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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Default Water pipes bonded to grounding rod

    I'm renovating my kitchen, which is next to the water heater and service panel. I came across a bare 6 AWG bonding connector in the ceiling connecting the hot metal water pipe from the water heater to the grounding rod outside. This seems a bit odd.

    If this is to comply with 250.104(A), why not just run it to the service panel right next to the heater instead of to the rod on the other side of the house? And shouldn't this be bonded to the cold water pipe as well?

    If the water pipes are being used as a GE per 250.52(A)(1), why is this connecting to the hot water feed from the heater? This is also greater than 5 ft. from the point of entrance.

    House was built in 1982, but I can't find the NEC that far back.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2009
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    Default Re: Water pipes bonded to grounding rod

    Howdy i would bond it to the cold water pipes & add a jumper bond wire at the water meter. since the service panel is so close i would run the wire from it to the main water supply line be sure to install jumper at the service meter. The cold water supply is the best ground as it is laid into the ground- hot water pipe ground first has to rout the charge to the cold water pipes to the ground - a longer path.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    693

    Default Re: Water pipes bonded to grounding rod

    Where is the main disconnect for the service? Is the neutral bonded to ground at that location? If so how? What grounding electrode conductors leave that location and where do they go? What are they connected to and how are they connected?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Water pipes bonded to grounding rod

    Howdy the main disconnect is usually the main circuit breaker in you electric service panel. The chance for death is very great when a novice is working in the panel. I caution you to not do this add items in your panel because of chance of shock- big kill ya right on the spot shock. i suggest you have an electrician out to run any additional ground wire as you will have to attach it into the panel to the ground an/or neutral buss and wish not to have you electrocute your self in the process. This is assuming your service is an electrical panel with circuit breakers and that you do not have any remote sub panels that you could mistake for the main panel.
    The ground wires are ran to the neutral and or ground buss in the panel there can be several ground wires or just one usually #6 bare solid wire. if you know where you water meter is look and see if a copper wire is clamped to it as that is a grounding wire and if so is the wire clamped to the pipe on both sides of the meter so you have the best grounding. But seriously getting into a energized panel is for someone with knowledge and experience so heed my alert.....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    5

    Default Re: Water pipes bonded to grounding rod

    @Timothy: Bonding it to the cold water pipe is what I would have expected. The water heater was replaced, and I'm wondering if they just didn't reattach the bond correctly. The water meter is buried in a panel out by the curb, so the pipes there aren't easily accessible.

    @NEC: The main disconnect is outside of the house. I don't feel comfortable opening that box up since there's no way to cut its feed without calling the power company. The neutral in the service panel, however, is bonded to the ground bus (the service panel was recently replaced by a licensed electrician). There is a GEC from the main disconnect panel to the grounding rod below it. IIRC, it is attached to the rod with a screw-type clamp.

    So, to summarize, there are two GECs:

    1. Hot water pipe -> #6 GEC -> Grounding rod
    2. Ground bus bar -> Service feed ground -> Main disconnect outside -> #6 GEC -> Grounding rod

    The gas pipe, CATV coax, and NID are also bonded to the grounding rod.

    @Timothy: This house has a separate main disconnect in addition to the main breaker in the service panel. I'm pretty comfortable working in the service panel since I can flip the outside main disconnect to cut all power to it. There is a single service panel in this house.

    It sounds like what I should do is attach that #6 GEC to the cold water pipe before the water heater instead and bond it to the hot water pipe from the heater. All this is further than 5 ft. from the water's service entrance (water heater is on one side of the garage, entrance is on the other side). The pipe is exposed all around, though, so it's easy to confirm there is no PVC in between, which I believe is the main reason for the 5 ft. rule.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    693

    Default Re: Water pipes bonded to grounding rod

    All of the bonding and grounding needs to happen at the main disconnect, at one point, to all available "grounds" be it a ground rod or metal water piping.

    From what you have described all of the grounds need to be isolated from the neutrals in the panel with the breakers.

    A bonding jumper between hot and cold metal water piping at the water heater is fine.

