Go Back  DoItYourself.com Community Forums > Electrical, AC & DC. Electronic Equipment and Computers > Electrical - AC & DC
Reload this Page >

braided metal (Cable) to water main in house (Electrical Panel)???

braided metal (Cable) to water main in house (Electrical Panel)???

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-12-10, 05:17 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 226
braided metal (Cable) to water main in house (Electrical Panel)???

The water meter and main valve to the house pokes up through the slab into the interior laundry room. It looks pretty standard except for a braided metal wire (1/4" dia. perhaps) that connects to the mains piping and back into the wall (external wall, if that matters). I just disappears into the drywall and I havent checked where it goes. DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT THIS IS? I am covering the exposed piping to keep the cold from effecting the laudry room so much and I want to know what I am covering up!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-12-10, 05:56 AM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
It's probably the ground to the panel box.
 
  #3  
Old 01-12-10, 06:31 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 226
Thanks. It could be but it seems like a pretty huge gauge for such a small device. The power lead running out of the house to the front of the garage is pretty narrow gauge. Any other ideas? I should also say it looks like some kind of composite metal like braided aluminum althought that sounds goofy. 1975 era house. It doesnt have enough tension in it to secure it to anything.
 
  #4  
Old 01-12-10, 07:33 AM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,986
If it's not securing anything, a ground is my only thought.
 
  #5  
Old 01-12-10, 07:37 AM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 6,269
Cable

Does the other end of the cable enter your electrical service panel?
 
  #6  
Old 01-12-10, 08:26 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 226
I dont think so. One end is clamped to the outside of the piping. The other end pokes into the drywall. Its exposed (no jacket) so it just seems funny that it would be ground. Thoughts?
 
  #7  
Old 01-12-10, 08:45 AM
Member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: US
Posts: 84
Originally Posted by knothandy View Post
I dont think so. One end is clamped to the outside of the piping. The other end pokes into the drywall. Its exposed (no jacket) so it just seems funny that it would be ground. Thoughts?
A lot of ground wires are bare, and that's sure what this sounds like. A buried metal pipe (your water main) makes an ideal ground.
 
  #8  
Old 01-12-10, 09:42 AM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 6,269
Grounding

I dont think so.
Have you actually looked inside the service panel?

Is this strange cable near the electrical panel?

Electrical system grounding is critical to safety.
 

Last edited by Wirepuller38; 01-12-10 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Re-worded for clarity.
  #9  
Old 01-12-10, 09:53 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: NJ U.S.
Posts: 24
Cool

water pipe ground, probaly a #4awg does not have to be insulated, and they tarnish over time
 
  #10  
Old 01-12-10, 10:02 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: NJ U.S.
Posts: 24
Talking

Originally Posted by knothandy View Post
I dont think so. One end is clamped to the outside of the piping. The other end pokes into the drywall. Its exposed (no jacket) so it just seems funny that it would be ground. Thoughts?
Its clamped to the water pipes so if a live wire contacts any pipes in the house the pipes dont become one big electrical conductor, the other end terminates in your panel under a ground bar so as to cause a short and trip the breaker in the event the pipe becomes energized, and is mandatory by code.
 
  #11  
Old 01-12-10, 10:35 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 226
Thanks RK, WP, Bruce & Pulpo. I'll make sure it's secure.
 
  #12  
Old 01-16-10, 06:31 AM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Near Buffalo, NY
Posts: 4,239
It could be a meter bypass for the electrical ground. A short chunk of copper is sometimes used to connect the house plumbing to the incoming water line, thus "bypassing" the water meter. This insures proper electrical ground while the meter is being changed, or if the meter doesn't provide a proper electrical connection (for example, if teflon tape is used at the meter joints).
 
  #13  
Old 01-13-11, 12:27 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 226
Update. Remodeling the laundry room now. The cable in question is an aluminum "service entrance" sized braided affair. It is still unhooked. I also noticed a small copper wire existing the meter - this must be the one that Rick noted as a backup in case the meters have to be swapped. I am going to clamp this aluminum cable back to the copper pipes coming out of the ground. Maybe scrub up the points where it connects.

PS - anyone see any issues with this cable being aluminum?
 

Last edited by knothandy; 01-13-11 at 12:28 PM. Reason: add a comment
  #14  
Old 01-13-11, 12:41 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,349
Could you post a pic of this conductor?
 
  #15  
Old 01-13-11, 12:51 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 226
It's 6 or 7 wires, 12 to 14 gauge each, twisted as one cable. Aluminum. Sheathing is black but no apparent markings - it is also bare / exposed for 2 feet or so. It comes out of the wall and is clamped directly to the main water entrance pipe (copper) coming into the house. The end of it was also clamped but that was apparently long ago. I will try and get a picture but does this text description help?
 
  #16  
Old 01-13-11, 01:25 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,288
It sounds like your grounding electrode conductor, which is required for the safe operation of your home's electrical system. Code requires it to connect to the plumbing service pipe within 5' of entrance to the house. It is also required that the wire jumper over anything non-conductive like a meter or water filtration system. Usually this is done with one long piece of cable clamped to the pipe of both sides of the meter or other break in the plumbing.
 
  #17  
Old 01-13-11, 01:29 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 226
Ya, it has all those signs. It is indeed clamped below the meter... I just cant for the life of me figure out why someone would have un-clamped it above the meter... that end is just hanging there. Need to tie that on!
 
  #18  
Old 01-13-11, 01:35 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,288
It happens all the time when a plumber or the city water department swaps out the meter for a new one, replaces the main shutoff valve or similar work.

Most meters and meter yokes are conductive brass, so in practice it makes little difference to have it not connected, but the code does require it just in case.
 
  #19  
Old 01-13-11, 06:18 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,212
The NEC in 1975 didn't require that the service grounding conductor run from the panel all the way to where the water service entered the building, but it did require a jumper across the meter. Most likely it's #2 aluminum (assuming you have a 200 amp service) and legal and just a jumper. Your service is likely grounded to a cold water pipe closer to the panel so the jumper is critical and must be attached on both sides of the meter. I'd also be willing to bet you have no ground rod as only one ground was required in 1975.
 
  #20  
Old 01-13-11, 07:41 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,056
Originally Posted by knothandy View Post
I also noticed a small copper wire existing the meter...
This one could very possibly be a remote sensor for the water company to read the meter from the outside of the house. If it is, it would be 2-4 small gauge (22-24ga) wires in a single cable. Just be careful to not accidentally cut it.
 
  #21  
Old 01-14-11, 03:22 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 226
Thanks guys - cant say that enough. The small one I am sure is a meter feed - I am going to rough in these pipes and cables (will leave them "accessable" just not hanging out like they are now). I always within 2 or 3 feet of a curious 3 year old and I want to be sure the kids are protected. Not sure how I would tell if I have a ground rod or not, or even what the signifcance of this is. By the way, I'd bet the farm that this is the closest connection between the main to the house and the panel given that I know exactly where the wires and pipe run to that area. Thanks again!
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'