grounding water pipe

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What if the entire home is PVC or PEX, and the service is Plastic as well? It seems this inspector wants it on both. Or did I read into the first post something not there?
Rich
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others) where the Code is quoted or cited. This requirement applies only to *metal* water pipe. If the service lateral, and the entire home, are plumbed in plastic, there is no possibility of the plumbing becoming energized, and thus no need to ground it.

-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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Your local electrical inspector Does NOT know code as well as he would like to think he does, although he is right up to a certain point. NEC Article 250.52 (A) (1) is what he is "alluding" to!! 250-52 Grounding Electrodes (A) Electrodes Permitted For Grounding (and then it lists them by numerical ascension) (1) Metal Underground Water Pipe. A metal underground water pipe in direct contact with the earth for 3.0 m (10 ft) or more (including any metal well casing effectively bonded to the pipe) and electrically continuous (or made electrically continuous by bonding around insulating joints or insulating pipe) to the points of connection of the grounding electrode conductor and the bonding conductors. INTERIOR METAL WATER PIPING LOCATED MORE THAN 1.52 m (5 ft) FROM THE POINT OF ENTRANCE TO THE BUILDING "SHALL NOT" BE USED AS A PART OF THE GROUNDING ELECTRODE SYSTEM OR AS A CONDUCTOR TO INTERCONNECT ELECTRODES THAT ARE PART OF THE GROUNDING ELECTRODE SYSTEM. As you can see, it says in the first part that the water supply into the house CAN be used as an electrode!! The 2nd part is saying if you do use the water pipe as one of the electrodes, you MUST make the connection WITHIN 5 feet of the "point of entrance" of the water pipe coming into the building!! So, as you can see, your local electrical inspector is wrong when he says 6 feet. NEC means 5 feet or LESS!!!!! He needs to get enrolled in a continuing ed program and stay on top of things!! And where I live, many is the electrical inspector that has tried to interprete code his way and I have always "called them" on it. I know the code well enough that I don't argue with them when I know they may be right, BUT they know that when I DO argue with them, they are in deep sh_t!!!!! I make it a habit to make my "grounding electrode connection" on the street side of the "house" shut-off valve and get it as close to the "point of entrance" as I can without "straddling" a fitting!!!!! Hope this helps you. Bruce Leiby
___________________________________________ RBM wrote:

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Greetings,
As it turns out if you have metal water pipe available it "shall be bonded ... to form the grounding electrode system" and "interior metal water piping located more than 1.52 m (5 ft) from the point of entrance to the building shall not be used as a part of the grounding electrode system".
William
Thanks to Tom H for the following =================================250.50 Grounding Electrode System. If available on the premises at each building or structure served, each item in 250.52(A)(1) through (A)(6) shall be bonded together to form the grounding electrode system. Where none of these electrodes are available, one or more of the electrodes specified in 250.52(A)(4) through (A)(7) shall be installed and used. 250.52 Grounding Electrodes. (A) Electrodes Permitted for Grounding. (1) Metal Underground Water Pipe. A metal underground water pipe in direct contact with the earth for 3.0 m (10 ft) or more (including any metal well casing effectively bonded to the pipe) and electrically continuous (or made electrically continuous by bonding around insulating joints or insulating pipe) to the points of connection of the grounding electrode conductor and the bonding conductors. Interior metal water piping located more than 1.52 m (5 ft) from the point of entrance to the building shall not be used as a part of the grounding electrode system or as a conductor to interconnect electrodes that are part of the grounding electrode system.
message wrote:

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Actually, he knows it a lot better than you do!

Note that the Code also says that it canNOT be used as the ONLY electrode.

Right so far... but you missed the part where the Code says that "The interior metal water piping system SHALL BE BONDED..." [my emphasis] to whatever grounding means is used for the electrical system. In other words, if the house has metal water piping, you *must* make the connection, *and* that connection must be within 5 feet etc etc.

The NEC specifically permits local authorities to make interpretations and exceptions. The inspector is well within the Code by permitting 6 feet instead of 5. Perhaps YOU need to "get enrolled in a continuing ed program and stay on top of things" before dispensing advice on subjects you know little about.

