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Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/16/2008 9:50 PM

Hello All,

I was wondering if it is ok to connect ground wire for an outlet (three prong) to a copper water pipe? Old residential house came with two prong outlet. Converting to three prong. please let me know, thank you in advance.

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#1

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/16/2008 11:51 PM

Probably not a good idea; but I could be mistaken. Just going on memory, I can't recall anything in the code that would allow this. The ground conductor from the outlet should be carried back to the ground bus in the load center.

Check NEC article 250. Or better yet, hire an electrician.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/17/2008 3:19 AM

thank you makr, I will connect to back to the ground bus. You think maybe I can connect it to metal conduit box that is which goes back to the main breaker box?

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#8
In reply to #2

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/18/2008 3:50 AM

Radalin538:

What region are in? Can you contact the electrical inspector for your area. He can describe a method for your situation. Somethings can be done if you are the resident owner only.

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#3

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/17/2008 8:27 AM

There are many instances in the U.S where the main panel has been upgraded and the only practical solution was to ground the panel to the copper water main.

I wouldn't advise connecting each ground individually as this constitutes seperately derived.

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#4

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/17/2008 9:05 AM

Because of the proliferation of plastic water pipe, it is no longer permitted in the UK. Get a qualified electrical installer to install a local earth rod network and a 100mA whole-house RCCD.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthing_system

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#5

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/17/2008 6:27 PM

The easiest way to safely convert 2-wire outlets to 3-prong outlets is install a GFCI on the first opening or outlet on the circut from the load center and make sure the GFCI is wired properly "line" from panel and "load" to the rest of the outlets then you can install standard three prong outlets "downstream" for the rest of the circut.

If you have an updated electrical panel you can install GFCI circut breakers to solve the problem.

But it is also okay to "fish" ground wires to each device from the common grounding system.

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#6

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/18/2008 12:40 AM

Safety is the key here. Yes the outlet will operate and seem normal as long as the pipe is properly bonded to ground, however grounds are for when things go wrong. Should there be a fault or overload, the protection devices may not respond properly due to corrosion or non-metallic sections, plumbing changes etc. In addition, there are possibilities of circulating currents developing through induction and as neutrals deterioriate or fail. Imagine the look on your face when you get a glass of water and become part of a fault circuit.

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#7

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/18/2008 2:06 AM

Hello Radalin538:

the word here is SAFETY. If all the pipes in your house are metal then you can band the mains water pipe with an Earth, as close as possible to where the pipe come out of the ground. If you are not sure then connect the Earth to a spike you can knock through to ground indoors.

Mostly though most houses have a RCCD

but a spike to ground for the Earth wire will do no harm.

It did not used to be the case, but most places I know of will not let you 'tamper' with any electrical stuff.

babybear

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#9

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/18/2008 5:16 AM

I am assuming you are not a licensed electrician. When I was a kid, in the late 1950's, we used to water pipe ground all the time. We also knew there was no PVC attached to the pipes. We also regularly used leaded solder to weld electrical and water pipes.

Today, most plumbing and conduit is PVC. Your best bet, if you don't want to void your home owners insurance, is to get a licensed electrician to do the work. Don't skimp - have the electrical contractor take out permits (make sure you have a copy if not the original) and have his work certified by a city inspector.

You will make your money back in peace of mind, knowing that your circuit won't short and burn the house down, your home owners insurance won't go up as a result of the modification and, if you do have a fire as a result of the outlet (and you followed my suggestions) your home owners insurance company will pay you back handsomely and sue the contractor, the city, and anyone else they can sue.

Safety first.

/Ari (Orpheuse)

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/18/2008 10:00 AM

GA. Your reminiscence reminds me of my own childhood, back when we could play with bottles of mercury, electrical circuits, soldering irons, blow torches, chemistry sets (do they even make them anymore), real swords and weapons (fixed so that they were not lethal) and a whole host of "dangerous" things that the younger generation quivers at because of the safety issues. In middle school, we had classes in electrical shop, metal shop, etc.; I know our current local schools dont have these shop classes available. Interestingly, my ex-son-in-law was an engineer (and lawyer) and I had to show him how to repair the socket for a 3-way bulb. The early experiences I had were what helped me decide to choose engineering as a career.

