Properly installed, a ground rod will be completely buried in the earth. This is important for three key reasons:
- Depending on location, a protruding ground rod can pose a safety risk due to tripping or, worse, minor impalement if you manage to fall on it.
- A protruding ground rod will be subject to damage if you hit it with a lawnmower or weed trimmers, not to mention potential damage to the ground rod itself, along with the crucial conductor back to your distribution panel.
- While uncommon, it is not impossible for the ground rod to carry a charge, especially if there are undetected shorts somewhere in the household electrical system. Exposed copper + electricity = BAD.