You apparently don't know the Code very well at all, or you would realize that the Code *defines* the local inspectors as having authority to interpret what the Code means.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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Greetings,
I think the inspector probably should have said five but said six instead because he made a mistake or was unsure of the distance. I don't believe he was giving me an extra foot to be nice or that local code allows for the extra foot. The real disservice that the inspector did was knowing the code too well to explain it to me in a way that I understand. He was not willing to take the extra second to rethink his "ground the water pipe" wording and to point me to the sections of the code I was in violation of. I am not dense and I want to comply with code. I try very hard to ensure that everything I do is up to code and I don't like having to fight with code to try to determine how to make a building code compliant when it is their job to ensure that buildings are code compliant. How hard would it have been for him to quote me a couple sections of the NEC so that I have a better understanding of the rules so I do not make the mistake again? I know someone is going to probably say "not his job" but it's my tax dollars and I would like to think that fostering a better understanding of the code is his job.
Also, the inspector cannot interpret the code beyond a point. Otherwise he would simply interpret the code to mean that you must pay him $100 cash right this instant. There is a review process -- it is just heavily weighed in their favor.
Just my two cents, William
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I doubt very much that the inspector was unsure of the distance, or made a mistake -- and you have no basis for supposing that the local code doesn't allow for the extra foot. As I pointed out in another post, it's very possible, perhaps likely, that the governing ordinance in your jurisdiction is an older version of the NEC in which the requirement *is* 6 feet.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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Yes, it does, and it has for quite a while.
"Interior metal water piping located more than 5 feet from the point of entrance to the building shall not be used as a conductor to interconnect the [grounding] electrodes and the grounding electrode conductor." [1993 NEC, Article 250-81]

You're missing several key points here.
First, the NEC *defines* the local inspection authority as the authority on what's permitted in that jurisdiction:
"The authority having jurisdiction for enforcement of the Code will have the responsibility for making interpretations of the rules... " [Article 90-4]
Note also the Code's definition of the word "approved" as used in the Code: "Acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction."
Second, the Code is *voluntary*. It has no force of law until a jurisdiction adopts it as the governing electrical code within that jurisdiction, and when they do so they are free to enact by law whatever exceptions or extensions to it that they please. Your *local* code may very well be considerably more restrictive than the NEC. If you have questions about interpretation of the Code, refer to the portion of Article 90-4 quoted above.
Third, the inspector knows the Code much better than you do, particularly with respect to what exceptions or extensions may be in force in his jurisdiction. You have *no* idea whether he's "making up code as he goes along."
Fourth, you don't want to piss him off by suggesting that that's what he's doing, or he may decide to go *looking* for Code violations that need to be corrected. He won't have to make any of those up, I guarantee it. I have yet to see *any* house that doesn't have some violations in it *somewhere*. If the inspector starts looking for them, he *will* find them. And you'll have to fix them.
Fifth, the Code says "within 5 feet." The inspector is allowing "within 6 feet". Quit complaining already.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Water pipe is *never* permitted to be the *only* grounding means.
"A metal underground water pipe shall be supplemented by an additional electrode of a type specified in Section 250-81 or in Section 250-83." [Article 250-81(a)]
Since it's quite clear that you are not familiar with the Code, may I respectfully suggest that you stop arguing with your electrical inspector?
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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1) the electrical system is grounded to the water pipes, which appears not to be the case 2) the ground connection between the electrical system and the utility and the grounding rod are both open (as they are many times better path to ground than a plumber could possibly be)
This is pretty silly, but then that doesn't mean you are wrong.
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toller wrote:

responded to four different electrical injuries caused by bad grounding. Two of those were working codes and one of those didn't make it. I am only one EMT out of the thousands that serve in the nation so I cannot believe that such occurrences are as rare as some of you seem to think.
The impedance of two eight foot ground rods driven only the requisite six feet apart is often over fifty ohms. The impedance of the underground metal water piping is usually less than ten ohms because it is part of a network of underground piping that interconnects the neutrals of all the electrical services in the area. There are still many water utilities that do not permit plastic piping for service laterals. It is your electrical inspectors job to know if yours is one of them.
If you loose the low impedance underground metal water piping grounding electrode a plumber or water meter mechanic kneeling on a concrete basement floor may well have a low enough impedance to suffer an injurious or fatal shock.
It only takes thirty volts to overcome the skin resistance of a healthy adult and it only takes ten milliamperes to cause a fatal cardiac dysrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation. If the neutral service conductor does fail 120 volts is imposed upon the grounding electrode system. The resultant current flow divides in proportion to the impedance of the electrodes that make up the grounding electrode system. If the plumbing pipe connection has been broken by alterations or repair a human in contact with any part of the grounding system could well find themselves in deadly danger. -- Tom H
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Hi Tom,
I just wanted you to know that I found out that you were correct concerning the need for a ground rod in a separate building. I recently attended some continuing ed. classes to maintain my license and both instructors brought that issue up in class without prompting from me. It turns out that it is a common misconception even among professionals that the equipment grounding conductor alone will satisfy the code requirements.
As for William Deans; If he had spent half as much time installing that grounding conductor on the water pipe where the inspector told him to instead of wasting time trying to find an excuse not to, he would have a nice, safe, code compliant grounding electrode system. I wonder if the inspector told him to bond the gas pipe also?
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