Personally, I think one of the ways we learn about safety is to have our dads or other adult take us aside and explain the consequences of improperly using these things. It seems the current approach is to ban anyone except a licensed installer or user. I read not long ago about a ban in the UK against butcher knives because they could be used in assaults; some day there will likely be laws preventing the owning of pointed sticks in the UK.

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#10

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/18/2008 7:25 AM

The reason for the ground circuit is for safety. If you want to do it yourself, make sure you do it correctly. This week we had a call for an electrocuted worker stuck in an attic. An air conditioner contractor was installing soft ductwork in an attic. He was laying across the EMT, the screw holding the two ends together came loose. The sharp edge of the tubing cut the hot lead, and energized the length of it. The other length of the EMT was still connected to the ground. A sweat soaked shirt nearly killed him. He is now in a burn center in Miami.

Please do it right.

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#11

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/18/2008 8:19 AM

It was and still is a common practice to ground the breaker panel to the water line, and use special connectors on either side of the water meter to insure continuity around the meter.

This was always done in addition to pounding ground rods outside.

Using the water line for a safety ground is not ideal, but it is safer than no ground at all. A lot of houses in this area still have knob and tube wiring which has no ground.

It sounds like you may need a whole new entrance service and your current service may only be 60 amps. You can do all of the work yourself, but you will still have to have it inspected before the electric company will connect the new service.

Once you have the new service and a good ground then you need to start running all new circuits to your outlets and lighting.

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#13

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/18/2008 10:07 AM

Lots of good-ole-boy "been-there-done-that" advice abounds, with respect to DIY electrical work.

The advice already given, with respect to hiring a licensed electrician (whenever in-doubt) is sound.

Scroll to the bottom 2 boxes at: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/bregnd.html

Best Regards ~

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#14

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/18/2008 11:10 AM

You should never do this, since technicaly not correct.

dhayanandhan,

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#15

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/18/2008 2:32 PM

The house that I grew up in had a number of items grounded to the copper water pipes, (although the electrical panel was grounded to a copper rod running through the floor and into the earth below). This worked fine until the water dept installed a new meter with a plastic body, then the previously grounded items were no longer grounded.

So I guess the short answer is no; it's potentially dangerous.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/18/2008 3:19 PM

Thank you all for the great advice. I will need to save up and hire a real electrician. No need to skimp on safety. Thanks to all again.

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#17

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/18/2008 5:21 PM

Several posts mentioned bonding to water pipes as a ground source, however it should be noted that the ground bonding to metallic water and gas lines is specifically to protect humans from accidents involving appliances, water heaters and such where electric components could fail, or wires crossing pipes in the attic etc could wear through or get stepped on and energize the pipes. The pipe bonding is not for a second source of grounding to the system. Just looking out for all our safety.

In the case of the attic accident mentioned, I can't help but question the system bonding and the protection devices being properly set up since the ground bonds should be at both the source and the device ends of the circuit run. When the conduit itself is used as the sole ground, then the weakness to human life protection becomes the same as using plumbing, which is subject to changes to plastic, opens during repairs, corrosion etc. As an electrician, I am proud of Radalin538 for being open to good advice in respect to safety.

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#51
In reply to #17

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/23/2008 7:07 AM

Eeeeeeek! Bonding to gas pipes for them to provide an earth conductor is long prohibited in the UK.

Bonding gas pipes to a separate earthing conductor system is mandatory.

The difference is subtle, and very important from a safety point of view.

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#52
In reply to #17

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/23/2008 7:17 AM

In the case of the attic accident mentioned, I can't help but question the system bonding and the protection devices being properly set up since the ground bonds should be at both the source and the device ends of the circuit run.

