grounding wires are loose or not securely clamped they can’t do their job. If you find a loose ground wire or clamp, fix it if you know how. Otherwise have an electrician do it for you as soon as possible.

The photo above shows 3 ground wires under one lug. The two outer wires are loose, likely because they are smaller in diameter than the one in the middle. I was able to wiggle them around and pull them out. These wires should be clamped under a lug on the grounded bus bar where they will be securely clamped instead of where they are.

The photo below shows three ground clamps at a grounding rod at the exterior of a home. To check to see if they are secure I wiggle the clamp itself AND the wires that are clamped. On the clamp that is on the rod itself there are two wires. If I check only the camp itself, and it is secure, one of the wires (which are different sizes) may be loose. In this photo the clamp behind, and partially hidden by, the wires was loose.

Loose ground clamp at the exterior of a home.

Ground Wires Just Twisted Together

Sometimes I will see ground wires twisted together or loosely touching each other with no mechanical clamping device like a wire nut enforcing a tight bond. This needs to be repaired. Otherwise the grounding system may not work as intended. See photo below.

Where to Find Ground Wire Clamps

Ground wire clamps can be found in the following locations:

  • On a grounding rod
  • On water pipes
    • Where main water line enters the home
    • Under the kitchen sink
    • In utility room
    • On hose faucets (often put there by cable TV or phone companies
  • Inside electrical panels
  • Inside electrical junction boxes

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