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Thread: Insulating plumbing / grouding wire

  1. #1
    DIY Member GG_Mass's Avatar
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    Default Insulating plumbing / grouding wire

    Hello,
    I'm covering the water pipes in my basement with insulation.
    At this point I'm doing the area by the main water entry, and that's where some electrical wire is present.
    There is one cable that gets in the way, and I want to know if it's Okay to wrap insulation - and by doing that, preventing it from coming with contact with the water pipes.
    This cable, essentially goes nowhere, is attached from one side to the plumbing and the other side goes behind the wooden board (see pictures) and hangs in the air.
    In image1 you can see the wire - the one that's going left ,
    in image2 you can see one of the areas where it touches the pipe, that's where insulation is going to come in, and will separate between the two.
    Image3 is where the wire just goes behind the wooden board and hangs there.
    Image4 is a general look at the area and the wire can be see going to the left and behind the board.

    Thanks for your time .
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    DIY Member GG_Mass's Avatar
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    2 quick notes :
    1.The title of the thread should be 'Insulating plumbing / grounding wire' , (not 'grouding').
    2. The order of the images got reversed, image1 is at the bottom, and counting up till image4 at the top.

    Thanks.

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    DIY Senior Member Murphy625's Avatar
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    First off, I'm a bit confused on what you're asking or showing. That said, if the wire (IE: Cable) you are asking about is the earth/plumbing ground wire, then the answer is NO... you can not remove it. That copper cable MUST make a solid connection between the metal water pipes and your earth grounding rod. Do not remove it.

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    DIY Senior Member Murphy625's Avatar
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    TESTING TESTING TESTING.

    Did my post make it?

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    DIY Junior Member Glennsparky's Avatar
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    After the clamp that attaches the wire to the pipe, the wire does not need to touch, or even be near, the pipe. The wire does need to be protected from physical damage.

    That wire either is, or was, part of your grounding electrode system. Grounding is a very important safety feature of your house. And without a functioning grounding electrode system surge protectors will not work. Personal safety, fire safety and your electronics all depend on the grounding system. An unattached wire is a big concern.

    Is one of the pipes in front of a panel box? Could you post a picture of the panel, from the front?

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    DIY Member GG_Mass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glennsparky View Post
    After the clamp that attaches the wire to the pipe, the wire does not need to touch, or even be near, the pipe. The wire does need to be protected from physical damage.

    That wire either is, or was, part of your grounding electrode system. Grounding is a very important safety feature of your house. And without a functioning grounding electrode system surge protectors will not work. Personal safety, fire safety and your electronics all depend on the grounding system. An unattached wire is a big concern.

    Is one of the pipes in front of a panel box? Could you post a picture of the panel, from the front?
    I can only guess that this was a grounding wire in the past, and has been thrown to the side for some reason. I'm not sure , as why would someone leave it hanging around like that instead of removing it altogether.
    As for the part of you answer that a grounding wire does have to be touching the piping besides the clamping point - that's the tip I was looking for.

    As for the general grounding system -
    There is one more wire, that I assume *is* the current working grounding wire, I will take more pics of that area, including the assumed working ground wire, and post them once home, It is 09:30 here, so it will be a few hours before that.

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    DIY Member GG_Mass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy625 View Post
    First off, I'm a bit confused on what you're asking or showing. That said, if the wire (IE: Cable) you are asking about is the earth/plumbing ground wire, then the answer is NO... you can not remove it. That copper cable MUST make a solid connection between the metal water pipes and your earth grounding rod. Do not remove it.
    True, I don't plan to remove that wire (Unless I am 100% certain it does not play a role in the grounding system anymore, see further down this page). What I'm doing is wrapping the basement pipes with insulation (Armacell Tubolit), and wanted to know if the wire, that's currently touching the pipes along it's length, can be separated from the pipe and after the work is done, will essentially be touching the insulation, rather then the copper pipe. In any case, the clamping point, of the wire to the piping is not going to be altered.