In that accident the building was an older house, probably built in the 40s. It had only two wires inside that conduit, and relied on the conduit itself for grounding. An older design that had shortcomings that are still hurting people.

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#18

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/20/2008 1:09 PM

speaking of youuthful experiments:

no. you cannot just make a three prong outlet by grounding the copper. In fact, after finding a place to stab a 4 foot rod all the way down to the ground without any piping nearby, you can indeed take a two prong circuit and make the extra ground. I have done this only for computers on a UPS.

Reasons not to ground on pipe:

Water heater tricks itself into explosion.

Even Refrigerator can do something strange...on an entirely different circuit.

Baseboard piping could be anywhere..including that thermostat that wil kick in all by itself...because the ground is on the piping doing something stupid..

If just one pc finds that tricky sneaky ground, lamps become hdd indicators randomly, and the cordless phone goes crazy. Besides, why interrupt the HD sound?

Find a real ground, and then, be sure it isn;t in the proximity of something important. The real answer is to use it from a 3 wired house, and I have still failed to understand the escape and purpose of three wires after analyzing the normal 3 wired fuse box installed professionally. But. I did learn not to use copper pipes...

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/20/2008 1:50 PM

Hello Guest,

not sure how or why you get the results you explain after grounding to a cold water pipe. My ground has always been my cold water mains feed and nothing like you explain happens and, all works just fine. It sounds like you have an 'earth leak' if you get that sort of flashing lights and so on.

As long as the cold water pipe is metal and continuous right up to the water tank in the loft it is perfectly safe to Earth any part of the earth lead to the cold water supply. My house has been like this for sixty years. With no worries.

stay safe

babybear

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/20/2008 6:34 PM

Dear babybear,

This solution is passable for "self cobtained buildings" or for buildings that the owner have good control about water supply installlation.

It is can not be generalized for "multi user buildings" and inhibited by regulations.

If we know that all the installation is composed of metal pipes then no problem will exist even theoretically but this is not the case after plastic pipings. We can not know who changes somethings however... I have seen electricians they use this practical way as a habit, regardless of the type of piping! And this is the reason i want to reply you. Please do not introduce this "habit" as a method of grounding.

with my compliments...

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/20/2008 6:54 PM

Hello feridun:

I agree with what you say. But I was really reply in my previous post to the guest who said because the water pipe was used for a ground the light were flicking on and off and heaters were exploding or something similar.

In my opinion plastic pipe for a main cold water feed is a no no. They do not have the strength, or I should say the plastic joints do not have the strength. A lot of Do It Yourselfers often do not even fix them and they are allowed to dangle inside cupboards where they can be knocked with pans, jars, soap boxes etc until the local joints fail. I feel I have to make an 'effort' to make a copper pipe sound and leak proof as well as fixing it to the wall etc. With plastic pipe it is like 'playing' with garden hose and fittings.

stay safe

babybear

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/20/2008 8:04 PM

Thanks for reply babybear.

Excuse me that i did not read the whole story with guest.

I can not have a comment about your 2nd paragraph of reply because I have not an idea about "water supply piping technics". I can only feel that metal pipes are most foolproof solution but costly one.

You also stay safe and thanks again.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/20/2008 8:10 PM

Hello feridun:

No problems my friend. What do you think of the guest remarks? They really do not make sense to me.

stay safe

babybear

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#24
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Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/20/2008 9:01 PM

Grounding is "grounding". You can use pronged or bracketed connections. It is possible that my english is not enough to understand what he/she is talking about a special condition. Clearly i will say that i can not render what the guest points on that i must look into... The "reasons" section is especially confused me.

Best regards

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/20/2008 9:25 PM

Hello feridun:

you seem to be OK with your English. Some words wrong but I think most people here would know what you mean.

Just to make it clear, and no insult intended here OK?

'Earthing' is attaching the Earth wire to a grounded item such as a spike or a mains metal water pipe that should go down far enough to reach the local water-table in an area.

Now feridun:, this next bit I copied and pasted from a post by bob c.

