Hot water heater - jumper wire ???????????

A friend of mine in New Jersey got a new furnace and hot water heater.
The installers said code required installing a "jumper wire" between the HOT and COLD water pipes on the heater. It looks like a 2 foot piece of number 6 wire with 2 clamps with teeth on them and goes from HOT to COLD water pipes on top of the heater.
Yes, the house electric system is grounded to the street side of the water meter coming into the house.
Considering people lived for 50+ years in these houses without this jumper, WHY is it needed now ???
I had no answer for my neighbor and the salesman who gave the sales spiel did not have a clear answer and fell back on the "it's code" answer.
WHY is this jumper needed ?
TIA
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Conase wrote:

Rarely enforced, but Code does state that any metallic piping which *may* become energized must be bonded (to ground).
Often, heaters are installed with insulating "dielectric" unions which breaks any grounding path thru the heater.
So, the guys are right and your local inspector may require it.
Jim
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Speedy Jim wrote:

Which, as I may have barfed about on this newsgroup before, makes those dielectric unions totally useless for preventing galvanic corrosion. The tank is grounded per the electrical code, and the plumbing is also grounded, which neatly shorts out the insulating gap in those dielectric unions.
Old misconceptions die hard...Especially among those who don't fully comprehend the details.
Jeff -- Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
"If you can keep smiling when things go wrong, you've thought of someone to place the blame on."

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The reason the jumper is now required is because of the use of plastic pipes and faucets. It used to be that a hot water pipe and a cold water pipe became bonded together from being connected to the same faucet assembly which in the past were always made of brass or some other metal. The bonding jumper is not necessarily required at the hot water heater, but it is usually the most accessible point and the most visible for the inspector to see.
Also, the connection made at the faucet is not considered an electrical code recognized method of bonding regardless of whether it is metal or not.
The code requires that ALL metal piping be bonded together including the gas line and piping from a well in addition to the hot and cold water pipes.
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

HOT
6
pipes on

jumper, WHY

did
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On Wed, 12 Nov 2003 16:56:05 GMT, John Grabowski

For twenty five cents worth of wire, two bucks worth of clamps, and about five minutes the OP can have it done in less time that it takes to read this NG every day.
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number
water
spiel
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com.mado said...

If he already has hot water why did he bother getting a heater for it?
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said...

LOL - Reminds me of a guy in the *rec.photo.equipment.35mm* group who called his own camera a "Cannon". When kidded about it he nastily insisted it was correct because his spell checker passed it. He never replied when someone asked what was stenciled on the camera prism. Wonder what the shipping box for a "hot water heater" says?
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snipped-for-privacy@wfeca.net said...

I guess they could put that term on bundle of copper pipe, or a coffee cup, or...
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On 12 Nov 2003 14:10:25 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com.mado (Conase) wrote:

Because the wire manufacturers paid the inspectors to boost their wire sales.

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