Electrical panel ground bonded to water pipe

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evolution2147

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Hello, I am in process of getting my house ready to sell and I had a question pertaining to how the ground wiring from my electric panel is bonded to the copper water piping. The ground wires used to come through the drywall and clamp to the cold line on the water heater. When I put a tankless water heater in I moved the clamp to the inside of the drywall because it looked cleaner. It still attaches to the same pipe, it is just on the other side of the drywall.

I am trying to make sure I am not blindsided during a home inspection. Does this bond need to be clearly visible or is it acceptable how I have it?

Thanks for the help
 

Breplum

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not an electrician. I think it is supposed to be visible and I think that either a ufer or ground rod are needed.
 

wwhitney

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If the water service coming to your house is metallic, and you have at least 10' of underground metal water pipe, then your underground water pipe is a grounding electrode, and you must connect to it within 5' of its entering the house, and the connection must be accessible. The other end of the wire (called the Grounding Electrode Conductor) goes to the neutral service conductor at the service disconnect or anywhere on the utility side of the service disconnect.

If your water pipe does not qualify as a grounding electrode, either because the water service isn't metallic, or because it's not buried for at least 10', then you instead need a bonding conductor to the metal water piping system. The bond can connect anywhere within that piping system, and the other end of the bonding wire can go to any convenient EGC (ground). I don't know if that bonding connection is required to be accessible.

If you have metallic hot and cold water piping, and if the water heater itself interrupts continuity (e.g. a dielectric fitting), then you would also need to bond around the water heater to maintain continuity. That bond would presumably be accessible, although again I don't know if it is required to be accessible.

In all of the above cases, you will need to have a different grounding electrode, which could be 2 ground rods, or a concrete encased electrode (Ufer), or one of the other electrodes listed in Article 250 of the NEC.

Cheers, Wayne
 

evolution2147

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I am not too worried about the ground rods, I am assuming the house was built to code for the 1980's. The other houses I have visited on my block seem to be the same, a garage water heater with the grounding wires attaching to the inlet side of the water heater. The wall was a mess so I cleaned it up and also put the bonding clamp inside the wall. Not sure why I did that.

This is a pretty old photo before I cleaned things up.
IMG_0300.jpeg
 

WorthFlorida

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Cut the dry wall and install an access panel.

 

Jeff H Young

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Im not an electrition but assume the thousand or so Ive seen bonded outside the drywall have a reason they chose to have it exposed . My wild guess is its not coincedntal . typically they are exposed. like almost every house I go in looks like your photo
 

wwhitney

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If your water pipe does not qualify as a grounding electrode, either because the water service isn't metallic, or because it's not buried for at least 10', then you instead need a bonding conductor to the metal water piping system. The bond can connect anywhere within that piping system, and the other end of the bonding wire can go to any convenient EGC (ground). I don't know if that bonding connection is required to be accessible.
OK, my previous post was from memory, and I didn't recall the last detail above. But indeed, for bonding connections to metal water piping system, NEC 250.104(A)(1) says in part "The points of attachment of the bonding jumper(s) shall be accessible."

So if the OP has any such connections hidden behind drywall, an access panel as WorthFlorida suggested needs to be cut in.

Cheers, Wayne
 
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