Is this the post where 'the reasons' are talked about, that you mention in your last post to me? If so I kind of understand what you mean. To an electrician it is obvious. To a layman who knows nothing of electric it is a little confusing.

The reason for the ground circuit is for safety. If you want to do it yourself, make sure you do it correctly. This week we had a call for an electrocuted worker stuck in an attic. An air conditioner contractor was installing soft ductwork in an attic. He was laying across the EMT, the screw holding the two ends together came loose. The sharp edge of the tubing cut the hot lead, and energized the length of it. The other length of the EMT was still connected to the ground. A sweat soaked shirt nearly killed him. He is now in a burn center in Miami.

Please do it right.

========================================== This is from me now babybear: By the way, let me say now that as has been said, you can't take it for granted that the cold water main copper pipe in earthed or grounded right up to the cold water tank in the roof or loft. Now some parts are replaced, though I can't think of a situation where copper and plastic are mixed to my knowledge, it is better to play safe and use an earth spike. The instances I gave were entirely dealing with my house that I know has continuous copper pipe throughout the system. So I know the original mains cold water pipe is safe to use as an earth or ground. stay safe babybear

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#27
In reply to #25

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/20/2008 10:46 PM

"if u don't read the entirity, u must accept this result of course!". This sentence is regarding only me!.

While i use "results section" clouse, i have meant "Reasons not to ground on pipe:" from guest.

That's no mention for the rest of this discussion...

If your ground-leak relays doesn't suit with your power needs, any grounding pipes they're even made of copper can not rescue you being lied like a layman.

In addition, if you are doing a restoration on a building without power off this is only your selection!. None could say that you can not!

This is not a subject of kind of conductive material! There's no difference with your "copper pipes" or "steel pipes". Grounding exists for the "leaks to cases" that human might be in touch. If you corrupt the grounding line while with or without electrical knowledge, you must be agreed with this painful results.

I will summerize this reply by this short clouse:

Grounding does'nt relay on the grounding material(that must be any conductive material of course!) but continuity...

Best regards

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#26
In reply to #18

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/20/2008 10:44 PM

It is current National electric code to use one or two 9' copper rods pushed into ground and ground to water pipe up stream of meter or regulator as pipe enters residence since most continue as plastic. Thereby utilizing the entire community as earthing.

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#43
In reply to #26

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/22/2008 2:47 PM

"It is current National electric code to use one or two 9' copper rods pushed into ground and ground to water pipe up stream of meter or regulator as pipe enters residence since most continue as plastic. Thereby utilizing the entire community as earthing." - BWIRE

This is the other 'correct' answer. Let me rephrase it, it's in Shortspeak. "According to the electrical codes today, as set by the National Electric Code is 'to use two 9 foot copper rods ' and pound them into the ground until the can 'ground' the rods to the water mains. This needs to be placed "in front of" or 'upstream' of the electric meter, where the grounded copper rods that are attached to the water pipe enters the residence because after that point everybody uses PVC conduit.

If you want to carry on with your plan, make certain to find where that particular pipe enters the house and, to be really safe, run you own ground wire. That way you know, beyond any doubt, that you are grounded.

Sorry, Bwire, but your post was a bit cryptic. I hope I translated it back to 'Laymanspeak' accurately. No insult was intended to anyone.

/Ari (Orpheuse)

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#44
In reply to #43

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/22/2008 3:42 PM

'upstream' of the electric meter

Fine but clamp ground wire here upstream of the water meter.

Thank you Orpheuse

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#28

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/21/2008 7:15 AM

You have had a lot of sound advice already. But here is a point based on my own experience in New Zealand.

Here we use an "earthed/grounded" neutral system at 230 volts in most domestic situations with Grounding through a metal stake ~2 metres long. An older house I owned had problems with minor shocks from appliances. In the end I found that the stake had been driven into a very dry area under the house so that the resistance of the ground connection had become over 50 ohms. This was VERY dangerous indeed as lethal voltages could easily appear across it. So I think that using a water pipe connection might well be even worse.
In the end I had to replace the stake with another properly sited and all was well (I am a registered electrician)

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#32
In reply to #28

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/21/2008 3:21 PM

So I think that using a water pipe connection might well be even worse.

