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This answer indicates that the water pipes should bonded to the electrical ground even if a grounding rod is used. How would one normally tell if that is the case? Is that bonding required to be accessible, or can it be hidden behind walls or buried? Where in the water system would it normally be bonded (e.g., before the main water shutoff, after, at the hot water tank)?

I recently had my electrical panel relocated and replaced, and don't recall seeing anything running from the panel to a water pipe - in the old panel or new. The electrician put in an intersystem bonding bridge, so the new ground rod, ground from the panel, and ground from the cable service are connected to it. I suppose that's where the bond from the water pipe would go?

  • In our area they require the bonding to be attached to the main water supply before the main shut-off for the house. They also require a bonding jumper across the main valve, and at the hot water heater. – Tyson Dec 5 '16 at 20:12
  • In our area, all bonding must be accessible for inspection. It cannot be hidden behind walls or buried. – RedGrittyBrick Dec 5 '16 at 20:17
  • NEC requires the bonding of metal pipes within 5' from the entrance point. – Ed Beal Dec 5 '16 at 20:26
  • What are your pipes made of? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 5 '16 at 23:33
  • @ThreePhaseEel our meter is on pvc I think, but in the house they're copper – mmathis Dec 6 '16 at 0:13
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My cold water piping is bonded to the panel at the cold supply of the clothes washer. The hot piping is presumably electrically connected to the cold through the brass mixing valves of the shower and tub. There is negligible resistance between the cold and hot pipes at the washer supply valves.

Following Tyson's link I see my kitchen and lavatory faucets are not bonded because they are connected with non-conducting flexible supply lines; an ohmmeter test confirms this. I tested this by plugging an extension cord into an outlet and measuring the resistance between the ground of the cord and the point under test.

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As long as there is water in your plumbing system, there is no way to electrically determine if your electrical system is bonded to your plumbing, since the water inside the pipes (even if PEX) will conduct electricity such that any two points tested between electrical ground and plumbing will be close enough to zero to count as such. To perform a test with an ohmmeter, you would have to drain the plumbing system (generally not really that difficult) and then do the test. I would do the test between the load center ground (case is good enough) and incoming water supply pipe. Doing the test between the load center and some other point in the plumbing system would not reveal if the bonding was done at a point in the plumbing on the house side of a flexible sleeve, which, unfortunately, is done far too often.

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