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Thread: New Water Line - Should I Reduce Pipe Size For the Copper Ground?

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    DIY Junior Member AlexS's Avatar
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    Default New Water Line - Should I Reduce Pipe Size For the Copper Ground?

    I'm running 1 1/4" Poly 300' from the meter to the house. The main arterials inside the house are 3/4" which is adequate due to the house being 1,300 sq. w/ 1 bathroom and no outdoor irrigation. My question is whether there is any benefit to transitioning the 1 1/4" Poly to 1" copper for the last 10' of the new pipe entering the home. I'll be installing 10' of copper through the foundation to maintain a ground. I'm not sure if I should get 3/4" copper or 1" copper. My gut tells me 1" copper and then reduce to 3/4" after the shut-off.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You r gut may need Activia. You will get ZERO benefits from increasing the pipe size for that short distance, especially since the 3/4 inside the building appears to be adequate.
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    DIY Junior Member AlexS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    You r gut may need Activia. You will get ZERO benefits from increasing the pipe size for that short distance, especially since the 3/4 inside the building appears to be adequate.
    You mean no benefits using 1/1/4" 300' to the meter? Or no benefit reducing from 1 1/4" to 1" copper (10' ground), then to 3/4" once inside the house? Oh, Activia? That's hillarious!!
    Last edited by AlexS; 10-23-2013 at 03:37 PM. Reason: minor grammer change.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    There is a benefit to going 1-1/4" on the water service.
    At the house it's being reduced anyway. However, if you are looping the copper in, I like the 1"
    In the Seattle area, they want two grounding rods for the electrical. We quit using the copper supply for a ground years ago. The copper is still bonded though.
    When we repipe, we make sure the electrician properly grounds the main panel with two grounding rods before we cut any pipe.
    Last edited by Terry; 10-25-2013 at 08:47 AM.

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    DIY Junior Member AlexS's Avatar
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    In the Seattle area, they want two grounding rods for the electrical. We quit using the copper supply for a ground years ago. The copper is still boned though.
    When we repipe, we make sure the electrtian properly grounds the main panel with two grounding rods before we cut any pipe.
    The ground is actually for the Hot Water tank because the HW tank is located at the opposite end of the basement from the electrical panel. What did you mean by the copper is still "boned" though? Was that a typo?

    Thanks for your help!

    "bonded", not bone. I was cow brained when I typed that.
    Last edited by Terry; 10-25-2013 at 08:48 AM.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; Or no benefit reducing from 1 1/4" to 1" copper (10' ground), then to 3/4" once inside the house?

    He meant "bonded". I said "short distance". 300' is NOT a short distance. You need the 1 1/4" to the building, you do NOT need 1" into the building if it is only going to be ten feet or so. I don't think the Activia is working yet. One reason for the ground rods rather then the copper water lines for grounding is that, the installers can no longer depend on the integrity of a copper system since may repairs to it could be made with plastic piping thus destroying the path to ground, plus the copper main line, which would be a major component of a "pipe grounded system" could be plastic also and thus ineffective. The electricians had to mark their entrance panels "Non metallic water line" when the main line was plastic.
    Last edited by hj; 10-24-2013 at 06:42 AM.
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    DIY Junior Member AlexS's Avatar
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    He meant "bonded".
    Makes sense now.

    I said "short distance". 300' is NOT a short distance. You need the 1 1/4" to the building
    I thought that's what you really meant.

    you do NOT need 1" into the building if it is only going to be ten feet or so.
    I thought a gradual transition from 300' of 1 1/4" Poly to 1" for the last 10' before going through the foundation to 3/4" inside the house might be a good idea. I guess my gut thought the water would hit somewhat of a wall going from 1 1/4" to 3/4".

    Poly is not approved in Seattle through the foundation. PEX is. What do you think about PEX through the foundation or should I go with a solid pipe like copper?
    Last edited by AlexS; 10-25-2013 at 06:42 AM.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If the pipe is full of water, it is not moving like a depleted uranium slug so there it does not 'hit a wall" when the pipe size reduces. That only occurs when the pipe is initially filled and the water is evacuating the air in from of it. Then the water is moving like a cylindrical slug mowing down anything in its path and will react to a major reduction in size. As for your other question, you originally specified copper since it was part of the electrical ground, if so, then you cannot use plastic of any kind for the initial portion of the piping which goes from the building to the PVC.
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    DIY Junior Member AlexS's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    If the pipe is full of water, it is not moving like a depleted uranium slug so there it does not 'hit a wall" when the pipe size reduces. That only occurs when the pipe is initially filled and the water is evacuating the air in from of it. Then the water is moving like a cylindrical slug mowing down anything in its path and will react to a major reduction in size.
    Thank you

    As for your other question, you originally specified copper since it was part of the electrical ground, if so, then you cannot use plastic of any kind for the initial portion of the piping which goes from the building to the PVC.
    Your gut seems to be working fine. Nice pickup on the grounding issue. Currently there is about 4' of galvanized coming in the home with the original shut-off plus 300' of galvanized to the meter. The HW tank is the only remaining item grounded to the galvanized cold water supply entering the house. (it is a long run from the HW tank to the panel so I grounded the HW tank to the remaining galvanized after changing the arteries to PEX becuase the HW tank is close to the main water supply) I would need to ground the HW tank back to the panel if I use PEX rather than copper coming through the foundation. Maybe Copper is better through the foundation rather than PEX? Thus my general query about PEX vs copper through the foundation and if one material was better than the other in meaningful ways. Thank you.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The heater is usually grounded by the "third wire" in the supply line cable. Few installers us a 10/2, less ground, wire.
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    DIY Junior Member AlexS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    The heater is usually grounded by the "third wire" in the supply line cable. Few installers us a 10/2, less ground, wire.
    1950 wiring to HW tank; two hot wires in conduit from the panel and no ground.

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    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
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    Metallic conduit (EMT)? That does the grounding.

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    DIY Junior Member AlexS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reach4 View Post
    Metallic conduit (EMT)? That does the grounding.
    Makes sense.

    If the conduit grounds the HW tank to the panel, what was the purpose of the ground wire going from the HW tank to the cold water pipe? Before I changed to PEX inside, there was a ground wire attached to the top of the HW tank on one end and the cold water pipe on the other end. (cold water was galvanized and ran though the foundation into the ground) Bonding perhaps? The cold and hot lines also had a ground wire between them too.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    There are a lot of 1950 electrial issues that have required changes.
    You didn't get outlets with the third slot for a ground either.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    1950s wiring could be BX which is NOT an approved 'grounding method" and you might only have #12 wires because those heaters were 1500 and 2000 watt inputs, not the 4500 we have today.
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