I know that you would rather be listening to the Jefferson Airplane than reading this—-but oh well.
Plastic piping in homes is becoming the norm. It is pretty rare to find new construction with anything other than PEX type plastic pipe—-or perhaps CPVC plastic pipe. I don’t have any heartburn over the use of PEX in homes—-in many ways it is a better choice than copper and is certainly cheaper. As far as installation problems go—they have no more issues than metal types of pipes. All systems are only as good as the installer doing the work—and or the occasional factory defect.
Problems can occur though when homes are changed to plastic piping, or have plastic components added to the metal piping systems. Without getting involved in discussing all the rules/requirements of electrical “grounding & bonding,” suffice it to say that all metal piping systems in the home have to be bonded (connected) to the electrical service ground.
People that do not understand these electrical bonding requirements sometimes break the continuity of these bonded metal piping systems by installing plastic components. This frequently happens when metal drains or water supply lines are broken to add drains to new locations or supply water to new locations.
In the following picture we can see where someone has spliced white PVC plastic into the main water line to install a lawn irrigation system. This installation potentially leaves the house side of the plumbing system disconnected electrically from the grounded electrical system—-and possibly even leaving the whole house disconnected from one of the means grounding the whole system.
This repair can be as simple as jumping across the plastic component with a “jumper wire” or as complicated as having to run a new ground wire to the pipe on the street side of the plastic. In this next picture we can see where a “bonding jumper wire” has been installed around a plastic water filter.
Either way, the system will need to be evaluated and repaired by the Licensed Electrical Contractor.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
If you enjoyed this post, and would like to get notices of new posts to my blog, please subscribe via email in the little box to the right. I promise NO spamming of your email