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We are installing a Whirlpool water softener in a new home with PEX water lines. The installation manual says to place the supplied ground clamp over both inlet and outlet water lines. As I mentioned they are PEX lines.

How does this ground or is the ground necessary if all lines are PEX?

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Ground any exposed metal of the actual unit you are installing. Make sure the other ends of the PEX lines are also grounded at their respective METAL parts. EG Boiler, Elelctric Wall shower, etc – ppumkin Oct 3 '11 at 11:13
Related question with details on the purpose of grounding across the water softener: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/5046/… – BMitch Oct 3 '11 at 11:14

Assuming this is a water softener that uses electricity, I presume that the ground clamp is put on the lines in the even that one of the lines would become energized, so that it would protect you if you touched the device (and also protects the device).

With PEX, such ground clamps would do nothing (as PEX won't energize) but to be 100% sure you should absolutely contact the manufacturer. Better safe than sorry.

Edit to add: You SHOULD ground the softener itself, if it uses electrical power, although odds are the electrical line hookup will do just that - you just don't need to ground the PEX lines as well.

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