Difference Between Earthing And Grounding

Earthing is a protection system for buildings through which all the electrical installations  are connected to the earth to prevent damage to the property and people due to any fault. This is achieved by driving conductive rods into the earth itself near where power enters the house. Connection to the ground also restricts the build-up of static electricity when handling flammable products or electrostatic-sensitive devices.

The purpose of earthing is to minimize the risk of incurring an electric shock on touching while there is a fault. Electrical circuits may be connected to earth (ground) for several reasons.

Earthing Serves as:

  • Personal protection

  • Property/ operational protection

  • Potential grading earthing

  • Protection from electromagnetic pulses 

  • Protection from lightning 

Why is Earthing Important?

  • Earthing is used to secure you from an electric shock as it provides a path for fault current to flow to earth. Earth being a big sphere so its capacity is larger.

  • Safe generation, transmission, and distribution of the electric system.

  • Protection from potentially deadly voltages when we come in contact with them.

  • Sometimes people won’t be able to feel electricity until it goes somewhere above 25 volts. Thus, damage can occur to delicate computer components unless human doesn’t become sensitive to shock.

  • Earthing of the equipment drives the protection to work and isolates the defective equipment from service.

Types of Earthing

The process of Earthing or electrical grounding can be done in various ways like wiring in factories, housing, other machines, and electrical equipment. There are different forms of earthing systems that are described below:

Plate Earthing System

In this type of system, a plate is made up of copper or galvanized iron that is placed vertically in the ground pit less than 3 meters from the earth. The electrode plate connects the electrical conductors to the earth. Moisture should be maintained around the plate earthing system for its better functioning.

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Pipe Earthing System

A galvanized steel-based pipe when positioned vertically inside a wet surface. Such a type of earthing system is known as the pipe earthing. It is the most common type of earthing system used in houses. The pipe size mainly relies on the type of soil and magnitude of the current.

 Basically, for the ordinary soil, the pipe dimension should be 1.5 inches in diameter and 9 feet in length and for rocky or dry soil, the pipe diameter should be greater than the ordinary soil pipe. The soil moisture decides the pipe’s length that is to be placed in the earth. 

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Rod Earthing System

Earth rods are made from copper and stainless steel or copper bonded steel. The best choice is the copper bonded steel due to its combination of strength, resistance to corrosion, and lower cost. 

Their fittings are used to render the interface to the ground in all soil conditions in order to achieve satisfactory earthing systems. It deviates an electric current that might escape from a device to a metallic cable that ends with a rod buried in the ground.

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What is Grounding?

The grounding is actually a backup pathway that provides an alternating route or path for the current to flow back to the ground if there is a fault in the wiring system.

Difference Between Earthing and Grounding





UK-based term

US-based term


A circuit is connected to the earth as the earth (neutral earth) is an equipotential surface.

A circuit is not physically connected to the earth but the potential is zero with respect to the other points.


Earth is used for the protection of the human body in faulty conditions.

Grounding is utilized for the protection of electrical equipment.


Earthing means connecting to the dead component (to the part that does not carry current) under normal conditions to the earth.

Grounding means connecting the live part, it means the constituent that carries current under normal condition to the earth.


Earthing is done to ensure the safety of electrical equipment and humans by ejecting the electrical energy to the earth.

Grounding is done to provide an effective return path from the machine to the power source.


Earthing is achieved through the connection of a metallic system to earth. It is normally achieved by inserting ground rods or other electrodes deep inside the earth.

Grounding ensures a safe, alternate path around the electrical system of your house by protecting it from high voltage produced in the lines due to lightning.


Earthing is a preventive measure.

Grounding is a backup pathway.


Green wire is used in this as a classification.

The black wire is used in this as a classification.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: What is Electrical Earthing?

Ans: The process of transmitting the contiguous release of the electrical energy directly to the earth by the help of the low resistance wire is known as the electrical earthing. The electrical earthing is done by connecting the non-current carrying constituent of the equipment or neutral of the supply system to the ground. It forbids harm to electrical appliances and equipment by preventing undue current from running through the circuit.

Q2: What is Touch Potential?

Ans: Touch potential is the touch voltage produced between the simulated object and the feet of a person in contact with the object. It is equal to the potential difference between the fingers of a raising hand touching the faulted structure and the feet of the person standing on the substation floor. The resistance of human body is highly inconsistent, and the current that may pass through the body relies on the resistance of the body, and the position in which it touches the ground and resistance of the human body is basically considered 1000 ohms.

Q3: Why Does the Earth’s Electric Field Transfer so Easily to the Body?

Ans: The body is mostly water and minerals.  It is the best conductor of electricity (electrons). The free electrons on the surface of the earth are easily transmitted to the human body as long as there is direct contact with that surface.