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Thread: Bonding two sections of copper pipe with PEX between them?

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    DIY Senior Member BimmerRacer's Avatar
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    Default Bonding two sections of copper pipe with PEX between them?

    Most of the house is copper. I replumbed a portion for master bath, two hose bibs and basement bath using Uponor manifold system. I transition back to copper for the basement bath, and hose bibs.

    Do these copper segments need to be bonded back to the main supply before it first transitions to PEX? I saw something about 5' rule but didn't quite understand it.

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    The first five feet is if it is an electrode or if there is at least ten feet in contact with earth.

    With the introduction of the nonmetallic piping in your system there is not need to bond any part of the metal water pipe unless there is an electrode as outlined above.

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    DIY Senior Member BimmerRacer's Avatar
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    Thank you. I recently reconnected supply to the basement bath and discovered that I get "energized" water when I turn on the vanity light switch. I verified that it's not in my hand by touching hot wire and copper pipe with electrical tester. I plan to remove drywall and look at the romex supplying that vanity light. Since nothing else has changed in terms of elecrical or plumbing in that room, could this problem have been masked by the fact that old pipes were all copper and therefore grounded? The vanity light wall box is metal and is supplied with 14/2 wire with ground. The position of the box is likely that it's touching the copper pipe, but I do not know for sure right now, until I open up the wall

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Touching you meter to the hot wire and the metal water pipe and reading a voltage in no way means that your water is energized.

    What it does mean is that the hot wire is energized.

    Pure H2O does not conduct current but we all know that even distilled water has impurities and some of these impurities will conduct current. I would be expecting to get a voltage reading when reading to a water pipe if somewhere on that water pipe there is a connection back to the service. Should there be a water heater that is wired to the service the equipment grounding conductor of that circuit is more than enough to complete the path and give a voltage reading in the application you have described.

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    DIY Senior Member BimmerRacer's Avatar
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    So, I ripped out the drywall and the metal box from the vanity light was definitely touching the copper pipe. Romex wire looks fine now that the box is not touching I don't get zapped nor get any reading on the tester when I touch hot wire and the pipe.

    before and after




  6. #6

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    Good detective work!

    Now what was the cause?

    There should be a wire clamp on the wire going to that box which prevents the sharp metal of the box from cutting into the wire.

    Or perhaps there was a loose wire on the light fixture touching the metal of the fixture, then that was connected to the electrical box via the screws, and then to the pipe?

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