You might be aware of what a bonding wire on a water heater is, or you might not. The good thing is if you don’t know what a bonding wire is, you’re in the right place. After this, you will know all about it.
When it comes to copper plumbing on a water heater, most codes will require a bonding wire. Let’s dive in and see what all we can learn about bonding wire on copper plumbing!
What is a Bonding Wire?
A bonding wire on a water heater is a unique fitting that connects with copper plumbing. The bonding wire is a heavy copper wire that fastens with brass clamps at one end to the cold water pipe and connects to the other ends on the hot water pipe.
What is the Purpose of a Bonding Wire?
One reason a bonding wire is installed is because it can reduce the amount of corrosion that happens. Corrosion can happen where the copper meets the steel fitting on the water heater. Therefore, the water heater has slight electrical potential that can create corrosion faster than normal.
This is also electrolysis, which has a similar definition in the description above.
Secondly, bonding wire on copper plumbing can also help complete the electrical ground of the entire plumbing system. In order to be properly electrically grounded, metal pipes are required by code. This is usually done because bonding the hot water and cold water pipe together can ensure that the plumbing system will be electrically ground properly.
Bonding wire is used because copper and steel plumbing is not intended to carry a current on a water heater.
What is the Difference Between Bonding and Grounding?
If you are unsure of the difference like I was at first, I’m here to help clear that up for you.
Bonding is when safe electrical continuity can pass through a conducting path of metal pieces.
Grounding is when all metal parts of an electrical circuit that a person might contact connect to the Earth so there is zero voltage.
The two are similar, but different!
Is a Bonding Wire Always Required?
Depending on where you live, there could be local building codes that stand by the water heater bonding wire because they see it as a proper safety measure regardless of the National Electric Code not requiring it.
There are many building inspectors that require a bonding wire to install between hot and cold water pipes. They believe it is a proper safety measure that they should always implement.
We suggest that you always follow the guidelines of the local building codes based on where you live. This will ensure that your water heater is up to code. It also ensures it does not cross any lines as to what you should and should not be installing.
How Expensive is a Bonding Wire?
The good news is that bonding wires are not expensive at all. They cost around $10. To make it even more convenient for you, it is easy to install to copper plumbing as it only takes a few minutes.
In conclusion, when it comes to copper plumbing, a bonding wire is necessary for several reasons. Most importantly, safety is a huge factor when installing bonding wires on water heaters.
If anything, making sure you are following the guidelines when it comes to local building and plumbing code is very important. If your area requires it, it is best that you follow those requirements.
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