Should I connect ground rod to outdoor water faucet?

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by AF5FH, Feb 5, 2012.

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  1. AF5FH

    AF5FH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    My end fed antenna connects to a Wireman CQ 878 (spark plug lightning arrestor) at top of ground rod (and then goes through brick exterior wall to knife switch and manual antenna tuner). The ground rod is clamped to the pipe feeding my house breaker panel through about 25 feet of #6 solid copper. (Right below where the cable TV and telephone folks attached their clamp.)

    The brass outdoor water faucet for that side of the house is about 2 feet through air to the top of the ground rod.

    Should I connect the ground rod to the outdoor water faucet? If I did this, I would use brass clamps and solid copper wire.

    By the way, this ground rod is also my RF ground for my tuner. The 84 foot long end fed wire loads on all bands from 80 to 10 meters.
  2. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    How old is your house? Is the pipe to the faucet metal "all the way" or is it partway PVC.

    Actually, even if the pipe is metal, the joint compound used in the pipe couplings is a very good electrical insulator and there may not be much of an actual ground presented by the water pipe.

    Years ago, a cold water pipe was considered to be an excellent ground. Today, not so much!

    Glen, K9STH
  3. AF5FH

    AF5FH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Glen, my DMM says the ground rod and the outside water faucet are already connected (<0.5 ohms) even though I have not connected them. So I am guessing the pipe is metal all the way under the slab.

  4. K4SAV

    K4SAV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Building code calls for the plumbing inside the house to be grounded. You can probably find a wire somewhere going from the plumbing to the ground at the electrical entrance. The pipes under the slab and in the gravel are probably encased in a PVC sleeve to keep the concrete and other stuff off them, so they won't have much coupling to the slab (except at high frequencies). The pipe from the house to the street could be iron or PVC. I think most newer houses have PVC. So the water pipe is not likely to be a better ground than the wire you now have. The wire grounding the plumbing is probably longer than your wire. Also you don't want lightning current directed inside your house and a connection of your radio ground to the faucet would create that. That might also create a hazard for someone using the faucet during a lightning strike.

    Jerry, K4SAV
  5. AC0FP

    AC0FP Ham Member QRZ Page

    My telephone company (SBC) company connected their ground wire to my outside facet.
  6. AF5FH

    AF5FH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks, Jerry.

    I don't want to increase the danger if there is nearby lightning, so I will not add a wire between the ground rod and the outdoor faucet.

    Jim KF5MMY
  7. VK4KGW

    VK4KGW Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's a very dodgy short cut imho
  8. N0SYA

    N0SYA Ham Member QRZ Page

    A sparkplug lightning arrestor might be ok for all tube gear but not solid state. It would arc over after the solid state devices went tango uniform.
  9. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't quite understand. You have an outdoor ground rod? For safety, that SHOULD be electrically (and very well mechanically) tied to that "water faucet" and the electrical entry point ground used by the contractor for electrical service. Anything less is dangerous, and increases the probability of damage due to an electromagnetic discharge, even if it's not a direct hit. It also can pose a hazard even without a lightning strike in the vicinity.
  10. K8MHZ

    K8MHZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    It may also be the law. If you are under the jurisdiction of the National Electrical Code, then all ground systems at your house need to be effectively bonded together in order to be legal.

    The phrase effectively bonded addresses conductor size and type and connector type. If you are bonding a single grounding electrode you need no more than a #6 copper, although I prefer #4. Other electrodes will be sized according to the size of your electrical service.

    If you KNOW that the water pipe is continuous and effectively bonded to your AC mains neutral/ground connection, it's fine to use that as a conductor connecting the two systems together, using approved methods.
  11. K4SAV

    K4SAV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Most building codes are concerned with safety problems involving faults on 60 Hz circuits. Using connections to plumbing can solve these problems because there is very little voltage drop thru plumbing pipes. Not true for lightning currents. Most people don't have a clue as to the plumbing routing inside their house or how it is connected to the AC ground. Take a look at the attached picture. Suppose it happened to be like this. Why would anyone add the red wire which allows lightning current to flow thru the house on the plumbing. Without the red wire there is no path for that to happen.

