I think I have a problem. I was doing some stuff in my basement and I
noticed that the
ground wire from the service panel was strapped to a copper cold water
pipe. The problem is
that the copper pipe with the ground then is then attached to a CPVC
pipe so the copper just ends.
Is it the copper pipe itself that carries the grounding or is it the
water inside the pipe that does it. I have this bad feeling that my
service panel is not grounded. What do you think?
To take it a step further, what method can I use to test the service
panel to see if it is, in fact grounded?
Thank you in advance.
Open your main service panel and look for large, possibly bare wires
attached to the neutral/ground buss, that are not connected to any cable and
leave the panel as individual conductors. If they have insulation on them,
it should be marked with green tape. Depending upon the size of your
service, they could be #8,6, or 4, or larger for larger than 200 amp
services. If you follow these wires, one should go to a ground rod(s) and
the other clamped to the cold water pipe
Likely the box has a independent ground to ground wires outside. There
should also be a ground coming from the service and one going to any metal
water pipes you have. Relying on water pipes to provide ground is no longer
Older homes that originally had fuse boxes were routinely "grounded" with
the water pipe. The ground wire went to where the water pipe entered the
house. That would preserve the ground in cases where plastic pipe was
installed inside the home. Problem is that if the water utility decides to
"upgrade" their service the odds are that they will go to PLASTIC mains (up
They are doing that in the more built up areas "around here." The "drops"
(from the street line to the house) seem to be copper. I suspect that was
done mainly to not have to pay the customer to put in ground rods.
But everything seems to be plastic whenever possible today. The low
pressure gas lines (up to 8" by my directly observation) are plastic. The
drops are plastic. They protect the plastic above ground with a metal
sleeve when it enters the meter.
Grounding can be a serious concern. We have an unusual situation with a
400' run from our house to the transformer but we "lost" the neutral once.
If the neutral to the transformer is intact, the ground rods or water pipe
just don't make any difference. If the neutral is broken it's not obvious
that a two un-tested ground rods could keep you from getting a shock.
Here in Florida, there are some restrictions as to using bare copper
that comes in contact with sandy soil -- seems that the salts become
conductive and can lead to accelerated corrosion.
Does anyone have any experience with this?
Really? I thought it was the other way around. What would electrify
the water pipes to
I'll try to follow the larger, bare wires from the buss and see if I
can trace them to a proper ground.
Hopefully they won't go hidden on me.
If your underground water supply pipes were copper, they would indeed be
grounding the electrical system, but in your situation, the system is
grounded by the rods, and bonded to the internal piping to protect you in
the event that an internal pipe contacted something live. If the piping
wasn't bonded to the system, nothing would cause the circuit breaker to trip
if this occurred
Hopefully, nothing. But, there's always the possibility that, say,
you'll drop your electric razor in the sink with the water running,
etc - better to have the juice short to ground through the water pipe
than through you.
Yup, if you have a big bare copper wire going back outside and then
disappearing underground, you're probably OK. If not, you may want to
consider driving some grounding rods.
The pipes coming into the house from the well are indeed black
plastic, not metal.
There is so much goofy stuff going on with this house it could easily
have been changed incorrectly before I bought it.
I'll look for that ground. An ohm meter would be useful here when I
find it to ensure connection.
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