Frost Free Hydrant being zapped - will this work?

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  #1  
Old 05-24-14, 03:55 PM
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Frost Free Hydrant being zapped - will this work?

I have stray electricity (dirty?) and I had electricians install the electric line to my new barn. The water line had to be moved as did the electric to the hydrant.

At the time, I wanted a new hyrant as the old one was old. It appeared to have been hit by lightening during winter. At the base where the water line is contected to the hydrant, the hydrant had a hole worn in from what we thought was a hit by lightening (in the metal). I dug it up and put in a new one, the elctrician helped. This went bad also.

I am digging it up and this time, I know there was no hit by lightening. I believe it is arcing at the bottom of the hydrant from dirty electricity and causing the metal to be worn. This causes the hydrant to allow water to run continuously. I am able to shut it off at the house but what a hassel all winter long when needing to water the animals.

So, I'm digging it up again, ugh. Am going to install another new one. This time tho, I thought I would sink a ground rod in the bottom of the hole, attach the hydrant to it before burying it.

There is stray voltage out there and round the house. The electrician hasn't come back out to determine the cause as I have no money.

Will the ground rod do the job and prevent the hydrant from arching at the base where the water drains out the hole into the ground?
 
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Old 05-24-14, 04:19 PM
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The water line had to be moved as did the electric to the hydrant
Do you mean ground not electric? Both your main service panel and any subpanels should have at least one and sometimes two ground rods. Do they? If it is a subpanel at the barn did they run four wires? Did they add a ground bar and isolate the neutral from the panel? Did they put only ground wires on the ground bar and neutral wires on the neutral bar? Did they connect the ground bar to both the EGC from the main panel and a GEC from at least one ground rod driven eight feet in the ground?
 
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Old 05-24-14, 04:21 PM
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I'm not familiar with that type of hydrant but any time that there is current "leaking", a ground rod won't solve the problem AFAIK. The location of the "leak" has to be found & corrected.
 
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Old 05-24-14, 04:44 PM
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The water line had to be moved as did the electric to the hydrant.
Electric to the hydrant..... for what ?
 
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Old 05-24-14, 05:57 PM
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Sorry, no electric to hydrant but electric about 3 feet from hydrant to use a winter water heater in the water trough and run the electric fencer from.

I know a ground rod won't solve the leaking electric problem but, will it solve the problem of the electric arc at the bottom of the hydrant due to the leaking electric so that the hydrant won't have to be dug up once AGAIN, eeeeegads.

I'm so frustrated from digging this darn hydrant up and replacing it. I know the leak needs to be found. I just can't affod to have that done right now.
 
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Old 05-24-14, 06:16 PM
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Were you able to go through and answer yes to each of my questions. If any nos then fixing those may fix your "leakage problem". What you propose would only be a workaround for improper grounding or open loose neutral elsewhere that needs to be corrected. My list was to help you correct any grounding problem. You also need to have the power company check your neutral. Any faulty electric water heaters could also contribute to the problem.
 
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Old 05-24-14, 06:30 PM
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Sorry Ray2047, I didn't see your post above. I did have the electric co. out and check the neutral - no problems there. I don't believe my electric water heater is a problem.

I can't answer your other questions until I've contacted the electrician who installed the electric in the barn. They are master electricians, that I know and work full time for an electric contractor who is extremely busy. The two men who worked here, help people like me on weekends, on their own time for a fee of course.

Will you please tell me if the ground rod will save my hydrant?
 
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Old 05-24-14, 07:25 PM
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The reason I asked you to answer the questions was in case they screwed up. Asking the fox to check the integrity of the hen house is not the best approach. No ground rod should be needed at a water pipe. It might disguise the problem but it wouldn't fix it.
 
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Old 05-24-14, 08:19 PM
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I don't want to know I need to fix the problem (I already know that), I'm asking whether or not a ground rod will protect my hydrant from damage by the dirty electricity arcing at the base of it.
 
