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Old 11-16-2012, 06:57 PM   #1
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Electrical outlet receptacle touching copper hydro pipe

Hi everyone
I just had an outlet installed in the joists of a unfinished basement to allow me to plug in a new washing machine. I just noticed that due to space constraints the electrician placed the metal box of the outlet right against the main water line which is made of copper.
I will admit to knowing little about electrical code but this doesn't seem right. If anyone is familiar with electrical code and could help me out it would be greatly appreciated.


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Old 11-16-2012, 06:58 PM   #2
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Just to expand on the message above. The copper water main and metal outlet box are touching.


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Old 11-16-2012, 07:10 PM   #3
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Not a problem. Should be a GFCI recepticle though.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:21 PM   #4
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The two metals should not be touching. The copper pipe will eventually corrode either from vibration or from galvanic action of two dissimilar metals.
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:43 PM   #5
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Push a shim between the 2 metals.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:12 PM   #6
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Actually in a properly built electrical system, the metal outlet box and the water pipe are "touching" in a roundabout or indirect manner even if they are not in direct contact with each other; that is referred as being bonded.

Aside for corrosion due to galvanic action (requires being wet or in a humid atmosphere), their "touching" is perfectly okay.

The metal box is bonded to the breaker panel either by the ground wires (equipment grounding conductors) in the Romex cables going from box to box, or by the metal conduits going from box to box. The panel is bonded to the plumbing system by a fat ground wire coming out and attached to one of the water pipes. This fat ground wire is called a grounding electrode conductor when it is attached to a metal main water pipe exiting the building underground; otherwise it is called a bonding jumper. Where plastic pipe is used, isolated sections of metal pipe should have bonding jumpers going between them.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-16-2012 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:59 AM   #7
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Thanks for everyone's reply. Does anyone know if this is compliant with the electrical code?
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:01 AM   #8
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Some inspectors will fail it due to the fact you are in contact with dissimilar metals. There is nothing to fear electrically, but the plumbing pipe will prematurely fail.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:27 AM   #9
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Just turn off the circuit and move the box.


Ren: Now listen, Cadet. I've got a job for you. See this button? Ren: Don't touch it! It's the History Eraser button, you fool! Stimpy: So what'll happen? Ren: That's just it. We don't know. Maybe something bad, maybe something good. I guess we'll never know, 'cause you're going to guard it. You won't touch it, will you?
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copper pipe , electric , receptacle , water

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