What does this wire do?

Can anyone tell me the purpose of the wire in this picture? It runs from the ground buss of the electrical box on one side of the house clear over to the other side (through the ceiling) and in to the closet that holds the hot water heater. There it attaches to a piece of copper pipe with a valve on it. This pipe attaches to plastic pipe on all ends. So what exactly is this wire doing? :confused: My guess is "Sweet Fanny Adams". :roll:

Comments

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What does this wire do?

    Clearly it was intended as a ground conductor. Not withstanding the issue of plastic pipe. Some inspector probably said, you must ground the buss to the cold water pipe, not understanding the whys and hows.

    Tony
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,072 admin
    Re: What does this wire do?

    For our home remodel--they wanted us to bond the cold+hot+natural gas lines together (in our case, at the hot water heater)... However, we have copper/black iron piping (water/gas)--so that would make some sense in our home.

    The old code did not care about hot water and wanted (from what I remember) the natural gas pipe isolated.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: What does this wire do?

    It's a good thing the installer was smarter than the inspector: on the side with the service panel there's a proper ground outside to a rod.
    Imagine if the plastic pipe was the only 'ground'!
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,036 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: What does this wire do?

    I'm looking at the "compression fittings" on the copper pipe, is that hard pipe, or tubeing?
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  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,400 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What does this wire do?

    It may have been an attempt to ground the house plumbing, in spite of the plastic pipe at each end. If for some reason the copper became energized it would be grounded.

    Who knows what who was thinking?
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: What does this wire do?

    Logic and function do not matter! Yeah, the inspector said, so I did.

    My Inspector wanted me to connect the breaker box ground to the telephone distribution box ground ... I said NO. High voltage and Low voltage have there own separate grounds and I was not going to mix them! He said ok then wanted me to ground to the gas pipe!? Again NO! NOT to the gas. I'll give you a ground to the water pipe. He decided I knew what I was doing and hasn't looked at any more electrical!
  • dwhdwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
    Re: What does this wire do?
    icarus wrote: »
    It may have been an attempt to ground the house plumbing, in spite of the plastic pipe at each end. If for some reason the copper became energized it would be grounded.

    Who knows what who was thinking?

    I think that's exactly what it was. It's meant to connect the copper pipe to the ground bus, which is then grounded to the rod. Good idea actually.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What does this wire do?
    audredger wrote: »
    Logic and function do not matter! Yeah, the inspector said, so I did.

    My Inspector wanted me to connect the breaker box ground to the telephone distribution box ground ... I said NO. High voltage and Low voltage have there own separate grounds and I was not going to mix them! He said ok then wanted me to ground to the gas pipe!? Again NO! NOT to the gas. I'll give you a ground to the water pipe. He decided I knew what I was doing and hasn't looked at any more electrical!

    was he testing you or was the inspector a dumb dumb? i hope he was testing you.

    note to all in general.
    grounding appliances and electrical equipment to a gas line is a big no-no. even grounding to copper water lines is somewhat frowned upon by some because it is not continuous and has joints of solder that increase ground path resistance and can melt and explode outward very quickly in some high current instances like lightning.
    edit to add:
    it is risky grounding to copper pipes nowadays with the advent of plastic pipes that can break the continuity altogether. most building codes allow the use of the plastic pipe, but often fail to address checking that it was not used for ground currents first. it is a problem when a homeowner decides to add plastic pipe or a ground to copper house plumbing without knowing the possible electrical aspect of doing so.
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: What does this wire do?
    was he testing you or was the inspector a dumb dumb? i hope he was testing you.
    Not sure on that one .... They do have another man who does mostly electrical though. :confused: The request to connect the telephone ground to breaker box ground was not a test. I offered to run another ground from the breaker box if he thought the ufer ground was insufficient. I believe that the telephone and the house current are separate electrical systems and, they should not be tied together!
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,072 admin
    Re: What does this wire do?

    I usually favor running multiple ground types (like AC, DC, telephone, etc.) back to a "single point" or ground window. As long as there are no "hidden ground connections" elsewhere (like a DC ground tied to AC ground/neutral)--that is usually pretty safe and you are not circulating ground currents anywhere (like large DC currents on AC wiring).

    Having a separate DC ground rod 6' from the AC ground rod--I am never sure that does anything useful.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • audredgeraudredger Solar Expert Posts: 272 ✭✭
    Re: What does this wire do?

    The way I look at it and, it may be wrong but, all the wire in my AC system is rated for 600 v. The telephone wire is rated for 25? v. If the ground rod does not make good contact with the earth and a current goes to the ground wire then, it may seek a ground through the telephone wiring.

    A couple of years ago the power company sagged there transmission line across the local distribution line. When they re energized the transmission line, in test mode, they sent 40,000 volts through the local distribution line every 8 seconds. Blew up transformers, burned poles and started several fires in my friends house. The point of ignition of all the fires was the telephone lines. When we replace the pole mounted service entrance. We found that the ground rod was only 3' long. Seems they hit a rock, then cut it off 1' above the ground. Phone & power were grounded to that poor ground. When the power could not find a good ground it looked to the phone line to go to ground.
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: What does this wire do?
    audredger wrote: »
    Not sure on that one .... They do have another man who does mostly electrical though. :confused: The request to connect the telephone ground to breaker box ground was not a test. I offered to run another ground from the breaker box if he thought the ufer ground was insufficient. I believe that the telephone and the house current are separate electrical systems and, they should not be tied together!

    I don't know from telephone systems, but code says that the EGC for the DC side of a PV array should be bonded to the grounding system of the AC side, doesn't it? What's the difference?
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: What does this wire do?

    Also, telephone companies tend to get upset if you mess with 'their' wiring. They've had to relinquish so much of their kingdom over the years ... Remember when phones were leased from the company and you weren't allowed your own?
  • russruss Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
    Re: What does this wire do?

    İf you think that is bad! Here in Turkey the telephone company provides one connection to an apartment building - downstream everything is done by contractors.

    On day 1 in a new building it is only a minor problem - after 20 years and dozens of different contractors you have such mishmash of wiring it is really difficult.:grr
  • toppertopper Solar Expert Posts: 113 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What does this wire do?

    In my past total rewiring of our house, the inspector required the main panel and the gas line to both be ground bonded to the city water line(copper) coming into the house. THERE MUST BE NO SPLICES IN EITHER OF THE 2 WIRES AND MUST BOND TO THE EXACT SAME POINT. ie 2 wires into 1 clamp. Life according to the inspector I had cheated and used 2 ground clamps, one for each wire on the water line side by side. It was denied.
  • SwordsmanSwordsman Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: What does this wire do?
    It's a good thing the installer was smarter than the inspector: on the side with the service panel there's a proper ground outside to a rod.
    Imagine if the plastic pipe was the only 'ground'!

    Actually for several years now the water pipes are not considered a ground but rather we're now bonding water pipes to the electrical system so as to carry fault current away from the water pipes. Grounding is now accomplished by bonding to a rebar in the foundation. The rationale was that it was imposible to determine consistantly that there was 20' of copper in contact with the earth and most homes now are served by pvc yard line.

    Grounding has been and remains one of the most confusing aspects of electrial work. Even after 40 years in electrical industry I've yet to see a consensus among inspectors about what constitutes a ground.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: What does this wire do?
    Swordsman wrote: »
    Grounding has been and remains one of the most confusing aspects of electrical work. Even after 40 years in electrical industry I've yet to see a consensus among inspectors about what constitutes a ground.

    Or among engineers or forum posters! :p

    And there's always the generic "out" used in installation manuals:
    Be sure unit is grounded in accordance to NEC and local regulations.
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