When looking at and learning about your water heater, many things become overwhelming and difficult to understand. Sometimes, there are quick and ‘easy’ do-it-yourself projects that can later turn into massive problems that eventually lead to questions like, “What happens if a water heater is not grounded?”
If a water heater is not grounded, it can cause an electrical current through the pipes and the water. With no ground, the electricity can pass through anything that can conduct electricity.
With a ground wire, the electricity automatically moves down towards the ground wire protecting the user and any conductive materials, ultimately preventing shocks in the shower or damage to your water heater.
When installing a water heater, there are some important questions to ask yourself. Electricity can be conducted through water, and it can make improperly putting together your water heater a dangerous task. Reading and educating yourself on properly grounding your water heater is one of the best things you can do.
How To Ground a Water Heater?
There are many dangers to consider when doing any electrical work. First, ensure there is no power going through the electrical outlets. Second, make sure that the wires are not live. These machines put out 240 volts. They are more than enough to cause serious injury and even possible death.
The easiest solution is purchasing pipe clamps. With these clamps, you will attach one to the cold-water pipe, and one to the hot water pipe. With some bonding wire, attach it to both clamps, and now your hot water tank is grounded.
Is Bonding Wire Necessary?
Some plumbers will use bonding wire, but not all will use this method. Bonding wire is used to direct a small amount of electricity to the steel fittings inside the water heater instead of the copper pipes. It also prevents corrosion in the water heater and gives your water heater a longer life span if using copper pipes.
Bonding wire is not necessary for all jobs. In some cases, it is not mandatory, but this is based on where you live. If it is not recommended in your area, it is up to you whether you want to have the bonding wire installed or not.
Does a Water Heater Need to be Grounded?
A water heater does not need to be grounded, though. It is recommended. Using a bonding wire to ground the cold and hot water pipes to the home help prevent pipe corrosion and the steel water heater. It depends on the area you live in and what type of building.
What Happens If a Water Heater Is Wired Wrong?
If a water heater is wired wrong, it can be fatal. Typically, a water heater is a large steel drum with PVC piping pumping in cold water for the water heater to warm up. The water heater should contain a heating element. The heating element should have a live, neutral, and ground wire within it.
With time, the element within the water heater may crack. It will expose the water to the live wire within the element. If someone were to use the water, it can shock or electrocute the person using the water.
It should not happen as water tends to be broken up, killing the flow of the electricity. If it is a steady stream that does not get cut off at any point, it may cause shocks or electrocution.
If it is not properly wired a signal from the water heater to the circuit breaker will not send off any signals. When properly wired, it will notify the circuit breaker and turn it off completely.
Before doing any electrical work, it is important to know your electrical safety measures. These machines use a 240-volt circuit that can harm, injure you from a shock, or even kill you.
How Do You Ground a Water Heater?
To ground your water heater, you can run a grounding wire from your breaker box to both the cold and hot pipes. It is also done by connecting the ground wire to the hot and cold pipe, making it obvious to any inspectors.
Can I Ground an Outlet to A Copper Water Pipe?
Your outlet does have a ground. However, your water heater should be grounded to something else. Grounding the water heater to an outlet can be dangerous for you or any plumber in the future. It may not directly put current in the water, but it can charge the pipes with electricity. Doing this will also wear out your water heater much quicker than grounding your water heater to something else.
Can You Ground to A Water Pipe?
Yes, you can ground to a water pipe. However, it is suggested grounding to the foundation so that it can connect to the grounding rod. Chose to use the grounding rod from the foundation of your home so that any electrical surges go straight to the ground.
Why Is There a Ground Wire on My Waterline?
There is ground wiring on your waterline to prevent corrosion in your water heater and to attempt to move any built-up electricity from the element in the water heater.
In 3 easy steps, you could be saving yourself thousands of dollars by adding a simple grounding wire to your water heater. Though it could be lifesaving, you do not need to have it on your hot water heater unless otherwise stated by your municipality. It may prevent shocks if there was poor wiring in the water heater. However, its real use is preventing corrosion in the water heater. By using the copper wire can add years to your system.