So long as it's not water from a well (where supply pipe might be shallow), why worse? The water supply pipe would run a very very long way back to the utility pump and source . . . and be wet virtually all the time. Enough to sink any household current, I would think.

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#37
In reply to #32

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/21/2008 6:56 PM

Well Guest! It might be even worse because you may well have no idea how the water supply plumbing has been modified over the years. Another house I had later had Galvanised pipe, brass fittings, some copper pipe and even some later PVC. Apart from the insulating effect of the PVC the corrosion between all the dissimilar metals was pretty awful. In fact I had to replace many fittings and several lengths of pipe in the 20 years I owned the place. A more recent problem is the use of Telon thread tape which can also degrade the usefulness of a water pipe ground under some circumstances.

That's the whole problem. Unless you have done the whole place yourself you cannot possibly know how things stand. So as has been pointed out a good long wet earth stake is the way to go. A registered electrician has to worry about his liabilty and registration, so he can't afford to take foolish chances!

Remeber Hillaire Belloc's little poem-

<> "Lord Finchley tried to mend the electric light. It Struck him dead.
Which serves him RIGHT.
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#38
In reply to #37

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/21/2008 7:51 PM

Thanks crite for the clarification. I would agree that caution should be taken.

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#41
In reply to #32

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/22/2008 10:49 AM

The grounding circuit does not carry any current as long as all of the equipment being powered is working correctly, and in a dry environment. Only if there is a problem in a piece of equipment where current that normally is routed to produce the normal function of the device, is now allowed to come into contact with the outside of the equipment. If a person touches that equipment, he becomes a path for that stray current to go through if he is touching another ground source.

To prevent that shocking event, the exterior, or other internal pieces as required, are connected to the ground circuit. So that wire that you attach to the water pipe will be just fine. It may not carry any current for the next ten years. BUT if a piece of equipment ever has a problem, I'll bet you are going to want that wire to remove as much of that stray current as it can.

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#46
In reply to #41

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/22/2008 7:12 PM

Oh Dear Bob!

That is just the point. It may not be needed for years, though the electrical safety standards of cheap asian imports might mean that it's needed RIGHT NOW!!!

<>As to not carrying current. Well about 9 years ago the University department I worked in had trouble with all its computer room monitors having distorted pictures.
3 phase power isn't "supposed" to carry any current in its return wire. However due to a big phase imbalance the return through that area of the building next to a steel structural member was carrying a few hundred Amps. The magnetic field at 50 HZ was so great that 50 computer monitors were doing a sort of "belly dance" or Hula.
See my second Email. The house I mentioned with the dry ground/earth had (metal)conduit wiring, despite that we had problems with slight shocks in our laundry until I fixed the new stake in a nice wet area. Earthing should be a dedicated arrangement, it is too important to leave to a bodgeup like water pipe.

As to safety, I recently had to repair an Asian made stereo amp. To my horror it had a 200 kiloohm resistor wired direcly from a reversable mains connector to the metal case. This was factory installed, not a later kludge.

I guess you also get those touch sensor bedside lights where you live with no ground/earth wire at all.

Also I must confess I am NOT a fan of RCD's, sure they will switch off the power inthe event of a ground fault, but they will also trip when flouro lights with a power factor cap are switched and still pass enough current through your heart before tripping to get your ventricles
fillibrating like mad!

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#29

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/21/2008 9:17 AM

I live in a community built in the fifties. We had piped in natural gas. Iron water pipes and cast iron sewer pipes.

The natural gas system in the neighborhood developed leaks, and was capped off and all residents changed over to large bottles of propane.

