Kindergarten Electrical

By
Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

One topic in school science was electricity. My two girls have both had this subject in elementary school over the last few years. Both have come home with various projects involving batteries, wires and the construction of a basic circuit. Dad was like a kid in a hardware store.

Water filter in a plastic housing, not conductive.What is taught to the children is that electricity needs conductors in order to flow and create a circuit. The other part of this lesson is insulators. Electricity can not flow through insulators, only conductors. The kids easily grasp this concept and have fun making circuits.

Some where along the way to adulthood I theorize, these basic concepts of electricity are washed from the child's brain. Perhaps it puberty, the raging hormones send the brains focus elsewhere. Whatever the reason I find adults who have clearly forgotten the very basics of electricity.

Let me share a recent example. Here we have a whole house water filter. There are actually two lessons here, but I will stick to the topic. The housing of the filter is plastic. As we all know plastic is an insulator, it does not conduct electricity. Wires are coated in plastic.

The copper pipe is metal. Metal is a conductor. In fact copper is a great conductor of electricity. Wire is made from copper. Like this grounding wire clamped to the copper pipe in the second picture. That wire is actually a bonding wire for this house's water supply piping. This wire is not the main grounding conduct for the electrical system. It is a secondary grounding conductor for the copper piping in the house. In the event the copper pipe was to become energized, this wire would provide a path to ground.Bonding wire on water pipe

Think of this, somehow electricity has come in contact with the water supply pipes in your house. The pipes are now energized. You get up in the morning, go to the sink, touch the faucet handle and you get walloped. I assure you that'll wake you up faster than a cup of espresso.

With the wire on the pipe, electricity has a path to ground. You will definitely still get a shock with the wire in place, but it will be greatly minimized.

Getting back to that water filter. The installer failed to take into account that once the filter was put in place, the path to ground was broken by the plastic filter housing. Repair will involve either moving the grounding wire or installing a jumper wire.

So easy even a kid could do it.

 

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services. Learn more about our home energy audits, the Home Energy Tune uP®.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.

Posted by

 

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the woman to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Topic:
Home Buying
Location:
Connecticut New Haven County
Groups:
"Whacked"!!!
Dedicated Bloggers
WeBlog Anything (almost)!
BananaTude
Almost Anything Goes
Tags:
home inspectors in connecticut ct
home inspections in connecticut
electrical bonding and grounding of water piping

Comments 8 New Comment

Anonymous
Post a Comment
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the envelope to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Show All Comments
Rainmaker
289,096
Fred Hernden
Tampa Bay area Home Inspector
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Tampa Bay Area

Good morning James. I guess that Mr. Installer still had his hormones raging into those other areas you were talking about huh? Unless of course the ground wire was on the supply side of the filter, and not the upstream side. At least it was originally attached to copper and not PVC :-)

Have a great day!

June 23, 2012 05:51 AM
Ambassador
1,068,875
Charles Buell
Seattle Home Inspector
Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

big kids do the darnedest things :)

June 23, 2012 07:01 AM
Ambassador
2,032,210
Todd Clark
Broker - Beaverton, Oregon Real Estate Expert - (503) 524-9494
Keller Williams Realty

That seems a lot cheaper than buying a cup of coffee each morning at $5 a cup. I think I'm heading to the garage to do some re-wiring.. Thanks for the tip.

 

June 23, 2012 07:42 AM
Rainmaker
358,799
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jim,

 I see missing bonging jumpers quite often. Like your example, if it ain't there your are the grounding rod ; )

June 23, 2012 08:44 AM
Rainmaker
1,218,326
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

So, I get my jumper cable out of the trunk and hook it up, on one side and then the other of that filter, and I can start my car?

Might be the hormones did me in... entirely.

June 23, 2012 03:22 PM
Rainmaker
627,162
James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

Fred, The wire is for the house pipes, not the main grounding conductor. The supply side is plastic because it comes from a well. That wire is isolated from both ends off the supply.

Charlie, Yep.

Todd, You're welcome and be careful.

Don, Another basic electrical lesson. 

Jay, Those hormones can alter the mind. 

June 24, 2012 05:57 AM
Rainer
332,937
Paul Gapski
619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo
Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty

Thank you for sharing your blog; we need Real estate Professionals to share their comments and information regarding their markets and experiences. Thanks again from beautiful Sunny San Diego.

October 28, 2012 08:33 AM
Rainmaker
627,162
James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

Paul, Thanks for reading.

October 29, 2012 05:14 AM
Anonymous
Post a Comment
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the airplane to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Show All Comments
Rainmaker
627,162

James Quarello

Connecticut Home Inspector
Ask me a question
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the truck to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase: