How To Ground a Generator

You may be wondering if your generator needs grounding. Not all generators need to be since they may already be built-in. Alternatively, when they’re tied into an electrical panel, the existing grounding system takes advantage of it, so it doesn’t need to be done manually. 

However, if neither of those situations applies, it must be manually grounded. In that case, a copper ground wire should connect to the generator’s ground bolt, with the other end wrapped around a grounding rod deeply buried in the ground. 

Read on to learn more.

What Is Generator Grounding?

Grounding connects your generator’s neutral electric terminals to the ground using a low-resistance copper wire. This directs excess or faulty electricity away from your system, preventing it from damaging it or the devices connected to it. 

Your devices or appliances don’t usually use all available electricity in an electrical circuit. Excess electricity, internal voltage changes, lightning strikes, static electricity, and others can all cause dangerous voltage spikes, which ground wires will dissipate safely. 

What Are the Risks of Not Grounding a Generator?

If you don’t give excess electricity an alternate path to flow (to the ground), it can overload generators or damage your appliances and devices. It can also result in electrical shock or electrocution, and overheating devices can be a fire hazard. Less common is the risk of explosion if that excess electricity comes into contact with liquid or gaseous fuels.  

How To Know if Your Generator Needs Grounding

When Grounding Is Necessary

According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines, all portable generators that provide electric power to a home, shop, trailer, RV, etc., must be grounded either manually or through your electrical panel. 

However, many portable generators are grounded by design, so you may not need to do it manually. The best way to know is to check your owner’s manual to see if the manufacturer recommends it. 

Situations Where Grounding Is Not Required

When the non-current-carrying metallic parts of generators, like the fuel tank and the engine, are bonded to the metal frame, that frame provides the path of least resistance for excess electrical current to flow, so it doesn’t need to be manually grounded. Another instance is when it’s tied into your electrical panel and takes advantage of the existing grounding system.

Of course, using generators safely to prevent electrical issues is critical. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, inspect your equipment for defects, use only heavy-duty or manufacturer-supplied cords when connecting equipment, and never attach generators directly to your electrical system unless it has an EcoFlow Home Transfer Switch.

How to Safely Ground a Generator

It’s important to safely connect generators to your home, shop, or RV, whether as a backup or an off-grid energy solution. Using an automatic transfer switch is helpful for a home backup solution, while those opting to go off-grid will want an EcoFlow Smart Home Panel to ensure easy integration of EcoFlow DELTA Series Solar Generators into your household’s existing electrical system. The EcoFlow DELTA Pro Ultra is the most powerful whole-home generator and offers up to a month of home backup power during outages. 

While you can opt for a DIY solar generator system, if you’re not confident in your electrical skills, hire a professional electrician to prevent electrical hazards.

1. Install a Grounding Rod

Some generators require a grounding rod pounded deeply into the ground to provide a path for the electricity to flow. The deeper it is, the safer it is.

Modern portable generators don’t require this if their metal components are bonded to the generator’s metal frame, which acts as a path of least resistance, making the rod unnecessary. It is also unnecessary when connected to the main electrical panel, where you can utilize that panel’s existing grounding system.  

2. Strip Insulation From Copper Wire

Using wire strippers, remove the insulation (the plastic coating) from 6-12” of each end of your copper wire, being careful not to stip off any more than necessary to wind it onto the rod and bolt. 

3. Coil the Copper Wire Around the Grounding Rod

Using pliers, wrap the stripped end of the copper wire around the installed rod tightly. The pliers will help you tightly grip and wrap the wire around the rod. 

4.  Attach the Copper Wire to the Generator

Ensure that your generator is turned off. Then, find the generator’s ground bolt and loosen it with a wrench. Wrap the copper wire around the bolt using pliers to ensure a tight wrap. Then, tighten the bolt again. You can also solder the copper wire to the ground bolt if you have a soldering gun. 

5. Test Your Connections

Once you have connected the copper wire to the generator and the rod, test your connection using an ohm meter where the ohmic resistance should be 0 if the connection is safe and secure. 

Your connection is unsafe if you get any consistent or intermittent resistance measuring anything other than 0. In that case, undo the connections at both ends and re-do steps 1-4, using pliers and ensuring the wire is wound tightly on both ends. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a Generator Need To Be Grounded?

Generators that provide electricity to a home, shop, RV, etc., using a transfer switch must be connected to a grounding system. However, when the metallic components like the engine and fuel tank are bonded to the metal frame, that frame acts as ground. If you’re uncertain, consult your owner’s manual.

What Is the Method Used for Grounding a Generator?

If your generator does not already have a built-in grounding system or is not connected to an electrical panel that is already grounded, then the best method is to use a deeply buried grounding rod connected to your generator’s ground bolt using a copper ground wire. 

Where Does the Ground Wire Go on a Generator?

The copper wire must be attached to the ground bolt on your generator, with the other end connected to a grounding rod buried in the ground. Consult your user manual to determine if your generator needs a ground wire and locate your ground bolt. 

Final Thoughts

Ensuring that your generator is grounded is critical to ensuring safety and preventing electrical hazards to yourself or damaging your generator or any appliances or devices that may be connected to it. Even though EcoFlow solar generators are superior in safety to traditional generators using fossil fuels, it is important to ensure they are grounded. 

When connected to your home’s or RV’s electrical panel, this taps into the existing grounding system attached to that panel so that it does not need to be manually grounded. If you’re unsure if your generator needs grounding, consult your user manual and hire a professional electrician to ensure the job is done correctly and safely. 

EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.


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