Last year the neighborhood improvement program replaced the water and sewer lines with PVC. From all appearances the house is the same. But the ability to divert stray current to the earth through the piping system will lead to some shocking results. The grounding for my house is now through the overhead wires only. The phone system still has a ground wire attached to the water pipe. When I asked the crew that were installing the new pipe about the grounding for the phone system, I was told that the phone company would take care of that. Not yet.

Now I am wondering if I should install a ground rod and connect it to the electric service entrance cabinet. Your opinions please.

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#31
In reply to #29

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/21/2008 12:40 PM

Hello Bob c,

I would run an earth wire from top to bottom of the house and install a rod long enough to reach ground water, to allow proper earthing. Do it now!!!!

Just a point that may be useful...........run a solid rod or really thick earth wire from the TV Ariel if you have one run down the roof and fixed to the side of the house. It is likely to catch a lightening strike and will divert and power away from the house and down the outside. Put a really long spike for earth in and you can connect the internal earth wire to the lightening rod as you will know for sure it is earthed properly.

I ask other more experienced sparks to give advice if thi advice I have given is not right?

stay safe

babybear

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#33
In reply to #31

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/21/2008 3:32 PM

My dear, this (and what bob c says) is already the mostly applied method of grounding.

We are using copper or galvanized steel stakes (say 25 - 30mm dia. and 2mt long) or plates ( 300x300x5 mm or bigger one) for this purpose.

These stakes or plates must be immersed at least 1mt in a moist place. The wire (likely 10mm diameter) is welded on the plate or stake.

Of course, the dimensions might be different acc. to the kind of building. Exact dimensions can be obtained from regulatory foundations.

Best regards

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#39
In reply to #33

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/21/2008 8:03 PM

Hello feridun,

I just wrote what I thought would be safe and would work. I am pleased it proved to be correct and can actually be applied. Thanks for your confirmation.

stay safe

babybear

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#30

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/21/2008 10:54 AM

As noted on page 1 of the publication, "DIRECT TAPPING OF DUCTILE IRON PIPING ENCASED IN POLYETHYLENE" available at http://www.dipra.org/,

"Grounding household electrical services to the copper water service line can result in stray current corrosion of the copper service and/or the Ductile or Cast Iron main. The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has issued a policy statement that opposes grounding electrical systems to pipe systems conveying drinking water to a customer's premises. AWWA further states that interior piping systems can be connected to an electrical service neutral and to a separate grounding electrode if these systems are electrically insulated from the water utility's pipe system.The Ductile Iron Pipe Research Association (DIPRA) endorses this AWWA policy and recommends that water utilities require that metallic service lines be electrically insulated from the pipe system."

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#34

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/21/2008 3:58 PM

Since there seems to be no definitive answer so far, perhaps another way to chew the problem might be, to ask why it is, exactly, that municipal codes specify the material and manner required for installing and bonding to on-site, earth-imbedded electrodes . . . but do not, as a rule, make mention of water main grounding (other than to say it cannot substitute for localized earth-embed grounding).

This suggests that it is not for the householders' sakes (or is so only secondarily) that water mains shall not be used (thought of) as a common municipal ground but, rather, for the primary benefit of the municipality in order to prevent potential hazards that could result from accumulated current carried in the mains, for example:

  • Shock hazards to "above ground" and "under-ground" (wet footed) municipal workers.
  • Hazards to in-line municipal equipment.
  • Explosion hazards . . . say, due to leakage from gas distribution sources.
  • Others I can't think of.

This suggests that sporadic, judicious grounding into water system/mains would tend to "do no harm," and be acceptable in principle (other than code violation) in the absence of a suitable, approved alternative. (. . . that, technically, it's a matter of, "Try your best to comply, but . . ." )

What say y'all?