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John Grabowski wrote:

Did you notice that we are now required to use the reinforcing steel whenever it is present because the words "when available" have been removed from the code language. Under the 2005 code we must connect to the rebar so the GC had better get us out to the job before the concrete is poured.
As to this thread all we can do is provide the best information available to us. That is were our responsibility ends. I do understand the frustration of a home owner who is told to do it that way because I said so. Inspectors should be trained in communication as well as in just the codes that they are to enforce. Taking the time to explain why it should be done a particular way will educate the home owner and improve over all electric safety. -- Tom
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Yeah the rebar connection came up in class. The instructor said that if we are lucky to get there in time to bond to it that would be great. If not, he said that they will probably start making it the responsibility of the general contractor or the masonry contractor to install the bonding wire. The plumbing contractors in this state are now required to install the hot/cold bonding jumper when they replace a water heater.
I've talked to several inspectors about the homeowner do-it-yourself issue. Basically they don't like it because it is more work for them and they always find more problems or shortcomings then they do with an experienced contractor. One inspector told me that he is not here to instruct homeowners on how to do a good job. Here in NJ not all inspectors are directly employed by the city or town. We have third party agencies that have contracts with towns to inspect electrical jobs being done in their jurisdiction. Those private agency guys just want to get in and inspect and get out. If they fail the job, their only legal requirement is to cite the code article that justifies the failure.
I personally believe that if someone is willing to take on project without prior experience, he or she should spend a lot of time studying up on it before the project begins. It seems as though some people don't ask questions until they have begun the work.
John G.
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The remedy I favor is to have the concrete guys stub up a piece of corrosion resistant coated rebar at the location of the planned service equipment. I don't want the concrete guys or the reinforcement assemblers making any connection that I will then become responsible for so they can just stub up a piece of rod and leave it for me to do the rest. A stubbed up piece of half inch or larger rebar is far more resistant to physical damage during construction then a grounding electrode conductor of any gage that would have to survive the construction process for months until the electricians can get on the job and make the connection. -- Tom H
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That is ideal, but in many cases an electrical contractor has not been hired at that stage of construction. In residential construction here rebar is not always used in the footings. Currently NJ has not yet adopted the 2005 NEC and if and when they do some requirements may get omitted. For instance, arc fault circuit interrupters are not required here.
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the building inspectors require a stub up for those footers that have reinforcing steel then the scheduling of the electrician will be a much smaller problem.
I solute those jurisdictions who realized that the installation of AFCIs in new homes is a solution in search of a problem. On the other hand I do try to install them on every heavy up that involves older BX with no bonding strip or knob and tube wiring.
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Article 250.52(A)(1) of the 2005 NEC: ..... "Interior metal water piping located more than 1.52 m (5 ft) from the point of entrance to the building shall not be used as a part of the grounding electrode system or as a conductor to interconnect electrodes that are part of the grounding electrode system."
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Greetings,
This still doesn't create a requirement for me to ground the circuit breaker to within a specific number of feet of where the water pipe enters the building does it? It is only 100 amps service and there is already a grounding rod with < 25 ohms impedance.
Thanks, William
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Yes, it does. You can't meet the requirements of the Code by grounding to water pipe located 40 feet from the point of entrance to the building because the portion of the pipe between 5 feet and 40 feet is SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITED from being used as a conductor for that purpose. That's exactly what the article quoted below means.

-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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the first 5 feet. What does that have to do with the inspector's requirement that the pipe be connected to a ground within the first 6 feet.
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