  #10  
Old 05-24-14, 09:51 PM
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It seems to me that the question of a ground rod has been answered more than once. I don't see what a ground rod is going to do. I know that's not the answer you want but you're not going to get a different answer.
 
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Old 05-24-14, 10:45 PM
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Your water pipe should be grounded to the main panel if it is metal. There should be at least one ground rod at the main panel also ergo there should already be a ground rod attached to it via the dual connection at the panel. Is there a subpanel in the barn. Does the pipe come from the barn? If there is a subpanel in the barn is it grounded to both a ground rod and the metal pipe? If it comes from the house do you have a ground from the panel to both the pipe and at least one ground. Verify for yourself. Don't ask the electricians who may have done it wrong.

Do you have sections of water line that are non metallic?

What evidence do you have of arching? Not unusual for galvanized steel ells to rust through.Have you used a multimeter, preferably analog, to measure voltage between the pipe and the ground?
 
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Old 05-24-14, 11:09 PM
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Ray raised some excellent points. I've left the link to a video below. It's produced by Mike Holt, a recognized authority on electrical safety. It's about 90 minutes long but the first 35 minutes pertain to your issue and stray electrical voltages, including some additional ideas for farms.

It may be a little complicated and you may not understand everything he says.... but he discusses the reason for stray voltages and that's important.

He says you can never reduce voltage by grounding you just get more parts energized including a ground rod.

Mike Holt Stray Voltage Video
 
  #13  
Old 05-25-14, 06:24 AM
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First, I have suffered stray voltage since moving here 22 yrs ago as my animals get shocked off the water trough in the winter months because of it. I use a special 16 gal water bucket that has a heater element in the base that is NOT exposed to the water for the winter time.

The water line is not metal but pvc(? plastic for drinking).
There is a subpanel in the barn and there is a ground attached to the barn metal - don't know if there are other grounds but the elctrician has been here since and confered with his boss and others to solve my water trough problem.

The water line comes from the house and branches near the barn, one goes into the barn to a hydrant and the other to the hydrant at the fence.

Electric line is approx. 2' above the water line in the same trench. We put larger pvc around the water line where it goes under the barn drive.
The electric branches away from the trench to a box where the electric fencer and outlets are approx. 3' from the hydrant.

When the new barn was built, the trencher may have snaged the electric line making the electric leaking worse???
A year after the new barn was finished, I had electric and water installed. We used the existing from the old location to new barn.

I did not use the 16 gal water tub but chose to use a water heater for my 100 gal rubbermaid trough. Horse and donk got shocked. I grounded myself and yes, I also felt the tingling in the water. The elctrician came and measured the voltage in the ground at the trough. Yes, stray voltage. He then went and measured it at the house at the entrance to the walk out in the ground, again less but still stray voltage. He was doing this in the dark after work one night. Nothing been done since, he said he would have to come out and spend time finding the leak. Ugh, recession was in full swing and I had no money. Still same.

The electric fencer has not been on in over a year, horse and donk don't know.

The original owner was a mason, built the house and did the electric. The electric panel in the walkout basement is VERY good as electricians always say. But, grounds in the house wire are not the best. I had gfs outlets put in the kitchen as the fuse kept popping over the years.

The mason built a 20x30 barn out of soft wood from the property he cut down and put electric and water from house out to that barn.

I don't believe we are using the electric line the mason put in for the new barn.

The electric fencer has not been on in over a year and I believe it has three ground rods off it anyways.

I will take a pic of the old hydrant - not rust, thinking was, it took a hit of lightening. I am in the process of digging out the lastest hydrant and should have a pic of that as well later today. I KNOW, this time, it is NOT lightening strike. I've been paying attention.

The electrician suggested putting a lot of ground rods in a circle around the area the horse and donk are at when drinking water. I didn't like the idea.

I have to put this new hydrant in today, tomorrw or next weekend at the latest. I don't expect to get the stray voltage problem fixed by then.

Will a ground rod in the same hole as the hydrant protect the hydrant?

I will post pics today - definitely not rust issue but arcing.
 
