New Plastic Pipes Won't Conduct Electricity. You'll Need New Grounding. : Plumbing and Drain Cleaning Blog

New Plastic Pipes Won't Conduct Electricity. You'll Need New Grounding.

by Aardvark Rooter on 05/09/16

Do you have an older home that now needs to be repiped? Before the piping job you may also have to think about electrical grounding and if the electrical grid for the house is attached to your current metal pipes.

For homes constructed in the last century plumbing pipes were made out of black iron, galvanized iron, or copper. Over time these pipes will begin to wear, usually degrading from the inside, and customers may request that these need to be replaced with modern materials made of plastic. Plastic pipes in short, tend to be a much better option. They are now used because they do not corrode, and are a quicker, inexpensive piping option. But you've got to consider your electrical grid when making your new piping change.

To some folks this may sound odd, but when metal was the prevalent material used in pipes, electricians would commonly ground your electrical panel by attaching it to your metal water pipes. So, what happens when your pipes are replaced? Well, they will need to have a new connection point that does not involve your plumbing, because of course, your new plastic pipes won't conduct the electricity. 

According to the National Electrical Code, wiring should no longer be connected to the plumbing due to the use of plastic as well as the non-conducive fittings. Your home’s electrical grid should now be connected to an independent grounding rod or rods that are connected your house’s foundation.

Grounding rods can be driven into the ground near your foundation. It is recommended that they go down 8 feet or further. An electrician can install these rods and connect them to your panel. There are also other ways to address this issue but you should look into this before you re-pipe your home.

We hope we've helped you to at least be aware of this issue, and if you upgrade to the better plastic piping, this could be a serious issue. You can read some more information about this from Copper.org. If you have additional plastic pipe, home safety, or any questions regarding plumbing please feel free to give Aardvark a call---ask for Fred!

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