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Grounding a Shipping Container

13.07.2014 - Posted by Updated On 13.07.2014    

Grounding a shipping container to prevent electrocution or damage to the items inside is a question that regularly comes up, and one that needs to be addressed properly. Using a shipping container as a storage unit, cabin, or any other type of building requires that you park the container somehow, either directly on the ground or on some type of a foundation. In the event that the container is struck by lightning the unit needs to properly pass the electrical charge through to the ground or problems could occur.

First off, the purpose of grounding things is to prevent the risk of electrocution by reducing or eliminating any electrical charge that may build up in them. Almost all structures are grounded in some way. A properly grounded structure will not have any build-up of electrical charge that could occur through any current leak or static electricity build up.

If the container is sitting directly on the ground no grounding system is needed, as any electrical charge will pass straight though the container into the ground. In a very basic sense, the container can act as a Faraday cage and protect everything inside from electrocution.

If the container structure is put some type of elevated foundation there may be a need to ground the container to allow any charge to pass through the unit into the earth. We can't say definitely if your container building needs to be grounded, as the requirements for grounding the container are contingent upon how conductive the foundation is,
as well as any events that would be happening at the exact time which the container is struck by lightning. If, for example, the container is sitting on a stack of non-conductive car tires, and at the exact moment the container is struck by lightning you happen to be standing with one foot in the container and the other foot on the ground, there's a very good chance that you will be the element conducting the electricity into the ground. container<empty>

If your container is sitting on any type of foundation other than basic railroad ties, it's a good idea to ground it; and for the investment of under $100 the "worst case scenario" is eliminated.

How to Ground a Shipping Container

Grounding a shipping container is a quick and simple process. Obviously, you'll first need to purchase a grounding kit. They can be found on Amazon (Field Guardian Complete Grounding Kit, 3-Feet), or at just about any farm or ranch supply store (we grabbed them at JAX Mercantile in Fort Collins, CO). Next, you'll want to drive the grounding rod into the ground as deep as possible. Normally, the copper rod should be at least a few feet into the earth. Once you've got the rod into the ground, weld or connect the road with a steel cable. We welded ours onto the corner rail and another on the corner casting. That's about all there is to it. grounded shipping container

Not all shipping container structures require grounding; however for the cost involved and the potential risks, it's a safe bet to make. If there's any question about it we suggest that you either install a grounding kit, or contact a local expert to see if it's actually required.



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