What is an earth electrode & why is it so essential for your home?

One of the lesser known electrical safety systems that you’ll find around your home is the earth electrode. This very simple device has a crucial role in keeping your home electrically safe and preventing electrical incidents. Earth electrodes are made of metal, such as copper or another approved solid rod, and are designed to safely discharge an overflow of electricity coming from a poorly insulated or electrically faulty device.

Earth stake and wire
Earth electrode and wire

How does an earth electrode work?

The earth electrode diverts an electrical current safely from a damaged cable, appliance, or wiring to the earth.

The earth electrode is connected to the electrical circuit and fitted into the ground near the switchboard of your home. This way, any excess electricity from the circuits in the building will travel safely along the earth wire to the metal in the electrode and reach ground without causing anyone harm.

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The importance of earth electrode

The safety switch fitted to your home to protect people from electric shock relies on the earth electrode connection to operate effectively. If the safety switch is not connected correctly to an earth electrode it may not trip off when a fault occurs.

Earth stake
Earth electrode

How do you know if you have an earth electrode?

If your home was built before 1980, then there’s a chance that it was not built using earthing electrodes in the electrical system design. However, newer properties from 1980 onwards are more than likely to have earth electrodes installed from the start.

The earth electrode:

  • will be located within 3 to 4 metres of your electrical switchboard or fuse box
  • will have a connecting electrical wire that is either green and yellow or solid green in colour.

It is important that you speak to a licenced electrician to replace a faulty earth electrode if you notice they’re cracked or damaged in any way.

Faulty earth stake
Faulty earth electrode

How can I tell if an earth electrode is faulty?

You’re likely to see an earth electrode that has become faulty if you notice any rust, corrosion, cracks or marks on it.

Other signs the earth electrode is faulty include:

  • a poor or lack of connection between the electrical wire and the earth electrode
  • corrosion or damage to the electrode or connection

If you notice anything unusual with the earth electrode in your home, call your local Fallon Solutions electrician at 1300 762 260.

Earth electrodes do not cost much but they save lives by keeping us safe. It’s well worth calling your local electrician to check your home to avoid electrical incidents at all costs.