    Jerry, K4SAV

    Attached Files:

  12. AD5ND

    AD5ND Ham Member QRZ Page

    You could but the ground for 60hz service is much different than RF ground. With a 84' end fed antenna the house wiring ground will become half of your antenna system.
  13. AF5FH

    AF5FH XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks again for the feedback everyone.

    I am not going to connect my ground rod to the outside water faucet. Jerry has convinced me that would be a bad idea. I will rely on the #6 copper wire between my ground rod and the utility ground at my breaker panel for safety.

    Jim, KF5MMY
  14. K9KJM

    K9KJM Ham Member QRZ Page

    As already pointed out, All of your grounds, AND your plumbing system need to be bonded together.

    I kind of missed just how far away your ground rod is from the faucet? 25 feet? If so, The way I would do that is to add another ground rod near the faucet, And then bond the rods together.

    I would not simply run a wire from your existing rod to the faucet, Especially if you only have one rod now.......

    (Ground rods should be spaced about twice the distance apart as the depth. (8 foot deep rods spaced about 16 or so feet apart)

    The nice heavy copperclad rods sell in most discount home supply stores for about 10 bucks each. Cheap insurance to just add another rod.
    A basic of grounding and bonding is that each system (Electric entrance, Mast etc) should go to it's OWN ground rod first, Then bond the rods together.
  15. WD5JOY

    WD5JOY Ham Member QRZ Page

    My old shack in Chino, CA had galvanized pipes - replaced with copper from meter to the "pot" (aka: toilet).

    Right at the water meter and running TO the electrical service location was a "gotta have it" #4 'naked' copper wire connecting the two 'services'. Water meter in the ground -- electrical service conduit firmly planted in the ground -- hooked together --- just as the OP presented. No, it is NOT exactly the same situation since he may not know if ALL his water pipes are something other than PVC / PEX / ETC., but the 'ideas' are parallel. Yup, it may be "the code" they follow in Chino, CA, but all in all it ain't a 'bad idea' to 'hook 'em up' (IMHO, of course!:) Other opinions weigh the same as mine .... they are 'opinions' and valid as such).:cool:

    The inspector double-checked that the two were in fact connected and that it did not simply have the 'appearance' of being done. No 'fake connections' going into the ground and not really connected by the contractor, " save a few pennies in copper cost", as the inspector said to me.

    I would bet a fair sum that many older and perhaps even newer homes (no matter where they are built) done in anything besides PVC / PEX / ETC. have this 'connection' between "water and electric" services. It may not be visible - it may be 'code specific' for said locations, but I would bet it is there since underground anything is possible.

    In that Chino location, all new homes had water pipes, phone, CATV, etc etc AND electrical service placed underground; now, I really hate slabs - (aside from 'bacon!:eek:) - but, what can one do nowadays in tract-homes? We 'gets' what we 'gets'. I worked on many a new tract home and saw many of them before the 'sticks' went up. Naturally, being a 'ham-reedio' kind-of-guy (aka: big-shot) I astutely recognized that there, at the water meter, was a #4 bare-copper wire running to the electrical (underground) panel (to be) location. They were definitely connected - which to me is a big benefit to any 'ham' (or, even a 'normal-person') who might land in the new community***.

    *** "New Community" where NO outside antennas of ANY sort will EVER be permitted! All that good ground-potential going to waste so the 'yuppies' - 'puppies' - 'nose-in-the-air' punks of this new-age can show off to their friends by living in $995,000 homes they most likely will never truly 'own'.:p END of unrelated comment and back to 'the subject'.;)

    Back on topic: Everyone made a good case 'for' as well as 'against' making the connection to his water pipes. Heck, some who made a case 'against' may have the connection already and NOT even know it exists. Oh my! What now?:D
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