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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello I'm new to this forum and i was wondering about how dangerous it is grounding a neutral wire to a water pipe? I was at a friends house today checking out his utilities closet out of curiosity. I stumbled upon a white wire and green wire clamped together with a grounding clamp onto the water pipe of his gas water heater. I think it might be the hot water side. the wires were definitely not within 5 feet of the water pipe coming in from the street. they were within 5 feet of the water heater and the electrical box, thats about it.

I've been researching into house wiring and this white wire which could be neutral could be acting as a neutral back up and the green is ground? The white wire appears to be aluminum, small gauge maybe 12-14 and is hard to trace back to the source because it zig zags. it seems to disappear behind the electrical box. of course i touched the water pipe before i noticed grounding clamp up at the ceiling of the basement. I know the neutral wire is apart of carrying the current for the circuit. I tried to explain to my friend that wire clamped onto that pipe could be a potential danger, but i wasn't taken seriously. how dangerous is this wiring set up? hes been living there for a while, so far so good? It just doesn't appear that wiring set up is correct though.
 

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JOATMON
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If it makes you feel any better....grounding and neutral are one of the most misunderstood parts of electricity.

The neutral should 'only' be grounded to ground at the main load center (circuit breaker panel). The water pipe connection is ground only.

In addition, you need two ground rods 6' apart also connected to the water pipe.
 

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What ever it is its not to code. A white wire is never bonded to a water pipe. Even if it was a ground or a jumper bond, its not allowed to be white.


Now if that white really is caring current that is dangerous. You now have current flowing water pipes, under the right conditions those pipes could become live. 120 volts while someone is bathing or washing hands can be lethal. Its those types of code violations that are responsible for so many fatalities and house fires, not properly installed systems.
 

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It was common years ago for the ground to connect to the water line very close to the panel.

Whether the white is creating an issue is going to require detective work to find out where it comes from and the purpose.
 

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It was common years ago for the ground to connect to the water line very close to the panel.

Whether the white is creating an issue is going to require detective work to find out where it comes from and the purpose.

It is still not complaint. #14 or 12 is not sufficient for any water bond. Plus he says white and green, if theses are two conductors in parallel that also wont work.
 

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Copper or steel pipe?
Main reason I ask is dissimilar metals do not play well together in addition to the other issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
copper piping. there was a gray phone line grounded onto another copper pipe right next to it. there was a tag saying something about not touching and call the phone company. i'll have to take a closer look at these wires. i have a multimeter, would i be able to check the voltage off the white wire?
 

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Hello I'm new to this forum and i was wondering about how dangerous it is grounding a neutral wire to a water pipe? I was at a friends house today checking out his utilities closet out of curiosity. I stumbled upon a white wire and green wire clamped together with a grounding clamp onto the water pipe of his gas water heater. I think it might be the hot water side. the wires were definitely not within 5 feet of the water pipe coming in from the street. they were within 5 feet of the water heater and the electrical box, thats about it.

I've been researching into house wiring and this white wire which could be neutral could be acting as a neutral back up and the green is ground? The white wire appears to be aluminum, small gauge maybe 12-14 and is hard to trace back to the source because it zig zags. it seems to disappear behind the electrical box. of course i touched the water pipe before i noticed grounding clamp up at the ceiling of the basement. I know the neutral wire is apart of carrying the current for the circuit. I tried to explain to my friend that wire clamped onto that pipe could be a potential danger, but i wasn't taken seriously. how dangerous is this wiring set up? hes been living there for a while, so far so good? It just doesn't appear that wiring set up is correct though.

It is NOT safe !
And it is not up to code !
And there is a valid reason for this,
Under some circumstances your pipes will become live or hot,
That is dangerous !
All neutral wires need to go back to your main panel and be terminated
only on the proper neutral bar.

If you cannot do it yourself ? get an electrician to do it !
A S A P !
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I haven't been able to update this lately until i went back to my friends house again. We traced the wires and the white wire disappears into a stud and the green one seems to go into a wall. Im not sure how much further we can trace them unless we tear some parts of the wall off. Both of them are grounded onto the hot water side of the water heater, that part is 100% certain.
 

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If your wiring system is obsolete, with no equipment grounding, those wires may be going to receps as an equipment ground. In any event the cold water should be used, not the hot water.
 

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This thread is out of control!

I think a lot more is being read into this than there is. A white wire does not automatically mean neutral, and there are many cable installers (just for example) who will use what ever wire they have at the time and clamp their grounds onto the nearest pipe they see.

More information is needed here.
 
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