Bad grounding method


Old 05-26-11, 10:03 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
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Bad grounding method

Could a Pro tell me how wrong the following is...and what the safety implications are?

FIL (Mr Know it All/Done it All) needed grounded outlets in a couple of parts of his house (why...I'm not sure...something about the Internet service provider required it I think?).

His solution? Stick a bare ground up from the basement to each individual outlet that needed it and clamp it to a water pipe. Not sure if the pipes are grounded to the actual panel or just picking up ground from the main line from the street.

This is the same guy that put up the pre-finished polystyrene trim throughout the house and used brown paneling nails so he didn't have to countersink and fill the holes. wrong and how unsafe?
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Old 05-26-11, 10:30 AM
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The basic method of an additional wire is ok but where that wire is connected is probably not ok.

Ben just posted the NEC reference in another thread.

NEC 250.130

C) Nongrounding Receptacle Replacement or Branch
Circuit Extensions. The equipment grounding conductor
of a grounding-type receptacle or a branch-circuit extension
shall be permitted to be connected to any of the following:
(1) Any accessible point on the grounding electrode system
as described in 250.50
(2) Any accessible point on the grounding electrode conductor
(3) The equipment grounding terminal bar within the enclosure
where the branch circuit for the receptacle or
branch circuit originates
(4) For grounded systems, the grounded service conductor
within the service equipment enclosure
(5) For ungrounded systems, the grounding terminal bar
within the service equipment enclosure

Stick a bare ground up from the basement to each individual outlet
The wire should have probably been run in surface race or inside the walls to protect it.
Old 05-26-11, 11:16 AM
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I think that a cold water pipe used to be a legal grounding point. I couldn't tell you what year that was abandoned, but you do run into it in old houses. In practice as long as the water system is all copper and bonded to the electric service at the entrance there is probably little safety implication; however if the copper is broken by dielectric unions, water softener, plastic filter, etc it's not a good situation. This is a good way to get tingling in the shower, etc.

He can bring it up to code pretty easily by running a bare ground from the panel ground bus to the ground wire clamped on the pipe and just crimping them on. It would also be a good time to make sure the service is bonded to the plumbing, meter/water heater/softener are all jumpered with copper wire, etc.
Old 05-26-11, 12:15 PM
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Thx Guys...thats pretty much what I thought...but I doubt he'll listen, even though it's just a few hours and a few dollars.
Sorry ray...I wasn't clear...the bare ground is inside the wall run up though the same hole as the older wiring.
Old 05-26-11, 05:26 PM
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50+ years ago new automatic washing machines came with an external green ground wire and a small water pipe clamp.
Old 05-27-11, 03:17 PM
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I remember our washing machine at our old house had one of those wires, although the house was built in the 1990's. It was connected between the cold water line and the cover screw. The wire seemed very old, and was chewed by my cat.

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