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Old 02-24-2019, 02:53 PM   #1
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Voltage on my water pipes


I have a 5 volt charge on my copper water lines in my home and anything attached to the pipes.* Its not enough to shock me, but was found when a metal flex gas line was touching a water pipe on my hot water heater.* It had arched between the lines enough to burn a small hole in the gas line and flash up shaking the whole house.* Gas line was unhooked and have no charge on gas lines now, but no water heater.* I have had the electric company out twice, 2 master electricians, gas company, water company and even the cable company out.* Not one of them can find the cause.* The electric company even cut the wires coming in to the house from the service head and pulled the meter to check if it was their problem.* With no power attached to the house, it was still showing the 5 volts on the water lines.* Someone suggested it is EMF inducing a voltage in the pipes and replacing a foot of the copper coming into the house from the service with a pex line might open the circuit.* I don't know and need some advice, I have a plumber coming out this week to talk about it.* As of now its been 2 weeks without hot water and no one can help me.
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Old 02-24-2019, 03:07 PM   #2
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Voltage on my water pipes


5 volts from the water pipe to where? Voltmeters have 2 leads, where did the other one go? If itís only the gas line, then bond the two together with some #4 bare copper wire.
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Old 02-24-2019, 03:17 PM   #3
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Re: Voltage on my water pipes


between water pipes or anything connected to them (sink, faucet) and any ground (outlet neutral or the earth ground (wire outside running from service panel into the ground)

A question for you? The gas line had voltage on it because it was touching the water line, been separated and now no voltage on the gas. If they were bonded together, wouldn't there still be voltage between them or at least from them to ground? Isn't a voltage on the gas lines dangerous even if they are not arcing? Gas company said they would pull my service if I don't solve it and they of course have no suggestions. Thanks for the help
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Old 02-24-2019, 03:49 PM   #4
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Re: Voltage on my water pipes


Send me a private message
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Old 02-24-2019, 04:04 PM   #5
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Re: Voltage on my water pipes


new to site, how do i do that?
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Old 02-24-2019, 04:06 PM   #6
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Re: Voltage on my water pipes


Click my name and then hit message, I canít message you because you have them turned off
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Old 02-24-2019, 04:35 PM   #7
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Re: Voltage on my water pipes


is this real current or just a Ghost voltage.


If your in a voltage gradient ?
then fixing it will be much more difficult than you expect.
Only an experienced electrician
with a good understanding of the earthing system
will be able to fix this one
it's not a easy DIY !
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Old 02-24-2019, 06:14 PM   #8
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Re: Voltage on my water pipes


Go get two shark bite couplings, a few feet of pex, a tubing cutter, and a roll of 120 grit aluminum oxide sandpaper. Close your main water valve, cut out a foot of the copper pipe near your water meter, but it must be DOWN STREAM of your main shutoff valve. Clean up the ends, install the sharkbite couplings on both ends, stick one end of pex in, line it up with the center of the other coupling, cut, install.
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Old 02-24-2019, 07:29 PM   #9
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Re: Voltage on my water pipes


With the grounding electrode sstem (house electrical ground) propery assembled and the water and gas plumbing bonded to that you will ha not haved the 5 volts betweeen the gas pipe and ground.

Does the water heater use (120 volt) electricity, perhaps for a smart controller or exhaust fan? Most of thexpertise for which someone suggested hiring an electrician deals with finding an offending appliance that is leaking electrical current which then shows up on pipes or metal objects, and repairiong said appliance.
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Heat went off in the dead of winter? Excellent idea to be late or absent for work and to spend the day winterizing your house to keep pipes from freezing. Every house is different. For those of you not hit yet, think of what things you need to do.

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Old 02-24-2019, 07:36 PM   #10
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Re: Voltage on my water pipes


Quote:
Originally Posted by jph02 View Post
between water pipes or anything connected to them (sink, faucet) and any ground (outlet neutral or the earth ground (wire outside running from service panel into the ground)



A question for you? The gas line had voltage on it because it was touching the water line, been separated and now no voltage on the gas. If they were bonded together, wouldn't there still be voltage between them or at least from them to ground? Isn't a voltage on the gas lines dangerous even if they are not arcing? Gas company said they would pull my service if I don't solve it and they of course have no suggestions. Thanks for the help


Bonding eliminates any difference in potential. In most places the water pipe and the gas are bonded to ground per the AHJ.
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Old 02-25-2019, 12:48 AM   #11
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Re: Voltage on my water pipes


If you have voltage on your earth system with the power off,
then the voltage is coming in thru another source,
such as cable tv ground or telephone ground,
Or you are in a voltage gradient, which means the current is
coming in thru the ground soil from another nearby source
such as a local transformer or your neighbours electrical system.
Time to call in a good experienced electrician.
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Old 02-25-2019, 01:37 AM   #12
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Re: Voltage on my water pipes


Quote:
Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
If you have voltage on your earth system with the power off,
then the voltage is coming in thru another source,
such as cable tv ground or telephone ground,
Or you are in a voltage gradient, which means the current is
coming in thru the ground soil from another nearby source
such as a local transformer or your neighbours electrical system.
Time to call in a good experienced electrician.


Iím no expert but ^^^ this makes a lot of sense. You need to solve this problem, not put a band aid on it. Sounds like youíve explored many, many possibilities with many people but they havenít found your gremlin. I hope someone can.

My dad had a similarly weird problem, although didnít involve gas. Heíd get a slight shock on the outside water spigots at a simple cabin and it took some effort from experts to solve it. I will ask him what it ultimately was.


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Old 02-25-2019, 05:03 AM   #13
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Re: Voltage on my water pipes


Idk, I have a very hard time believing that 5v could burn through a gas line. More than likely the 5v was discovered after the boom and was unfairly blamed
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Old 02-25-2019, 09:14 AM   #14
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Re: Voltage on my water pipes


Quote:
Originally Posted by jph02 View Post
between water pipes or anything connected to them (sink, faucet) and any ground (outlet neutral or the earth ground (wire outside running from service panel into the ground)
This is the classic symptom of a lack of bonding between the water piping and the ground/neutral bar in the main panel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jph02 View Post
A question for you? The gas line had voltage on it because it was touching the water line, been separated and now no voltage on the gas. If they were bonded together, wouldn't there still be voltage between them or at least from them to ground? Isn't a voltage on the gas lines dangerous even if they are not arcing? Gas company said they would pull my service if I don't solve it and they of course have no suggestions. Thanks for the help
Voltage can only be measured when there is a voltage difference between the two objects. Stray voltage is hard to pinpoint and explain since voltage gradients exist everywhere. The easiest way to explain this is... Imagine two completely isolated items, both conductive. Item A might be at 1,000,000 volts. If item B is at the same voltage, 1,000,000, then a volt meter between them will read zero volts. If you were to increase the voltage on one of the items by say, 5 volts to 1,000,005 volts, the meter between them will now read 5 volts. This is, in a nutshell, how your power system operates. The voltage differential between the hot lead and the neutral tap on the transformer outside your house is 120 volts. What is happening in your basement is the water piping system in the house is at a different voltage that the neutral lead is. It could be 5 volts higher or 5 volts lower. Doesn't matter which, it is just different by that much. If the water piping is properly bonded to the neutral system the differential will go away. I suspect that the water heater is somehow properly bonded which explains the voltage differential you were reading.
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Old 02-25-2019, 10:09 AM   #15
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Re: Voltage on my water pipes


But how would all those ďprofessionalsĒ miss a water pipe ground?
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