Grounding

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My incoming water service is PVC, which connects to copper pipes which service the house. Is it necessary to bond the copper piping to my ground rod electrodes?
TIA. Joe Michel
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I need to upgrade my home electricity - I have a home built in 1946. I don't have any grounded outlets, and most all are only 2 prong.
What are my options? Do I have to put a ground rod in (sounds hard)?
I'd like to have all 3 prong grounded outlets.
-c
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Your electrical system has to be grounded already. If it isn't, you have worse problems than not having grounded outlets.
Why do you want a ground? Have you checked to see if a ground is available at the outlet, perhaps via grounded conduit?
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If the house was built in 1946, there is a possibility that the service was not grounded..
The house that I am renting was built during that time, and did not have a grounded service until the service entrance was replaced last year when rain gutters were added following a roof replacement.
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First decide what your objective is. For example, wall receptacles are grounded firstmost for human safety. That safety grounding also accomplishes other lesser functions. But other, less expensive methods can provide same human safety. Earthing the electric panel is both for human safety AND for transistor safety. This being different from grounding of wall receptacles. And there is no alternative to earthing.
Converting all wall receptacles to 3 wire is a massive undertaking - typically rewiring the house. Earthing the breaker box is a minor job that should be installed everywhere. Those are two different types of grounding. Both are part of a human safety system. And both also have different functions. First define your strategic objectives. Then your question can be better answered. Why are you grounding? What problems, current and future, do you want to solve?
It is probably a good idea to consider three wire outlets in the kitchen since 1946 kitchen wire is, by today's standards, undersized. But again, first you must define the problem to be solved.
nobertos wrote:

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w_tom wrote:

And for "person safety", as a minimum you should replace the kitchen outlets with GFCI ones asap, labeled as "Unconnected Ground" if as you say you have no grounds available in their boxes. That'll prevent someone from getting electrocuted by an appliance with an insulation fault if they touch it and a water faucet at the same time. (DON'T use a GFCI on the refrigerator outlet.)

You mean you already have *some* 3 prong outlets with no ground connected to them? If you do, you really should label them as "Unconnected Ground".

As someone else mentioned, "BX" armored cable was being used in homes back then, and if your home is wired with it, you *may* be able to distribute grounds to all your outlets through the steel armor of that cable, but a check with your local electrical inspector would be in order before doing that.

Jeff
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Get some quotes, get the money, and let an electrician do the work.
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How many 3 prong appliances do you have ?
Seriously !
You may not need 3-prong outlets except in the kitchen ( fridge ) and the laundry room ( washer/dryer )
Get 2-prong polarized outlets for the other room, and be sure they're wired with "wide blade" = neutral
<rj>
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It will run about $2-3K to get your panel upgraded to 100amp service, which will include a new ground rod (if needed), as well as a ground connection where the water service comes in (req by code).
That is best done by a pro, as permits and such may be required, not to mention just being a good idea.
Then you can run as needed new circuits. For example, you probably don't need grounded outlets in the living room for lamps, since they have 2 prong plugs. You should run nice new 3 prong grounded circuits where you want to plug in a/v equipment and computers.
Get an electrician in for a quote on the service panel upgrade, and ask a lot of questions.
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I believe my panel has already been upgraded to 100amps. I was under the impression that i need to 'ground' *every* outlet in my house. Probably by installing a ground rod that attaches to the panel, and then a ground wire from the panel out to an outlet.
Am i high?
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That is not necessary. Look at the appliances you're plugging into those outlets: the vast majority of them have two-prong plugs and thus do not need a grounded outlet.

