Understanding this water pipe ground

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Old 06-20-17, 06:18 PM
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Question Understanding this water pipe ground

I recently purchased a home and looking into the panel it appears I have no actual ground. The only thing I can see is a thick stranded ground that is grounded to a water pipe. Is this the "ground" that would take the place of a grounding rod? It's not continually that thick to the water pipe though. There is a splice of 10 gauge between.

Anywho... I'm looking into this because this line is feeding a lot and I keep tripping the breaker when I use my saw in the garage. Not only is this the line for the garage but it also powers the washer, dishwasher, downstairs lights and furnace blower. Here is a my "drawing" of what's going on.

I assume I need to break some of this up? What would you guys recommend?

PS: The garage to house wire is 10/3. I want to run more power out there for tools and stuff but I'm the wire is under cement. I'm stuck with 10. I can run 30 amps out there to a sub panel correct?

First I have to figure out this ground/breaking up issue though.
oh and all this goes to a 15amp breaker.

Thanks guys


http://imgur.com/OtJ1HEv
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Last edited by ray2047; 06-20-17 at 07:59 PM. Reason: Insert images, crop, reduce file size.
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  #2  
Old 06-20-17, 06:24 PM
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Sorry, tinypics aren't allowed on here. You'll have to upload them to another pic site, or you can just attach them.
 
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Old 06-20-17, 07:33 PM
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There is a splice of 10 gauge between [ground and panel].
Not allowed. Ground wire can't be spliced and #10 is too small. Under modern code there should also be a ground rod.
I'm looking into this because this line is feeding a lot and I keep tripping the breaker when I use my saw in the garage. Not only is this the line for the garage but it also powers the washer, dishwasher, downstairs lights and furnace blower. Here is a my "drawing" of what's going on.
Ground is for safety not function. It isn't why it is tripping. Is the garage attached or detached? Sounds detached. Is it UF cable?

Best to insert images and do drawing as JPGs because some may not want to or be able to click on unknown PDF. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/li...rt-images.html You need to watch your file sizes they are way to great for the web.
 
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Old 06-20-17, 08:06 PM
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That ground wire also needs to connect where the water line enters the premises.
That would usually be before the meter. The ground would attach to the street side with a jumper across the meter to the house side.
 
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Old 06-20-17, 08:17 PM
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The grounding system is just that, a complete system. There is the grounded conductor (neutral) which is grounded at the power companies transformer/pole. You have the water pipe ground which is the grounding electrode, and you may also have a supplemental grounding electrode, normally a ground rod. The grounding electrodes are only there for high voltages events such as lightning strikes. The Grounded conductor is the only one of this system that should ever carry current. The ground wires of the branch circuits are also connected to the neutral bus only in the main panel.
 
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Old 06-21-17, 05:42 AM
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Ok, so if I am understanding you guys correctly...

The "grounding electrode" (Waterpipe) Is really only for lightning strikes. It serves no purpose for the "ground conductor" which would be the third prong at the outlet. (green screw stuff).

So, is the grounding conductor nothing more than an extra "neutral"? Wired to the panel exactly the same? Is it really that easy? If so I've been confusing myself for way too long.

I see that the splice is not allowed, so I would basically need to run a new grounding electrode to the water pipe. Would I be allowed to get the same exact thickness stranded wire and use some kind of copper C-Tap Connector instead of doing a new run?

To answer some questions:

It is a detached garage. Yes it is UF Cable from the garage to where it enters the house. but from there to the panel it get's spliced to some 12 and then back to the UF near the panel. I'm thinking I will have to take the 12 out and replace with the same UF cable. so it's all the same cable. I was thinking if I had a solid run of the 600v 10/3 UF Cable I could connect it to a 30 amp breaker and then have a couple 15 amp breakers in a sub panel out in the garage. I would like to run more than 30 but I read that's all that the cable can handle. Which is a bummer because there's no way I can run a thicker cable through the cement.

