Copper pipe grounding/bonding - how to?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Copper Bahamas, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. Copper Bahamas

    Copper Bahamas New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Nassau,Bahamas
    How do I go about ensuring the copper plumbing supply and branch lines which have recently been replaced in my home are adequately grounded and bonded?

    The supply lines are in the attic alongside the house's electrical lines,some of which are in direct contact with the copper lines,and I need to ensure that there is protection in the event they are 'energized' by the electrical lines......

    The house is supplied by water both from the city mains and via a well............the city water in from the meter is via 3/4" pvc,as is the well water...........which are then plumbed to copper lines when they enter the house.......presently there is no grounding on the house's side of the water supply's except for the water heater's electrical ground and the well water's pump's ground...........none of the copper plumbing lines are presently bonded.........

    Here is a photo showing the condition in general of the plumbing lines installation in the attic with respect to the electrical lines:

    [​IMG]

    What I am asking is how do I now go about ensuring the copper plumbing lines are grounded and bonded.........do I tie in to the house's electrical ground........how......and bond the copper plumbing lines........how......do I created a separate ground for the copper plumbing lines only and bond them.........how...........do I isolate the copper plumbing lines from contact with the electrical lines.......how.........

    If you'd temper your responses with respect to what you see in the photo I would appreciate it...........I am a 3rd world citizen in a 3rd world country and the condition you see in the photo is typical of homes constructed here of its era [1964]........granted it is now 2010......I am asking for your good advice please as how to make the installation safe...........electrical service to the house is 125A / 115V / 60 Hz and is as far as I know installed to South Florida code...............including grounding by way of an 8' ground rod..................thanks to all in advance for your replies that assist me.
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The electrical lines touching the copper piping is NOT really an issue since there is nothing to abrade the wires and cause them to energize the copper. As for actually "bonding" the copper, we cannot tell you if it is not already bonded, but an electrican can test for continuity between the electrical ground and the copper piping. In many cases, the water piping IS the source of grounding in the electrical system, and if that is the case in your house, then there must be a connection between the two systems. I can see that someone painted the copper lines blue and red, to keep track of them, but WHY are the joints on either side of the fittings "painted" or colored white?
  3. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    About the white on fittings, perhaps someone was careful enough to apply a compound to neutralize the acid in the flux.
  4. Copper Bahamas

    Copper Bahamas New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Nassau,Bahamas
    Thanks for the replies so far.

    The 2 valves you see in the photo are compression valves........installed so the bathroom below can be shut off from the rest of the house in the event of future repairs/renovations.......the white colour showing on either side of the fittings is teflon tape,which is on the valves threads........lead free solder and flux was used on the sweat fittings........the red and blue colour showing on the lines is duct tape to easily map the hot and cold lines - the attic's 'crawl space' is pretty confined even for a small man, and the thought was to identify the lines so they could be distinguished between from the attic's manhole accesses as easily / far away as possible.

    I know that the copper lines are not attached in any way to the house's electrical system/ground............as I see it with respect to grounding/bonding I should either bond the copper lines and tie them into the house's electrical ground.....how exactly..... or bond them and create a new ground completely separate of the house's electrical ground.....how exactly.........???
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    IF they are not connected to the plumbing pipes, then you had better have a ground rod which the electrical IS connected to. Quite often it is not a question of connecting the metal plumbing pipes to the electrical ground system, but rather connecting the electrical system TO the plumbing, because in most cases the plumbing pipes ARE at ground potential. When the main underground plumbing line is NOT metal, then our electrical panels have to be marked, "Non-metallic service pipe" so that the electrical ground is NOT attached to it as a primary ground source. Those must be the "shortest/smallest" valves I have seen in a long time, if ever.
  6. Copper Bahamas

    Copper Bahamas New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Nassau,Bahamas
    Thanks hj.

    [For your interest the valves in the photo are metric, from England, and are 2 1/4" long........2 1/2'' overall with the nuts and ferrule's installed either side........15mm diameter......... for the 15mm metric copper lines used as the branch and supply lines as you see in the photo............back in the day here copper lines and fittings were imported from England hence the metric................and most houses up until about 1974 were plumbed in copper.........]

    The electrical service to the house is grounded..........to a ground rod driven down into earth 8'......

    The house's city water supply is via a 3/4'' pvc line from the water meter which is then connected to a 22mm copper line at the house...........the house's well water supply is via a 3/4'' pvc line from the well's pump which is then connected to a 15mm copper line at the house............no lines are attached to the house's electrical system or vice versa................

    I need to figure out my best option with respect to bonding and grounding the copper plumbing lines..............bond the copper lines and tie them in to the house's electrical ground at the service panel.........or bond and ground them separate of the electrical ??? or............???

    Assuming as I am that the house is correctly grounded can/should I simply bond the copper lines and tie them in to the house's electrical ground to achieve grounding of the copper lines in the event that they ever become 'energized' ???

    What would one do,in layman's terms, in an instance such as this according to general 'code' in the USA ???
  7. bpetey

    bpetey New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    CA
    I would install a ground rod and run a ground wire from it to my pipes.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Depending an several variables that we cannot determine, your system could still be "grounded" if the metal water lines connect to the PVC main service underground, the way they are supposed to. The section in contact with the earth would provide the same function as a ground rod. As an aside, since you are in the Bahamas, why are you using the American term "ground", instead of the British term "earth", which, although a synonym for ground is more accurate.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  9. Copper Bahamas

    Copper Bahamas New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Nassau,Bahamas
    Thanks hj:

    The connections between the house and its city water supply and the house and its well water supply take place in the masonry walls of the house..............until then it's pvc from the city water meter and pvc from the well's pump...............the city water's pvc line is encased in concrete where it leads to the house..........the well water's pvc line is either above grade,encased in concrete or 6" below grade in earth where it leads to the house..............pvc adapters were used for both to make the transition from pvc lines to copper lines where each of the supply's come in to the house.......

    I follow your thinking with respect to the copper lines and grounding were they undergound.............however they are not........

    With respect to your British 'earth' and American 'ground' question we're not that British here any more really,aside from our legal and government systems .................granted I was educated in England............ and work in the construction industry here...........our building code generally follows that of South Florida so as far as such were are essentially Americanized...............so for me this is a grounding question.......what on earth to do ???!!!
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,537
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    In that case, you DO want to establish a path from the copper piping to the ground/earth. Whether that is through the electical panel's ground bus, or directly to a separate ground rod depends on which is easier in your situation. I hope, it the well and city systems supply the same piping, that ALL the necessary backflow/anticontamination safeguards are in place.
  11. Copper Bahamas

    Copper Bahamas New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Nassau,Bahamas
    Thanks hj:

    I can create / install a grounding system for the copper water lines myself by way of bonding them and running a wire from them to a ground rod redundant of the electrical supply's grounding...........which would be the easiest and likely the most logical solution in my case............before doing that I will take a close look at the house's electrical system's grounding by way of a qualified electrician so as to decide exactly if that or to tie in............

    Both the city water and well water supply's have check valves and shut off valves in place so at to separate them from each other............aside from that we have no stringent regulations in place as far as I know with respect to "anticontamination safeguards."

    Thank you very much for your replies.
Similar Threads: Copper pipe
Forum Title Date
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Planning Ahead to Service Your Copper Pipes Jul 25, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Flushing Copper Pipe Jul 22, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Slip-on spout adapter's set screw DESTROYED my copper pipe - how to replace the pipe or alternative? Jul 9, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Copper Pipe Sizing and Fixture Calculations Jun 27, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & repairing leak on older/smaller copper pipe advice wanted Apr 22, 2014

Share This Page