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  1. #1
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    Question Ground to pipes OK?

    I asked this earlier but for some reason it didn't get posted so I'll ask it here since I'm trying to finish up this project... I am updating some of our wiring by running neutrals from the lights to the switches (the new switches require the neutrals). While I am doing this I figure it wouldn't be a bad idea to also run grounds, since the walls are opened up. Last year I ran grounds to several outlets and was told that I could attach them to I think it was the cold water pipes. Can I do that with the switches/lights grounds also, or do I have to go to the main panel?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ground to pipes OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyMilan View Post
    I asked this earlier but for some reason it didn't get posted so I'll ask it here since I'm trying to finish up this project... I am updating some of our wiring by running neutrals from the lights to the switches (the new switches require the neutrals). While I am doing this I figure it wouldn't be a bad idea to also run grounds, since the walls are opened up. Last year I ran grounds to several outlets and was told that I could attach them to I think it was the cold water pipes. Can I do that with the switches/lights grounds also, or do I have to go to the main panel?
    You need to understand the purpose of grounding.

    Grounding provides a safe pathway for electricity that could cause a shock hazard to residents. Equipment grounding provides the grounding path throughout the house. Electricity will seek the easiest path to the earth. Your body is an excellent electrical conductor ---- if you make contact with energized equipment, you’ll become part of the circuit.


    At one time ( years ago ) ground *taps* or connections from the outlet or box to the nearest cold water pipe were allowed.
    However, because so many insulated or plastic devices are being installed in water lines – breaking the ground connection. In order for it to be safe a low resistance direct path to earth is needed which is not assured with ground *taps*.

    It's now required that all grounding wires connect to the grounding buss bar in the main service panel.

    In other words --- the grounding has to be at the main panel which includes those outlets you did last year.
    Last edited by canuk; 04-16-2012 at 02:43 PM.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  3. #3
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    Question Re: Ground to pipes OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by canuk View Post
    in other words --- the grounding has to be at the main panel which includes those outlets you did last year.
    OK THANK YOU canuk!

    I understand about the PVC and plastic water pipes breaking the grounding path. They recommend not using water pipes for antenna grounding rods for the same reason, but what if no such plastic pipes were ever used and you tested the water pipes and they showed a good ground, does the code still require going to the main panel with no exceptions? I'm going to run my wires to the main panel but just for educational purposes I'm wondering why all the big supply stores still sell the grounding connectors for water pipes...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ground to pipes OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyMilan View Post
    OK THANK YOU canuk!

    I understand about the PVC and plastic water pipes breaking the grounding path. They recommend not using water pipes for antenna grounding rods for the same reason, but what if no such plastic pipes were ever used and you tested the water pipes and they showed a good ground, does the code still require going to the main panel with no exceptions?
    You may have good continuity to *ground* but you are required to have a low resistant path at rated amperage.
    A multimeter won't provide the appropriate test.

    I'm going to run my wires to the main panel but just for educational purposes I'm wondering why all the big supply stores still sell the grounding connectors for water pipes...
    In some areas ( like here ) the main bonding to earth for the panel is done at the water line service point ( providing it's copper ) and jumpered around the meter to the house water feed line.

    I believe the NEC also requires ground rods in addition to the above.

    That's why you see those connectors.
    Last edited by canuk; 04-16-2012 at 03:48 PM.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ground to pipes OK?

    To answer your question, the reason that they still sell grounding connectors for water pipes is that the water pipes should be connected to a ground themselves. If a metal water pipe should ever become charged, for example hit by a lightning strike, it needs to be dissipated to ground through a ground rod and not through someone washing their hands or taking a shower.

  6. #6
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    Smile Re: Ground to pipes OK?

    OK THANKS guys, appreciate the explanations! I love learning about this stuff

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ground to pipes OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by keith3267 View Post
    To answer your question, the reason that they still sell grounding connectors for water pipes is that the water pipes should be connected to a ground themselves. If a metal water pipe should ever become charged, for example hit by a lightning strike, it needs to be dissipated to ground through a ground rod and not through someone washing their hands or taking a shower.
    Keith --- you're saying the water lines are bonded to ground rods for lightning protection ? I've never heard of that before.
    Besides we don't have ground rods here --- so all our water lines are potentially dangerous ?
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ground to pipes OK?

    canuk, looks like I was composing my post when you posted yours. In light of your answer at that time, I'm having trouble understanding why you asked me this last question.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ground to pipes OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyMilan View Post
    OK THANK YOU canuk!

    I understand about the PVC and plastic water pipes breaking the grounding path. They recommend not using water pipes for antenna grounding rods for the same reason, but what if no such plastic pipes were ever used and you tested the water pipes and they showed a good ground, does the code still require going to the main panel with no exceptions? I'm going to run my wires to the main panel but just for educational purposes I'm wondering why all the big supply stores still sell the grounding connectors for water pipes...
    MyMilan, IMO the change which no longer permits running a piece of wire to a water pipe (except to the first 5 foot where it enters your house per Art 250.68 (C)(1)) is because more & more buildings are not only being piped w/ PEX but leaks are also being repaired w/ it.

    Since your walls are open and you intend to bring neutrals to your switches (now required)you've got the perfect opportuniy to clean things up and run all new wiring.

    I would suggest #12 romex w/20A arc fault breakers and tamper resistant receptacles.

    And yes, you can still buy all sorts of obsolete components, probably because not all jurisdictions have adopted the 2011 Code or the job won't be inspected but most important not everyone is as concientious as you.

    Good Luck from Columbiana, Alabama
    Maurice Turgeon, http://thesemi-retiredelectrician.com

  10. #10
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    Post Re: Ground to pipes OK?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Semi-Retired Electric View Post
    I would suggest #12 romex w/20A arc fault breakers and tamper resistant receptacles.

    The guy at Home Depot sold me 14/2. Now I'm a little upset that he didn't recommend 12/2. I know 12 is one step up from 14 but how much better is it? Should I gut the 12/2 that I already ran and replace it with 14/2? The load on it is going to be almost non-extistant (around a 10 watt LED lightbulb) so I would think for this application even the 14/2 would be overkill right?

    The arc fault breakers are on my shopping list. I just learned about them a few weeks ago and was sold on them immediately. The TR outlets are already installed

    QUICK QUESTION: Are all arc fault breakers basically the same, or are some better than others?

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