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    DIY Member GG_Mass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy625 View Post
    First off, I'm a bit confused on what you're asking or showing. That said, if the wire (IE: Cable) you are asking about is the earth/plumbing ground wire, then the answer is NO... you can not remove it. That copper cable MUST make a solid connection between the metal water pipes and your earth grounding rod. Do not remove it.
    True, I don't plan to remove that wire (Unless I am 100% certain it does not play a role in the grounding system anymore, see further down this page). What I'm doing is wrapping the basement pipes with insulation (Armacell Tubolit), and wanted to know if the wire, that's currently touching the pipes along it's length, can be separated from the pipe and after the work is done, will essentially be touching the insulation, rather then the copper pipe. In any case, the clamping point, of the wire to the piping is not going to be altered.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    VERY confusing. You have two grounding clamps on the water line but we cannot tell WHERE the wires go to. In the third picture, that looks more like a section of 1/4" copper tubing than a ground wire, but since we have no reference point cannot tell exactly what its o.d. is. THe only "complete" picture is the top one, and that shows a "rat's nest" of wires so we cannot trace them either to see where the start and stop.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Member GG_Mass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    VERY confusing. You have two grounding clamps on the water line but we cannot tell WHERE the wires go to. In the third picture, that looks more like a section of 1/4" copper tubing than a ground wire, but since we have no reference point cannot tell exactly what its o.d. is. THe only "complete" picture is the top one, and that shows a "rat's nest" of wires so we cannot trace them either to see where the start and stop.
    Indeed, you're right. It is a bit of a mess.

    One of the wires (the one I'm asking about), goes up 3 feet, curves behind the wooden board, and just hangs there.
    One of the wires in the rat's nest comes out of the water meter, goes to a plastic tube (not shown) and that's where it ends, I think it is connected to a device that transmits the water reading (not sure, this is a wild guess). But I do have a meter display outside the house, and there are no visible wiring connections between the inside of the house and that meter. Is my guess correct ? meaning, are such methods used ? of transmitting the meter reading wireless between the inside and outside meters ?

    When I'll get back home, I'll try to make it more clear, and take pictures of each wire and their route.

    My original inquiry is about (when viewing the top picture, or the top left if you're using a wide screen), the wire that runs up the 3/4" pipe, then , right where the insulation starts, cuts left and then runs behind the wooden board, where it just hangs in the air. I want to continue wrapping that 3/4" pipe with insulation, and will need to separate that wire from the 3/4" pipe, if that wire is deemed useless, I'll just take it out, if it does need to stay there - I need to make sure it's Okay to wrap it back to the insulation layer, rather then the way it is now, directly touching the 3/4" copper pipe.
    'Glennsparky', earlier in this thread, mentioned it is Okay to do so, as long as the wire has a point of clamping to the pipe which is not insulated. - which it does, further in the bottom.

    As said above , I will take more detailed pics and post them, later on today.
    Thank you for your time.

  11. #11
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    1. If that wire goes INTO the water meter, then it is probably the wire to the outside display. IF the other wire does not go anywhere, regardless of what it is touching, or where it is connected to the water line, then it is superfluous and can be removed.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Member GG_Mass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    1. If that wire goes INTO the water meter, then it is probably the wire to the outside display. IF the other wire does not go anywhere, regardless of what it is touching, or where it is connected to the water line, then it is superfluous and can be removed.
    I understand. That's good news.
    I took a series of pictures, but I guess I won't upload them now, being that we're clear on that. I'll upload a couple, of what I suspect is the grounding wire, and I have no intent of touching that one. It is not in the way of my work in any sense.

    On the top picture, you can see the wire coming out of the electrical panel, and, on the bottom one, you can see that wire coming out from the pvc/plastic tube, and running beneath the meter, I see that it's attached to the plumbing in two points.
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  13. #13
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The wire connected at two points is a jumper across the meter to maintain continuity. The one coiled around the meter is connected to the meter dial and is for the remote reader. They are two different wires. The wire in the PVC pipe is the ground from the panel box.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  14. #14
    DIY Member GG_Mass's Avatar
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    Yes, all clear. Thank you .
    I wonder why that free hanging wire was left there (the one that just climbs out of the meter , goes behind the wood board and just hangs free). It may have been an old ground wire or something of that sort.. who knows...

  15. #15
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    It is hard to say since none of the pictures show that entire wire, i.e., where it starts and its progression upwards until it goes behind the wall.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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