When would I need a Water Meter Grounding Rod?
I rent a house that was built in 1948 in Toledo, Oh. My water meter is located in the basement at the front of the house. I had an inspector come in yesterday and he said that I needed a grounding rod for my water meter. There is a ground wire that is connected from the outside pipe to the house pipe over the meter, but it was cut. I do not know by whom. I have never paid attention to it. There are no wires running above the meter anywhere nor are there any coming from the meter other then this wire that was cut. I used to have the old screw in fuses and recently had a fuse box put in. Is this cut wire the old grounding wire? Do I need a grounding rod now that I have a fuse box? In the 13 years I have lived here no one has ever said anything about needing a grounding rod for my meter. If anyone could please help on this I would really appreciate it. If you need more information, please just let me know. Thanks!
Re: When would I need a Water Meter Grounding Rod?
When your home was wired, it was typical to connect the ground wire from the electrical panel to the nearest water pipe. Since the incoming water pipe runs underground, it was expected that it would be a sufficient ground. Because a water meter typically has insulating bushings, it was necessary to provide a jumper around the water meter. Separate ground rods were rarely installed back then.
I'm guessing that the wire was cut to allow the replacement of the meter. The person replacing the meter should have replaced the ground wire, too, to maintain continuity.
Fast forward to today: a large percentage of plumbing is plastic pipe. Plastic just plain doesn't conduct electricity. So nowadays the code specifies that the primary ground has to be TWO ground rods 6 feet apart, connected to the main electrical panel. Any metal piping in the house (water, gas, oil, etc.) is to be grounded by running a wire back to the main electrical panel. Where the pipe runs underground isn't considered a reliable grounding method anymore.
I don't think you don't need a ground rod for the water meter. You need a ground rod -- two, actually, eight feet long and six feet apart -- for your main electrical panel. And the jumper across the water meter needs to be repaired.
If you have exceptionally rocky soil that prevents driving a ground rod, the code allows the ground rods to be buried horizontally in permanently moist soil, with at least 6' separation between them. The top of the ground rod, if driven in, needs to be exposed for the electrical inspection; after the inspector signs off it may be buried. If horizontal, the entire ground rod must be exposed for inspection.