Can't find Ground Wire

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  #1  
Old 05-03-06, 07:22 PM
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Can't find Ground Wire

Hello ! Great site with lots of useful info. Just bought a house in the country. Built in 1994. Transformers are near the road on the ground with underground service to the homes on our road. I have a 200 amp Square D panel. Two hots, one neutral and NO ground wire coming in to the panel that I can find.
I was suprised that there was no ground wire under the lug on the ground bus. I looked outside by the meter, could not find any grounding rods. Does my neutral also serve as my ground in my main panel ? In our old house we had grounding rods, but everything was above ground ( Older neighborhood ).
This house has everything fed underground. Cable, phone, and power. Any ideas ? Thanks for any information. Tony.
 
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  #2  
Old 05-03-06, 07:39 PM
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I don't know if you have WEPCO or WPS but here in Milwaukee with WEPCO I have just the 2 hots and 1 neutral/center tap coming (underground) from the pole. I do not know if the neutral is grounded at the transformer.

However my neutral bus in the panel is also connected with 6 AWG copper to two ground rods and the water pipe on the street side of the meter. Sounds like that is what you do not have.

Does your panel have a separate ground bus?
 
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Old 05-03-06, 07:43 PM
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Welcome Tony,
Is there a small conduit going into the meter box or the main panel?
Is there a conductor (1 wire) running from the panel board to the water meter?
How did you determine you have no ground?

It is HIGHLY unlikly that this is the case given the time frame your house was built.
 
  #4  
Old 05-03-06, 07:46 PM
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Yes. I have a separate grounding bus which is tied to the neutral bus with a tie-bar. We have Wisconsin Public Service as our power company. I guess I was expecting a ground wire which would run to two ground rods, and our water pipes.
We have a private well here, our water line coming out of the floor is plastic. Should I "Bond" the water lines anyway ?
This way they can never become a conductor of electricity.
How about our 1" gas line ? Should I bond this as well ?
In our old house, all of the above were done. ( City Home )
Maybe things are different here with underground power feed and a newer neighborhood. Thanks !!!
 
  #5  
Old 05-03-06, 07:52 PM
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Thanks for the reply. There is an empty " Lug " on my ground bus. I was expecting a single ground wire to be connected to this lug and to be headed outside to the grounding rods.
Are there grounding rods in new construction if the power is fed underground ? Maybe my neutral is considered my ground as well. The panel is very neat and well organized. Being from the city, I expected a ground wire to be connected from my ground bus and to be headed to the outside grounding rods.
Thanks for the helps guys !
 
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Old 05-03-06, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SF49erfan
Yes. I have a separate grounding bus which is tied to the neutral bus with a tie-bar. We have Wisconsin Public Service as our power company. I guess I was expecting a ground wire which would run to two ground rods, and our water pipes.
We have a private well here, our water line coming out of the floor is plastic. Should I "Bond" the water lines anyway ?
This way they can never become a conductor of electricity.
How about our 1" gas line ? Should I bond this as well ?
In our old house, all of the above were done. ( City Home )
Maybe things are different here with underground power feed and a newer neighborhood. Thanks !!!

Yes you are correct, there should be a ground rod some where, I have put them in the basement or out side depending on the stage of construction when I was there to start.
Regarding the well: WELL If you check the copper pipe (cold water feed) You should find a connector of some type with a single conductor going back to the panel board, This would be your BOND to the water main.
Concerning the empty lug in the panel, The neutral and the ground are bonded as one (1) at the main service, They are not seperated unless at a sub panel.
Inside your main panel (look closely) you should see a GREEN screw going thru the neutral buss and bonding with the main box. This is typical and ok.
 
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Old 05-03-06, 08:26 PM
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Thanks LectricLee.....I think I remember seeing the green panel bond screw. Home inspection went fine. No problems in the house. Just kind of suprised me to see the empty lug on the grounding bus side. I appreciate your help.
 
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Old 05-03-06, 08:37 PM
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Thanks for the reply, Check to make sure the conductor is connected to the copper water pipe, This is VERY important, and keep looking for the ground rod as well.
 
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Old 05-03-06, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by SF49erfan
our water line coming out of the floor is plastic. Should I "Bond" the water lines anyway ?
This way they can never become a conductor of electricity.
How can plastic ever become a conductor of electricity?


> How about our 1" gas line ? Should I bond this as well ?

Depending on what appliances you have, it might already be bonded.


> In our old house, all of the above were done.

Was the plastic waterline bonded with a plastic clamp and plastic fishing line?
 
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Old 05-04-06, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by bolide
How can plastic ever become a conductor of electricity?


> How about our 1" gas line ? Should I bond this as well ?

Depending on what appliances you have, it might already be bonded.


> In our old house, all of the above were done.

Was the plastic waterline bonded with a plastic clamp and plastic fishing line?

So on a well where the copper starts you don't bond it?
What about the electric water heater, dishwasher,pig,fridge with ice maker etc....? arn't these all potentials even if the water feed is plastic?


For the gas, No you don't bond it, but it will be bonded thru the gas appliances that are plugged in..
 
  #11  
Old 05-04-06, 03:29 AM
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> So on a well where the copper starts you don't bond it?
Of course I bond metal piping. Plastic isn't metal.


> What about the electric water heater, dishwasher, pig, fridge with ice maker etc....?
> aren't these all potentials even if the water feed is plastic?
How are you going to bond plastic?


> For the gas, No you don't bond it
Yes, I do.

> it will be bonded thru the gas appliances

Then it's bonded so it is silly to say that it is not.
 
  #12  
Old 05-05-06, 08:54 PM
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> For the gas, No you don't bond it
Yes, I do.<

Perhaps in PA. Not In MA. Big NO-NO.
Even though we all know it is bonded thru the connection of the appliance.
Do you install a bond across the transition of a forced air furnace?

does the well have a ground to it?
Even though there is a plastic feed to the dwelling, there may not be a ground to the well pump.
ALWAYS BOND the copper to the service.



Just goes to show how different Areas can be.
 
  #13  
Old 05-05-06, 09:37 PM
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> Perhaps in PA. Not In MA. Big NO-NO.
We really don't have any exceptions to the NEC itself.

> Even though we all know it is bonded thru the connection of the appliance.

-- which just goes to show how pointless it is to countermand this NEC requirement.



> Do you install a bond across the transition of a forced air furnace?

I don't know what you mean. If the ducting is not electrically continuous, it should be made so.


> does the well have a ground to it?
-- if metal is involved.
There is nothing unusual about an installation with no metal metal casing, no metal piping, and the pump inside the basement.


> Even though there is a plastic feed to the dwelling, there may
> not be a ground to the well pump.
How could it not have an EGC?
 
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