1/2" copper water pipe as ground rod

Saw this today! I know it is wrong, just wondering if anyone else has ever seen this before? 1968 home.
It appears to be a copper water pipe, has a cap soldered on… Obviously, this wouldnt be sufficient to carry the amount of current necessary in event of power surge.

The ground rod should be a solid rod and it should be entirely underground.

Yes, Daniel, I have seen it before. And, I have seen a copper water pipe , used as a grounding rod, that was filled with something for the first few inched and painted copper color. LOL…I came to find out that they stuffed steel wool down the pipe and then, I think, some solder and painted it.

It was a new home and the developer was not a happy camper when he heard that…as well as, some other things the sub did.

Funny part was that it was the third home in the development that THAT electrician’s crew did but the first time the crazy grounding rod was found. It was when copper prices were high…just can’t fix stupid.

Wow! thanks

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Yes, I have seen it before.

Good point, It’s not the main water entrance, although I suppose it could be connected…
But obviously that would still be a problem, there was no other GEC found, not even a bond to the gas line

Correct, except a 1/2" copper hollow pipe does not have the surface area of a 5/8" solid copper rod… And the water line cannot be the main grounding means. Is that how the homes in your area are setup?

Isn’t the City only responsible for the water service up to the property line? Meaning this change in water service was done by the owner?

Same here, but the City stops at the water shut-off at the property line. From there to the basement is the owners responsibility and the city installs the meter in the basement.

Wrong choice of words. Surface area would be same, correct. But the current carrying capability would be significantly different from solid vs hollow. And I doubt they have the same resistance. But you’re right, this likely wont make much difference, except for a lightning strike, (which i have seen a few panels hit here) All the grounding conductors in the panel were all scorched.
But it is still incorrect no matter if it is hollow or pressurized, etc. A water pipe cannot be the only means of grounding, period. If its part of the main water supply, it cant be the only Grounding electrode, and if its just a hollow copper pipe it is wrong, the main GE is required to be solid ground rod, ufer, etc.
Are you saying you wouldn’t call this out?

Daniel, you are correct, your state enforces NEC 2014, what you posted in the pic is not an approved grounding electrode. A pipe that is not a water pipe must be at least 3/4 in size/diameter. Rods need to be 5/8 unless listed. Very simple comment: the electrical grounding electrode didn’t meet today’s building and safety standards. Recommend a qualified licensed electrician upgrade the grounding electrodes to bring them to today’s safety & building standards.

Thanks, Simon. Is it not the same nation wide? Its also an IRC 2015 listing. (3608.1.2) haha


Well, the more I look, it appears it is the norm.
Owatonna Public Utilities’ (OPU) Water Service Line
Protection Program provides homeowners with
protection from many of the unexpected costs of service
line repairs. Whether it’s severe damage repair or
thawing a frozen water service line, OPU will cover costs
and allow the customer to work directly with contractors
to save customers time and money.
As a homeowner, you own and are responsible for the
water service line to your home. Harsh frost conditions,
shifts in the ground and aging pipes are just some of
the things that can damage your service line and
require repair or replacement at your expense.

Just like here, no matter what year the house is or was built, you are responsible for any repairs, from the tap in some states and from the curb box in others.
The city owns the meter and installs it.

So if you don’t pay your water bill, they can’t shut your water off. Hell, that’s a good set up. Stop paying. LOL

No curb stop? how does that work? how do they install the mainline without a curb stop? How do you replace the main shut off without a curb stop? what a backwards place you live in! :smiley:

Isn’t it. And now electric, sewer and water all get shut off somehow if you don’t pay the bill. Hmmmmmmmm

Almost… NEC is adopted in all states except 3 where they have adoptation of it at local level. Jonas’ state follows NEC 2017, he should research grounding electrodes more to see what is acceptable and what is not :slight_smile:


How do you replace the main shutoff without a curb stop? You FREEZE it. WTF nobody googled Freezing a water line to install the main shutoff valve. :roll_eyes: :

I just checked with a friend inspector in Minnesota and curb stops are installed as a standard.