PJMAX: There is a small wire attached to both the water pump and the water heater but I do not see where the thick stuff connects to the pipe "near" the water pump. The pipe the thick stuff connects to does eventually go to the water pump though.

So, assuming I run new UF Cable to the panel for the garage and only the garage... How do I break up the rest of the appliances/downstairs lights? How many circuits should I have? What should be by itself and what can I combine?

THANK YOU GUYS! I GREATLY APPRECIATE YOUR HELP!

Oh, and there is NO grounding rod outside.

***I also wanted to say thank you to you guys who helped me out with the images here. I had a heck of a time trying to get them uploaded.
 
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Old 06-21-17, 08:47 AM
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10-3 on a 30 amp 2-pole breaker can be used for a 30 amp subpanel in the garage.
 
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Old 06-21-17, 09:14 AM
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water pump
If you have well water, forget what was posted above. The water pipe is only a legal ground if it is part of a city water system which has copper piping out to the street. You can use your well casing as a grounding electrode if it is steel -- you'll see this in older houses that have the water well under the front porch.

Otherwise, you'll need to get two 10' ground rods and enough bare #4 copper wire to extend from the ground/neutral bus in the panel, outside then to rod 1 and on to rod 2. The rods should be at least 6' apart, driven flush or slightly below the soil line. Use acorn clamps to connect the copper wire to the head of the rods.

The #10 bonding wire to the existing plumbing should be left as-is.
 
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Old 06-21-17, 03:35 PM
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So, is the grounding conductor nothing more than an extra "neutral"? Wired to the panel exactly the same? Is it really that easy? If so I've been confusing myself for way too long.
Yes. The ground (the grounding conductor) and the neutral (the grounded conductor) are connected to the same place in the main panel. They do, however, perform different functions:

The neutral (grounded conductor) carries current when there is a load on the circuit. This can be the full load of a single hot (ungrounded) conductor, or the imbalance between two (single phase) or three (three phase) hot conductors in a multi-wire circuit.

The ground (grounding conductor) does not carry current except during a fault. This is to trip a breaker or blow a fuse.
 

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Old 06-21-17, 06:42 PM
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you'll need to get two 10' ground rods and enough bare #4 copper wire to extend from the ground/neutral bus in the panel, outside then to rod 1 and on to rod 2. The rods should be at least 6' apart, driven flush or slightly below the soil line. Use acorn clamps to connect the copper wire to the head of the rods.
Why #4 copper and not #6 copper to the ground rods? Why 10 foot ground rods rather than 8 foot ground rods? Are these specifically Michigan requirements?
 
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Old 06-22-17, 04:28 AM
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Wow, you have no idea how long i have been trying to figure that out and not gasping it. Ive read so many tutorials, watched so many videos that have never explained it as simple as that and did nothing more than confuse me further. Thanks man! You just solved a big mystery for me!
 
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Old 06-22-17, 07:23 AM
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> Casual

Nope, my fingers just got ahead of my brain. #6 copper and 8' rods are OK. The #4 would be the requirement if you're running to a city water pipe instead of ground rods.
 
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Old 06-23-17, 10:57 AM
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Nope, my fingers just got ahead of my brain. #6 copper and 8' rods are OK. The #4 would be the requirement if you're running to a city water pipe instead of ground rods.
I agree. I really wasn't trying to gig you on this at all, there are sometimes local requirements that just don't make any sense to me at all. I remember many years ago, probably 35 to 40 years ago, Madison County, Illinois had some strange requirements that made no sense. Back then they required only 3/0 copper in rigid heavywall threaded steel conduit for residential service entrance wiring; no aluminum and no SEU cable allowed. They also required a 5/8" X 10' ground rod. I could understand the extra surface area contact with the earth of the ground rod had this been a rocky soil area, but the earth was like farm ground. Nice soft loam that you could push half the length of a 10' rod into with your bare hands.
 
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