UG

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#35

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/21/2008 5:07 PM

Here's the code reference to my eairler post #6 NEC 406.3 (D)(3)

(3) Non–Grounding-Type Receptacles. Where attachment to an equipment grounding conductor does not exist in the receptacle enclosure, the installation shall comply with (D)(3)(a), (D)(3)(b), or (D)(3)(c).
(a) A non–grounding-type receptacle(s) shall be permitted to be replaced with another non–grounding-type receptacle(s).
(b) A non–grounding-type receptacle(s) shall be permitted to be replaced with a ground-fault circuit interrupter-type of receptacle(s). These receptacles shall be marked "No Equipment Ground." An equipment grounding conductor shall not be connected from the ground-fault circuit-interrupter-type receptacle to any outlet supplied from the ground-fault circuit-interrupter receptacle.
(c) A non–grounding-type receptacle(s) shall be permitted to be replaced with a grounding-type receptacle(s) where supplied through a ground-fault circuit interrupter. Grounding-type receptacles supplied through the ground-fault circuit interrupter shall be marked "GFCI Protected" and "No Equipment Ground." An equipment grounding conductor shall not be connected between the grounding-type receptacles.

This may also create alot of contreversy but I wil say it any way....

Equipment grounds are "created" at the point of a seperatly derived system (transformer and generator being the most common). It is required to "bond" the the (center tap of the xfmr 1-phase or the center of wye connection 3-phase) at the first means of diconnect (main Breaker) this is where the grounded current carrying condutor (NUETRAL) and the grounding conductor (EQUIPMENT GROUND) come from.

"Grounding" to the earth is to equalize or make earth and the electrical system have zero potential this is mainly for lightning protection and stray voltages.

The "Equipment Ground" with is not normally a current carrying conductor is designed to have a low impedence (resistive) path to the SOURCE (more commonly called ground). This ensures that a breaker will draw enough current to instantaeously "trip" a breaker in the event a phase conductor faults to "ground" (the voltalge/current is not traving where it wasn't designed to go)

here's the definition to NEC code 250.4 (A)(4).....

(5) Effective Ground-Fault Current Path. Electrical equipment and wiring and other electrically conductive material likely to become energized shall be installed in a manner that creates a low-impedance circuit facilitating the operation of the overcurrent device or ground detector for high-impedance grounded systems. It shall be capable of safely carrying the maximum ground-fault current likely to be imposed on it from any point on the wiring system where a ground fault may occur to the electrical supply source. The earth shall not be considered as an effective ground-fault current path.

There are also installations that don't follow this but these are very very far and few between for specific applications. The wording in "The code" can be very confusing and sometimes hard to interpet the intented meaning. Grounding is also a very controversial subject.

Hope everyone has fun with this one!

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/21/2008 6:03 PM

I just realized I was post #5

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#40
In reply to #35

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/21/2008 8:38 PM

Hello sparkybust,

I am not a qualified sparks, but this piece you posted sounds like a real 'belt and braces' system which seems safe. Will be interesting to see what other more experienced sparks have to say.

stay safe

babybear

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#42

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/22/2008 2:40 PM

One reason to not use your water pipe for a ground is you will get some galvanic response on the pipe which in my house let to numerous pinholes in the pipe which required a very expensive repair.

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#45
In reply to #42

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/22/2008 6:46 PM

Hello silvCrow:

My earth wire has always been connected to the water main for the life of the flat which is roughly 60 years. There has been problems with pinhole leaks. I put it down to bad 'cheap' quality water pipe. I now realise it could be the earth that could be the problem. There is actually a thick metal band round the pipe and the earth wire is bolted to the band.

stay safe

babybear

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#47
In reply to #45

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/22/2008 7:55 PM

babybear,

Good leave that alone but add two nine foot copper rods pushed/hammered whatever into the earth at least 25' a part connected individually by 4ga solid wire to your ground buss.

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#48
In reply to #47

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/22/2008 8:03 PM

Hello bwire,

The pipe has been replaced just a few years ago with a new earth bond to it.

As you may have seen, I did say I was not an Electrician. The mains electrical fuse-box (where the mains enters the place) was replaced with the type of 'fuse' that 'trip' several years ago. Where is the 'bus' on this box?

stay safe

babybear

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#49
In reply to #48

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/23/2008 2:13 AM

If is fuse type box then the ground would likely be the box enclosure. With the two copper rods as I said in a previous post you can have a properly earthed system and would benefit you well to maintain polarity too.

