A Ground Isn't Just Rods


Well-Known Member
Nov 19, 2012
A Ufer is NEC required and they will install one if your building new. If your adding onto the house and they pour foundation, be sure to ask for one to be added.

Vapor barrier is an absolute NO. I completely defeats the ground. Thats like saying you want to wrap your ground rods in an insulated jacket before burying them.
It appears that the Ufer can be placed elsewhere, not baked into the footer and that is not protected by a vapor barrier when building new. Some dedicated horizontal trench placed near the house perimeter as an example (like @wil is doing with the Bentonite Clay but in this case using the concrete of the Ufer) without a vapor barrier so it can absorb as much moisture as it needs.

Audio performance may be very important but I'm not one who would put it above protecting your foundation from moisture intrusion. I've lived in and seen many houses that fell victim to this kind of thing over a long time and its not pretty.

But with that said, in the area I live now, using one is probably less important as it was when I lived on the East Coast. We got 10" of rain in an afternoon back there, or at least it sure seemed that way at times : )

I'm not here to disagree with the importance of proper distribution/breaker panel wiring and layout. I have no doubts that it can make or break the ultimate potential of an audio system.

I believe I have experienced and lived with a triple threat in the past where I had a crappy grounding scheme in the 120+yr old house I lived in, crappy breaker panel wiring/layout, Knob and Tube and an expensive set of amplifiers (Paperweights really) unable to cope with any of those things or the load of the speakers they were connected to. Its not a fun situation to be in and was very expensive to try and get out from under.

The funny thing is, once the well designed Pass Labs Amps I own now were placed in the above situation they worked without blinking. So yes, I agree, proper audio equipment design also plays a big role in how everything turns out when its placed in a less than ideal environment and all connected together.


Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2019
You need to do whats right for yourself. There are instances where the building and trades have failed with their guidelines. At one point they made builders put plastic in the walls in kitchen sink areas. This trapped moisture and black mold tbrived.
They also got the bright idea to attach a ground wire to the cold water pipe. This rotted the utility plumbing up and down the street. They now have an isolator at the junction from the main to your home. And I still see houses all the time with leaking copper pipes becasue electrolysis eats it away as the electrical supply ground is attached to it.

So is there a problem with a Ufer. Sure. If you took a direct bolt of lighting to your utility line, the energy can flash heat the ufer and explode the concrete footer surounding it. Its possible leaking voltage could cause the rebar to rust, that will also spald and spit your foundation.
Concrete encased electrodes have been mandated since about 2007 or so. They have been in use since about 1978. I don't know we have seen the repercussion this might have yet. It will probably take 30 to 40 years before the issue, if it exists, is exposed. They have been around and in use for maybe 50 years now. I have never heard a complaint about damge due to installing them.
If you build a house, they will not let you Not install a concrete encased electrode. If you have them trench a 20 foot section of earth to the depth of your foundation footers and drop the ground in a concrete pour there, they may accept that as an option. Maybe. You can always ask.

I personally don't see the issue. Were audiophile. That means your probably over 50. Your not going to outlive the concrete foundation in your home if you have a competent builder. Dont be cheap. I built my house. I had spray on tar shot on my foundation wall with a corrugated plastic barrier placed over the top. I then put a good foundation drain around my house. I also have downspout that take the water well away from my foundation. I am in a very wet climate and my garage floor is a solid 6 feet below grade and I have never had a drop of water in my basement. My floors are all dry. My slab does have vapor barrier, 2" insulation, wirr mesh, radiant heat tubing then concrete. I also rimmed my entire slab to wall with 1/2" foam insulation. I don't have any cracks in my 1200 foot slab after 14 years. 2 cars and a boat sit on it. I'm satisfied.
My ufer is something like 2 or 3 ohms. I don't think I have tested a ufer that is over 5 ohms. I have seen many rods over 300 and up over 1000.
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