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Thread: Grounding to Copper water line

  1. #1

    Grounding to Copper water line

    I have a friend that has experienced water leaks in the copper water line coming into his condo. The plumber said that connecting the electrical ground to the copper water line is causing many pipes to leak. He did not mention the mechanism that he claims is causing the problem. Has anyone heard of this being a problem, particularly since the code requires a ground to the copper water line within 6 feet of the exit frm the building? Is there a valid concern for water leaks, and if so, what could be causing the problem? :

  2. #2
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    Is a possable open neutral feeder and his unit is using the water pipe.Have friend contact his poco and a electrician.This could be a major hazard

  3. #3
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    I don't believe it nor have I ever seen this before. Get another plumber willing to take responsibility for his own leaks.
    It would be like me saying, when the cold water is flowing You use more electricity.
    makes the same sense.. 8)

  4. #4
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    I would agree. Its not the ground is not the problem. I know here in Montgomery Co MD they put a chemical in the water system that later proved to eat away at copper. The result is pin hole leaks all ove rthe place, not in joints but in the wall of the pipe. I wouldnt believe it if I didnt see it my self. Its an epidemic around here. People fix it by putting the al foil tap on the holes since they are so small.

  5. #5
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    DC currents corrode, displace metal, cause leaks, etc., not AC currents. If you think about it, in DC, electrons flow in one direction causing the effects we are talking about. In AC, electrons flow in each direction equally, so there is no corrosion. Whatever is moved in one direction is quickly put back.

    Jim T

  6. #6
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    Right. Electroplating, and other galvanic effects, use (or produce) D.C.
    Code references based on 2005 NEC
    Larry B. Fine
    Master Electrician
    Electrical Contractor
    Richmond, VA

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    Jim,
    DC currents corrode, displace metal, cause leaks, etc., not AC currents. If you think about it, in DC, electrons flow in one direction causing the effects we are talking about. In AC, electrons flow in each direction equally, so there is no corrosion. Whatever is moved in one direction is quickly put back.
    While most of the stuff I have read on this issue says that there is no problems with grounding to water lines, I have read some documents that say that some naturally occurring metal oxides create a diode and this can result in DC current flow.
    Don
    Don, Illinois
    "It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority." B Franklin

  8. #8
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    I have a report from the American Water Works Association on Corrosion from Electrical Grounding to Water Pipes. Very little corrosion is caused by AC, but almost all from DC, due to hair dryers, drills, etc. The DC can flow away or toward the pipe. If away it will cause loss of metal.If the water line is metallic to the water maint, then a short section of NM pipe past the ten foot section (250.52A 1) will stop most of the corrosion
    I also have a 1945 study by the IAEI and AWWA that says no corrosion from grounding.
    Moderator-Washington State
    Ancora Imparo

  9. #9
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    Don
    While most of the stuff I have read on this issue says that there is no problems with grounding to water lines, I have read some documents that say that some naturally occurring metal oxides create a diode and this can result in DC current flow.
    If I understand your point correctly, I agree. Tieing a metal water line to ground can be a connection for various sources of dc. Something as simple as different soil ph's between native earth and building pad backfill can be a source of dc.

    I have seen the pipe pitting phenomena that was mentioned, and it is often blamed on the AC ground as though AC is the source of the problem. I attempted to discount that idea.

    Jim T

  10. #10
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    Tom
    I also have a 1945 study by the IAEI and AWWA that says no corrosion from grounding
    .

    I have doubts about the ground being the source of the problem, but I sure do not take any comfort from a study done in '45 to support that position. There have been too many changes made since that time in terms of amount of kw used, # of water pipes bonded to electrical system, type of usage etc.
    Larry in Michigan

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