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Old 03-30-2010, 03:45 PM   #1
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Default Water Pipe Ground

I have wondered for a while why a person would invite trouble where there is none. By NEC regs. if you have a metal water pipe system that extends at least ten feet into the soil, it must be incorporated into the grounding system. Do any of you buy into that, totally? Other than being THE code, have you ever wondered why it has to be that way? It is touted as a protection for lightning strikes and the like. I believe it invites other things to occur, things that possibly would have had people call an electrician to fix. I'm just asking...
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:53 PM   #2
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[quote=RIVETER;209850]I have wondered for a while why a person would invite trouble where there is none. By NEC regs. if you have a metal water pipe system that extends at least ten feet into the soil, it must be incorporated into the grounding system. Do any of you buy into that, totally? Other than being THE code, have you ever wondered why it has to be that way? It is touted as a protection for lightning strikes and the like. I believe it invites other things to occur, ...]

[/quote things that possibly would have had people call an electrician to fix. I'm just asking

Like what? I may be confused again but if the water pipe has 10 feet in contact with the earth and is part of the grounding system it DOES help by EARTHING the strike
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:58 PM   #3
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JWJRW, I have reasons of my own but am asking others what their thoughts are. What you are saying is correct but the problems I am talking about are in regards to possible loose neutrals. I believe I know some...I'm hoping to learn more as I listen.
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Old 03-30-2010, 04:08 PM   #4
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So you are refering to losing a neutral and voltage returning on the ground as a result of that loose neutral? Even without a water pipe ground that could happen so it would be easier for me to give my opinion if I knew exactly what "problems" you are talking about
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Old 03-30-2010, 04:16 PM   #5
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So you are refering to losing a neutral and voltage returning on the ground as a result of that loose neutral? Even without a water pipe ground that could happen so it would be easier for me to give my opinion if I knew exactly what "problems" you are talking about
Almost every time I get on this forum I learn something. I am not a residential electrician and most of these guys could run circles around me as far as that is concerned. I am looking for opinions about what I have asked. I don't necessarily know the entire answer. Maybe one of the Inspectors on the forum could jump in. I DO think it could involve somewhat of a safety issue.
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Old 03-30-2010, 04:19 PM   #6
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Old 03-30-2010, 04:30 PM   #7
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Almost every time I get on this forum I learn something. I am not a residential electrician and most of these guys could run circles around me as far as that is concerned. I am looking for opinions about what I have asked. I don't necessarily know the entire answer. Maybe one of the Inspectors on the forum could jump in. I DO think it could involve somewhat of a safety issue.

Ok please dont take offense but just what are you asking? I get the part about the waterpipe ground but don't see how having one creates a safety issue with a loose neutral anymore than without one. I do know when you loose a neutral you can get 110v or more on your grounds which could get on the waterpipes and if not bonded on a metal system cause a shock but I only remember hearing of a few cases over the years.
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Old 03-30-2010, 05:15 PM   #8
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To bring the "potential" between the metallic parts to zero. Safety issue....... the purpose of the ground is to minimize the amount of current that goes thru the person on its way to earth. The grounding system should have less resistance, therefore carrying more amperage.
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Old 03-30-2010, 05:34 PM   #9
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I can see where if there was a metal water pipe system and if a neutral was lost, there would be a possibility that the problem would be masked by the connection to the neighbors panel. Had a neutral go bad last summer in one of the apartment buildings I work on and it might have been missed had the water pipe connection been tight. It was loose in the neutral bar.
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Old 03-30-2010, 05:36 PM   #10
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I can see where if there was a metal water pipe system and if a neutral was lost, there would be a possibility that the problem would be masked by the connection to the neighbors panel. Had a neutral go bad last summer in one of the apartment buildings I work on and it might have been missed had the water pipe connection been tight. It was loose in the neutral bar.

Ground electrodes are not intended to carry current.
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:27 PM   #11
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True, but they might in this case. I don't know how well.
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:34 PM   #12
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Ok please dont take offense but just what are you asking? I get the part about the waterpipe ground but don't see how having one creates a safety issue with a loose neutral anymore than without one. I do know when you loose a neutral you can get 110v or more on your grounds which could get on the waterpipes and if not bonded on a metal system cause a shock but I only remember hearing of a few cases over the years.

....,,,,,///
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:39 PM   #13
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Ok please dont take offense but just what are you asking? I get the part about the waterpipe ground but don't see how having one creates a safety issue with a loose neutral anymore than without one. I do know when you loose a neutral you can get 110v or more on your grounds which could get on the waterpipes and if not bonded on a metal system cause a shock but I only remember hearing of a few cases over the years.
No offense taken. This is something that I think is an interesting part of our trade that many may take for granted. If you want me to ask an exact question...here goes. Storms take place on the outside of your house; In the event of an lightning strike, let's hope that it targets your service mast. We know that we want it dissipated as quickly as possible to earth ground. If that does happen why would we invite a major portion of that strike into the house? To me it is up for discussion. Given that a lightning strike is a lot rarer phenomenon than a LOOSE neutral, which happens, a lot, why are we giving a stray current which creates a stray voltage access to a major portion of our house when there is no need to do so? All of the redundancies of grounding and then bonding to the neutral seem as if they could MASK a problem and delaying it to be discovered. I think that the waterpipe ground was taken as law because it used to be all they could think of. Sorry if this is too long...but there is more.
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:47 PM   #14
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Ground electrodes are not intended to carry current.
Are you saying that they don't carry the current of a STRIKE? Voltage doesn't travel through a conductor.
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:48 PM   #15
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Are you saying that they don't carry the current of a STRIKE. Voltage doesn't travel through a conductor.

Not at all. They are not designed to carry current under normal circumstances.
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:49 PM   #16
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Not at all. They are not designed to carry current under normal circumstances.
I knew you knew that. Thanks.
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:51 PM   #17
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....,,,,,///

Ok please dont take offense but just what are you asking?
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Old 03-30-2010, 07:54 PM   #18
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Ok please dont take offense but just what are you asking?
I get it. It's so unusual that we have someone on the forum who tries to be polite that we all should poke fun. Did I get it?

How do you get that stuff to be red?

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Old 03-30-2010, 07:55 PM   #19
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In my opinion, the grounding is a relic of the days when virtually all services were masts and it allowed the ionization in the air to "bleed" to the ground. This helps reduce the buildup of charges until they "arc" as lightning.

In more modern systems, grounding tries to ensure the local area where people are is at the same potential as the local ground since it is the difference of potentials that cause shocks.

I think a copper water pipe makes an excellent grounding electrode, but I think ground rods do as well. Together, I don't see how it can get much better than that.
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Old 03-30-2010, 08:02 PM   #20
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In my opinion, the grounding is a relic of the days when virtually all services were masts and it allowed the ionization in the air to "bleed" to the ground. This helps reduce the buildup of charges until they "arc" as lightning.

In more modern systems, grounding tries to ensure the local area where people are is at the same potential as the local ground since it is the difference of potentials that cause shocks.

I think a copper water pipe makes an excellent grounding electrode, but I think ground rods do as well. Together, I don't see how it can get much better than that.
I agree with you about a water pipe system being a good electrode. However, I am asking if bringing the VOLTAGE inside makes a lot of sense considering all of the other problems that can occur due to loose neutrals. Why not Ground Properly outside?
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