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Old 09-18-2009, 10:10 AM   #1
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water bonding with pex


How do you bond your ground when the house uses pex or plastic water supply? I was wondering about this.

Also I have been thinking about running a pex water line to my garage which has a sub panel. I assume I still need to ground this someway? If so how do I go about bonding this?

Thanks, Scott

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Old 09-18-2009, 10:45 AM   #2
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water bonding with pex


You do not bond plastic water lines.

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Old 09-18-2009, 10:58 AM   #3
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water bonding with pex


Hey OP. I am thinking about replacing my water line from the street to the house. Someone told me this PEX was the best way to go. I like the idea of zero couplings. It will be a straight run all the way from meter to inside of basement. What are you paying per foot? I will need about 250' at 3/4". Thanks John

Ps.....You do not bond plastic water lines. Just bond to the ground rods and or UFER.
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:47 PM   #4
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water bonding with pex


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How do you bond your ground when the house uses pex or plastic water supply?
Here, we haven't allowed the use of water piping as a ground for decades. It's ground rods or ufer if new construction.

Bonding is another issue. Lately, lots of existing interior piping systems, both water and gas, are getting broken up during remodel because so many plumbers are using non metallic pipe these days.

I believe the code says that the metallic pipe shall be bonded "where exposed" or something like that which is very open to interpetation since the short copper stubs on a pex system are exposed as well as the water heater stubs.
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:28 PM   #5
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water bonding with pex


Bonding and grounding aren't the same. A water service pipe must be used as a grounding electrode conductor when available...That's grounding. If it is pex, it isn't an acceptable grounding electrode conductor so you don't have to use it as a ground. The grounding system gives lightning a path to ground.

Bonding metallic gas and water piping systems within the home is required. This is where it probably gets a little interpretive. Even with a pex service line, a house that is piped in copper should probably be bonded (not grounded). If it were to somehow become energized there's no way for the fault to clear a breaker since it isn't bonded to the grounding system.
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:30 PM   #6
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water bonding with pex


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Here, we haven't allowed the use of water piping as a ground for decades. It's ground rods or ufer if new construction.
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haven't allowed it? It is required by the NEC.
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:36 PM   #7
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haven't allowed it? It is required by the NEC.
Yup. Gotta have it when the water service is metallic.
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Old 09-18-2009, 05:38 PM   #8
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water bonding with pex


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Bonding metallic gas and water piping systems within the home is required. This is where it probably gets a little interpretive. Even with a pex service line, a house that is piped in copper should probably be bonded (not grounded). If it were to somehow become energized there's no way for the fault to clear a breaker since it isn't bonded to the grounding system.
I believe code states all metallic <objects?> that may become energized must be bonded.250.4 A 4

that typically includes metal siding, steel duct work, and metal water pipe.

the fact is, it must be bonded to a GE system so it is also being grounded as well.


to the gas pipe; do you have a citation for that requirement? If I remember correctly, the code states that the EGC of the circuit that supplies the appliance that uses the gas is acceptable as the bonding/grounding of the gas piping. I just can't find it anymore.
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Old 09-18-2009, 09:17 PM   #9
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water bonding with pex


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to the gas pipe; do you have a citation for that requirement? If I remember correctly, the code states that the EGC of the circuit that supplies the appliance that uses the gas is acceptable as the bonding/grounding of the gas piping. I just can't find it anymore.
Very true if the gasline hits a furnace. I've always thought that way as well, and the code agrees. However, if there's just a gas water heater or just a fireplace (etc) you have to bond it. The inspector would have discretion as to whether or not the gasline is capable of becoming energized.

2003 IRC section E3509.7 Bonding to other metal piping:
Where installed in or attached to a building or structure, metal piping systems, including gas piping, capable of becoming energized shall be bonded to the service equipment enclosure, the grounded conductor at the service, the grounding electrode conductor where of sufficient size, or to one or more grounding electrodes used. The bonding jumper shall be sized in accordance with table E3808.12 using the rating of the circuit capable of energizing the piping. The equipment grounding conductor for the circuit that is capable of energizing the piping shall be permitted to serve as the bonding means. The points of attachment of the bonding jumper(s) shall be accessible.

Sorry, don't have an NEC at the house. The I-codes pretty much cite the NEC verbatim in most cases though.

The code makes it very clear that a metal gas pipe cannot serve as a grounding electrode like a metal water line must.
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Old 09-19-2009, 08:58 AM   #10
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water bonding with pex


Two situations:

1. You are bonding the electrical system to the plumbing system because the main water line exiting the house is the grounding electrode,

2. You are bonding the plumbing system to the electrical system, the latter having a rod or other plumbing as the grounding electrode.

"Gas plumbing is never situation #1."

For a plastic main water line exiting the house or detached garage, situation #1 cannot apply.

It is possible to bond "isolated" metal portions of the plumbing system separated by plastic components by running ground wires more or less following the route of the plumbing through the house. As stated above, you can connect the ground wire for the isolated metal plumbing to the ground wire of certain nearby circuits* rather than run it all the way to the basement.

* A circuit that would be the cause if the person touching the plumbing in question were to be in danger of electrocution.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 09-19-2009 at 09:22 AM.
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