Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Good Electrical Ground & TVSS: Modern Home ESSENTIALS
Take a look at everything you have in your home that plugs into your wall power outlets. EACH AND EVERY item other than simple lamps has some sort of electronic circuit in it if it's 10 or fewer years old. Things like wall dimmers do also. Every one of those electronic circuits are subject to spikes, noise, etc that EVERY power grid in all the world throws at each power customer every day. The noise can disrupt them and the spikes and surges can damage them. Typically the damage starts long before any of them stop doing what you bought it to do. The damage just accumulates until the device just can't function any longer. You can think of it as each spike melting and blowing a bubble in the material that makes up the various microscopic devices that make up each electronic circuit. When enough bubbles form no current will pass through the device. Long before that it starts to "act funny". When you add up what it cost to buy all of those household items, totals in the thousands of dollars are typical.
I look at those spikes, surges, and noise as the waste in the electrical system. To understand the role of grounding in an electrical system I look at my plumbing system. Look under your sink, in the basement or wherever you can see both water supply and waste plumbing. Notice how big the waste drains are in relation to the water supply lines. Electrically, your 3rd wire ground does exactly what that waste line is doing only with wire and cables dumping spikes, surges, leakage and noise.
Every known substance on earth RESISTS electrical current other than superconductors which we can so far only operate at ridiculously low temperatures. That includes your water pipes. They can be expected to be more resistive than a copper wire. There are even in-line electrical insulators involved in "couplings" where different types of metal pipe meet (copper to steel, etc). The longer the piping from where your water supply comes out of the ground to the electrical grounding connection the more resistance it adds to the flow of that electrical waste.
About 15 months ago I bought a whole house TVSS( Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor) from Sine Control Technology as they had proven themselves extremely effective in my last few years as a Biomedical Engineering Technician at Hines VA Hospital. We experienced dramatic fall off in failures of almost all equipment connected through them. Where they were less effective we usually discovered faulty grounding of the electrical systems they were connected to. Think of the TVSS as the toilet for your electrical system and their use on faulty grounds as trying to flush a toilet through a 1/4" drain line.
That being said, when I discovered that my house electrical system ground was connected to the water line way at the back of my house instead of the entry point of the water supply at the front of the house, I made sure that the electricians installing my TVSS (see photo above) ran a new fat, highly stranded ground wire line from the electrical service panel to the water service entry before installation.