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Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 75
out here in crazy California we are starting to see more and more houses plumbed with the plastic "Pex" tubing. It makes bonding the water system a little difficult. We have been bonding the 6" copper stub out where the water main comes into the house. I was just curious what other peoples thoughts and comments are on the subject. The inspectors around here don't really have much to say about it.

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
Don't confuse the requirement to bond the Grounding Electrode (250.50)and the requirement to bond the metal water pipe(250.104).
250.50 requires you to bond that 6" metal stub from outside, but if there aren't any metal water pipes inside, then 250.104 is moot.

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
PEX is making inroads here, but traditional copper pipe is still the norm for internal plumbing in most houses.

However, plumbers are increasingly using plastic push-fit couplings instead of either soldered joints or brass compression fittings, which means that in many cases we have to go around with pipe clamps and short lengths of bonding cable to jumper across the joins.

Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
Just out of curiosity, who insures the water pipe is metal, and is over 10' long?

Where you or the inspector there when they put it in?

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 276
We had the same issue at a concrete tilt-up business park we did from the ground up. The copper plumbing exited the wall outside each suite, and became 2" pvc before it hit the dirt. Solution? Ufer grounds. But it was still quite silly to have to put ground clamps on the copper pipes which really went nowhere, just for show & inspection.

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
If your copper water pipe is less than 10 feet, then it does not qualify as a grounding electrode, and does not need to be bonded. Regardless, supplemental ground rods need to be installed. I understand the origional reason for requiring supplemental ground rods when the only GE on the job is a metal water pipe is this scenario you have just described. One cannot rely upon the metal water pipe to be in contact with the earth for 10 feet, nor can it be relied on to stay metal.

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 272
When my house was built last summer, pex was used. Grounding was achived with a Ufer and an additional ground rod for compliance.

Luke Clarke
Electrical Planner for TVA.

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
PEX is the greatest stuff ever- it's so cheap and so easy (especially considering copper prices now! $30 for 5' of 3/4" thin-wall cu pipe?) that it won't be long before it's used exclusively. We'd best just get used to it- if the GCs think about it, the foundation rebar would be a perfect electrode in place of the pipes.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,770
Likes: 14
I haven't seen any copper in Florida new construction in 20 years. Cape Coral's lawsuits over pinholed copper was the death knell to anyone who might have wanted to do it. CPVC is the norm but some use PEX on a Maniblock system.
My wife's half million dollar homes (and up) are CPVC. They don't bond anything except the pool but this year Florida is requiring the steel studs get bonded. A metal box somewhere in each wall section will suffice.

Greg Fretwell

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