    The grounding/bonding needs to happen between the main disconnect bonding point to a point 5' from the water pipe entrance if the water pipe is metal.
    Last edited by NEC; 11-07-2009 at 02:18 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
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    645

    Default Re: Water pipes bonded to grounding rod

    Quote Originally Posted by silentsound View Post
    @Timothy: Bonding it to the cold water pipe is what I would have expected. The water heater was replaced, and I'm wondering if they just didn't reattach the bond correctly. The water meter is buried in a panel out by the curb, so the pipes there aren't easily accessible.

    @NEC: The main disconnect is outside of the house. I don't feel comfortable opening that box up since there's no way to cut its feed without calling the power company. The neutral in the service panel, however, is bonded to the ground bus (the service panel was recently replaced by a licensed electrician). There is a GEC from the main disconnect panel to the grounding rod below it. IIRC, it is attached to the rod with a screw-type clamp.

    So, to summarize, there are two GECs:

    1. Hot water pipe -> #6 GEC -> Grounding rod
    2. Ground bus bar -> Service feed ground -> Main disconnect outside -> #6 GEC -> Grounding rod

    The gas pipe, CATV coax, and NID are also bonded to the grounding rod.

    @Timothy: This house has a separate main disconnect in addition to the main breaker in the service panel. I'm pretty comfortable working in the service panel since I can flip the outside main disconnect to cut all power to it. There is a single service panel in this house.

    It sounds like what I should do is attach that #6 GEC to the cold water pipe before the water heater instead and bond it to the hot water pipe from the heater. All this is further than 5 ft. from the water's service entrance (water heater is on one side of the garage, entrance is on the other side). The pipe is exposed all around, though, so it's easy to confirm there is no PVC in between, which I believe is the main reason for the 5 ft. rule.
    According to NEC 250.52{B** Metal underground gas piping or aluminum electrodes are not permitted as grounding electrodes.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    1,387

    Default Re: Water pipes bonded to grounding rod

    Howdy one last time. Some locals do not allow bonding to gas lines so opsee i should of suggested you check with the local electrical inspector....
    Is the reason for the bonding so close to water main line entrance that a short will run to ground in a millisecond if bonded within 5 foot of entrance verses running threw allot of plumbing to ground otherwise?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    jersey
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Water pipes bonded to grounding rod

    The requirements for ss gas lines are a bit confusing and I think there will be some changes to it in the next cycle, and this isnt something I am very familiar with so..

    Is it required to be bonded to the GEC loop or only required to bond between the ss gas line and the appliances it serves? (I wonder what the manufacturer says)

    I was under the impression that we are NOT supposed to bond it to the GEC because that would in effect make it an intrinsic part of the GEC loop. (sees likea bad idea to me, the possability of a fault current on a gas line?) However eliminating a difference in voltage potential between he gas line and appliance would prevent any possable arc.

    I guess I am looking for clarification on wether it is to be grounded or bonded.

    Are we getting books out again?

    OP, if the nuetral is bonded to the gec in the main disco outside (as it should be) then be certain the grounds and nuetrals are seperated in the sub panel inside. Use 2 rods 6 foot apart, outside and run the waterpipe bond to a point as close to that 5' requirment as you can, then jump out anything that could create a differnce in potential, such as hw heater, water meter (even if it is outside) any sections of pvc pipe or fittings, water softener, and I would even go as far as jumping the hot and cold and a secondary point such as under a sink or behind the washer (while this may possably reduce any likelyhood of any difference in potential the real reason to do it is to show an improvement over existing), while this wont exactly meet todays minimum requirement it should be acceptable as an improvement to what is existing. IMO
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Water pipes bonded to grounding rod

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy Miller View Post
    Howdy one last time. Some locals do not allow bonding to gas lines so opsee i should of suggested you check with the local electrical inspector....
    Is the reason for the bonding so close to water main line entrance that a short will run to ground in a millisecond if bonded within 5 foot of entrance verses running threw allot of plumbing to ground otherwise?
    Nice one about the millisecond !!!!
    The reason the bonding must be so close to the main line entrance is keeping Joe Handyman honest. Say the water main is broken in an accident, Joe H runs in with PEX and Sharkbites to the rescue. Well the water problem is quickly fixed, but the water main grounding is lost in the process.

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