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#50
In reply to #49

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/23/2008 2:18 AM

Hello bwire,

thanks very much for your help

stay safe

babybear

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#54
In reply to #48

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/23/2008 2:03 PM

Be careful,

Many electrician connect the return line to ground stealthily...

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#53

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/23/2008 12:28 PM

Now I'm getting nervous. I am seeing quite a lot of discussion indicating that it is ok to EVER use the plumbing for the ground. This is NEVER proper grounding. A driven rod system and/or connection to a UFER (steel in concrete) at the service entrance panel location is correct. ALL subsequent connections to plumbing is for safety should the plumbing accidently get energized. Many years ago this was not clear and many people paid the price.

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#55
In reply to #53

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/23/2008 5:47 PM

Guest, grounding can be confusing and is mis-interpeted at times...

The water pipe should not be used for an equipment ground (various outlets and or equipment) the purpose is to have solid connection to the earth to the electrical system. This is to create a zero potential and bleed off stray voltages (induction) to ground this includes main water pipe, rods, uffer, and building steel. One of the most important aspects of a grounded system is the bonding required at the service to return a fault to the source. Refer to comment #35

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#56
In reply to #55

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pie

07/27/2008 7:29 AM

This will come up as "guest" since I have not logged in (I am travelling and forgot my log-in). This is CJMcGill of earlier posts, and one other as guest. I have 25 years in a major electric utility and 10 years before that in commercial electric contracting. I am very clear on this subject, and the multiplicity of comments has created confusion about this very serious subject, as other posts have duly noted. It is important to define terms in this case, and state their proper usage.

Grounding: Driven rods and/or re-bar (UFER) encased in concrete in direct contact with the earth. Proper locations are the distribution transformer, and the main service panel. Connections are usually solid copper run between the ground rods and/or UFER and then connected to the main panel ground buss (strip of bare metal with provisions for further connections).

Bonding: All connections made beyond the main service panel ground buss, including the neutral, metal piping and metal enclosures.

Purpose: Safety. The proper operation of life and equipment protection devices depends on reliable bonding of metal objects (including metal pipes) that could accidently become energized, back to the ground buss.

Distinctions: It is imperative to recognize that pipes are bonded to ground for safety only. Pipes are NOT bonded to the ground buss to provide a larger ground circuit or to provide additional connection options for ground bonding purposes. This has been expounded upon and a myriad of valid reasons were given in several previous posts, however the key reason is again, SAFETY and the operation of safety protection devices.

Historical notes: 2 wire systems originally were fairly human safe due to the absense of ground paths back to the source, such as is the case with 3 phase 480VAC ungrounded circuits still. This was not too effective in preventing fires however. As grounding at the source coupled with more effective circuit interruption devices was developed, fire protection was enhanced. The National Electric Code is published by the National Fire Protection Association. Since grounding at the transformer source is the norm now, older 2 wire systems are now more dangerous for humans due to the ground path back to the source, especially if the protective devices are screw-in type fuses. Historically, metal piping was used as the ground, but as the failings became apparent, this method was abandoned in favor of more reliable driven rod and UFER systems. Even these systems require wet earth or other modifications to gain reliability. Do not mistake the bonding to metal piping systems as one of these modifications.

The most critical issue to be clear on in all of this is that human safety and fire prevention depends upon solid reliable bonding back to the ground buss of metal objects that could in any way become energized, this includes pipes. This bonding is what triggers the protective devices. Please note that metal piping, though it would seem to many to provide this ground bonding path, is NOT an approved or reliable ground bond. Remember, SAFETY is the critical issue, and should not be compromised by taking a short-cut that falls short of RELIABLE for the sake of convenience or cost savings.

My contribution to safety for human life.

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#57
In reply to #56

Re: Connecting Ground wire to Copper water pipe

07/27/2008 2:52 PM

The best spoken, most comprehensive, more adroit answer so far. GA's to you.

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