For the areas where you need grounded outlets, you can install ground fault circuit interrupters. Google-search this newsgroup; it's been discussed repeatedly here.
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If your panel is properly installed, it will already have a connection to ground, usually where the water supply (metal pipe) comes into the house. Look for a thin piece of BX that has only one wire in it, it will run over to the piping, where it is clamped on. This is the code's requirement for grounding.
The ground on the outlets needs to be connected to the panel metal box, this has been done in the past by the metal covering of the wire (BX) or the metal pipe (conduit) the wires are run in, and the metal outlet box.
Unless you are plugging in appliances with 3 conductor cords, you don't "need" a 3 prong outlet.
You only need to drive a ground rod if the wires in you house come in more than like 10 ft away from where the panel is. And all of these need to be bonded (connected) together with any other ground connection like at the water service.
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As noted previously, earth ground and safety ground are two different grounds required by the National Electrical Code (NEC). A connection to water pipe is no longer sufficient to earth an AC electric system. That connection to water pipe remains to remove elecricity from water pipes. Never make a connection to water pipes to dump electricity into those pipes. This being so important for human safety especially in bath, shower, and sinks.
Current code calls for a dedicated earthing connection. To exceed code requirements, that earthing connection must be as short as possible, no sharp bends, no splices, not bundled with other non-earthing wires, and the ground must be shared by all incoming utilities. That means each the CATV wire must drop down to connect to that single point ground before rising back up to enter the building. This paragraph only discussing earth ground.
Volts500 has provided a good summary of household grounding for human safety, in the newsgroup alt.home.repair entitled "Grounding Rod Info" on 12 July 2003 at http://tinyurl.com/hkjq
A recent discussion in the newsgroup alt.home.repair was "Easiest way to ground a computer" from 5 May thru 10 May 2005.
The only place I would most want three wire outlets is in the kitchen. Especially a dedicated outlet to the refrigerator that cannot be on a GFCI, must be on its own circuit, and that must have a three prong outlet. Kitchen counter tops and things like the garbage disposal, electric stove and oven, etc all do need that third wire safety ground. Elsewhere in kitchens, bathrooms, outside outlets etc can be GFCIed. Also required now is that all bedroom outlets be AFGIed. Same should be installed on any interior receptacle that lights a 'live' Christmas tree. These provide safety not made available with three prong outlets. This paragraph about making power wall receptacles for human safety.
If running interconnected electronic appliances, then either all should run on safety grounded three prong outlets OR all must connect to a power strip so that equipment grounds share a single point connection. For example, computer, its external modem, and its printer should somehow share a common equipment ground. This paragraph more about equipment grounding for transistor safety.
nobertos wrote:

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On Wed, 25 May 2005 17:49:55 -0400, in alt.home.repair RE: Re:

Just curious.
It was sufficient for many years. Now it's not sufficient. What changed? Is the electricity we use different?
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wrote:

for one thing, plastic pipes are now used a lot more than in the past.
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On Wed, 25 May 2005 16:38:32 -0700, in alt.home.repair RE: Re:
wrote:

Ok, that make good sense to me. Thanks for the explanation.
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The electricity isn't different, but the water pipe may be..
I did a panel replacment/upgrade in my house a couple of years ago and asked the inspector. He said a lot of water systems aren't using copper pipe as much. The piece of copper coming into your house may be only be a few feet long before it's connected to plastic.
Mike O.
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Mike O'Donnell wrote:

And, if the city pipes are still metal, they may be using an "impressed current" cathodic protection system on them and installed an electrically insulating pipe coupling where their pipe ends and yours begins, to avoid "shorting out" the impressed voltage on their pipes to your electrical system's ground. That was a pretty common technique with gas pipes in some areas too.
Some info on impressed current protection is found in:
http://www.usace.army.mil/inet/usace-docs/armytm/tm5-692-2/chap31VOL-2.pdf
Jeff
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First thing that changed is plastic pipe. A plumber need not worry about electricity nor risk electrocution when working on pipes while standing in water. Second, other functions of the earthing system (beyond the NEC's primary purpose) demand an earthing ground connection be short. Connections to water pipes often are well beyond 10 feet. If the code ever fully addresses transistor safety, then earthing requirements would be further enhanced - significantly. Easily accomplished if installed when a house is first constructed. We still don't ground as if the transistor exists.
These solutions (and solutions for the future) can only be accomplished using a dedicated ground. A ground that a plumber will not compromise.
Ground problems created by plastic pipe are not just limited to the earthing ground. Some jurisdictions now require a 6 AWG safety ground wire connected directly from bathtub to breaker box IF the bathtub is metallic. Again, a problem created by plastic pipes and by plumbers who need not know anything about electricity.
Vic Dura wrote:

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My incoming water service is PVC, which connects to copper pipes which service the house. Is it necessary to bond the copper piping to my ground rod electrodes?
TIA. Joe Michel
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