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Old 05-25-14, 07:29 AM
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The water line is not metal but pvc
If your piping is PVC The pipe can not arc because it does not carry electricity. Connecting a ground to a non conductor such as PVC serves no purpose.

If you had told us what you have now told us the help you received might have been different. All I can suggest is you file a complaint with what ever agency in your state governs power companies. You may want to get an attorney involved to sue the power company. One who charges only if he wins. With a a lawyer involved the electric company may be willing to fix the problem and settle out of court rather then go to court and possibly end up in a class action suit.
 
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Old 05-25-14, 07:47 AM
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If you turn off power to the barn does the voltage go away? If it does your feeder is damaged and needs to be repaired. Do you have any neighbors close by?
 
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Old 05-25-14, 08:09 AM
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I have suffered stray voltage since moving here 22 yrs ago as my animals get shocked off the water trough in the winter months because of it.
Sounds like 22 years of animal abuse to me.
 
  #17  
Old 05-25-14, 11:05 AM
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The hydrant is metal, the water line is pvc. Brass/copper fittings were used to connect the pvc water line into the bottom of the hydrant.

Here are pics.
 
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  #18  
Old 05-25-14, 11:13 AM
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My house took a direct hit of lightening at the well head. (maybe 10 years ago, new barn built about 4 yrs ago). It blew siding off the back and side of my house, a hole in the cement block in the basement, outlets off the walls in the spare bedroom and my gas oven's knobs came off too. Phone was fried, electric fencer, tv's and computer. I just had replacement value added to my house ins. policy about 2 months prior - go figure.

The electrician who came to do the electrical repairs said he got the worst shock of his life off my electric panel. He was a gentleman in his late 50's early 60's, electician all his life. HIs two sons, mid-twentys were apprenticing with him.

He mentioned I should add more grounding to my house then even tho he did add ground he thought grounding it to my well?? (not sure if I'm remembering this correctly) would help. I will mention this to my current electrician when I call him Tuesday. He's offered to do stuff and let me pay him on time - I JUST HATE TO DO THIS. Oh, did I say I haven't been able to make myself do this?

I'm at the base of the hydrant now. Taking a break as the hardest part of the digging is ahead of me. About 2 more feet to go to get access to the plumbing and do it right.

Just as a note, we used brass/copper fittings in the hydrant, not pvc fittings to attach the pvc water line to the base of the hydrant.

Ground is sand here, think sand dunes.
 
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Old 05-25-14, 11:56 AM
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I am starting to suspect a compromised neutral somewhere in the system.
 
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Old 05-25-14, 12:50 PM
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All I can suggest is you file a complaint with what ever agency in your state governs power companies. You may want to get an attorney involved to sue the power company. One who charges only if he wins. With a a lawyer involved the electric company may be willing to fix the problem and settle out of court rather then go to court and possibly end up in a class action suit.
Why do you think litigation is in order Ray?

Money might be better spent on a competent electrician rather than a lawyer.
 
  #21  
Old 05-25-14, 01:04 PM
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I think we did turn off voltage to the barn and no, the voltage in the ground at the water trough did not go away -- that is, if I remember correctly, I'm getting old.

I remember we then went to the house and checked the voltage in the ground at the walk out basement side of the house, which is where the ground to the house and the electric line to the house is at.

If the house took a direct hit at the well head and the ground is sand, could the sand turn to glass and cause the ground to be useless??
 
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Old 05-25-14, 02:10 PM
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Your ground system is for thing like lightning strikes or other high voltage events and does not play any part in the normal operation of your system.
 
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Old 05-25-14, 03:18 PM
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I managed to dig the hydrant up and here are the pics of what was happening down there...

Knowing I have a problem, I have to put this in tomorrow as I cannot get water out to my barn till I do.

If I place a ground rod down in the hole and attach it to my hydrant, will it protect the hydrant from this happening again?

To me, it's a simple yes or no answer...
 
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  #24  
Old 05-25-14, 04:20 PM
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It won't hurt to try it.

.
 
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