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Electrical ground corrosion at water pipe (C) Daniel FriedmanElectrical Ground-Caused Leaks
How electrical grounding errors causes leaks in water or refrigerant piping

  • ELECTRICAL GROUND ERROR-CAUSED LEAKS - CONTENTS: what are the effects of low pH, acidic or corrosive water on building piping, leaks, dissolved copper, health hazards, and the plumbing system in general? How do we detect corrosive or aggressive water and what should be done about it.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about aggressive water, corrosive water, the LSI or Langlier index, other causes of leaks in building supply or drain piping
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How electrical grounding mistakes can cause leaks in water or refrigerant piping.

This article explains how improper, missing, or improperly-connected electrical grounding can cause leaks in metal water supply pipes, drain pipes, and even in refrigerant piping used in air conditioning and heat pump systems.

This article series describes effects of low pH, acidic or corrosive water on building piping, leaks, dissolved copper, health hazards, and the plumbing system in general. We describe how to detect corrosive or aggressive water and what should be done about it.



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Electrical Ground Wiring Errors Can Cause Plumbing Pipe Leaks

Copper pipe ground bonding (C) Daniel Friedman

Here we add an electrical ground defect that can cause leaks in metal pipes carrying water, sewage, even air conditioning or heat pump refrigerant.

At CORROSIVITY or ACIDITY of WATER and then at OTHER CAUSES of PINHOLE LEAKS in COPPER PIPES we liste factors that cause corrosion and leaks in metal water piping.

But did you know that improper electrical grounding can cause leaks? No kidding.

Watch out: when diagnosing metal water pipe leaks, metal drain leaks, and leaks in refirgerant piping, remember to check for improper, loose, or missing electrical system connections that can significantly increase the risk of corrosion of the copper piping in the building.

As you know, at most buildings the water piping system is grounded for safety, and sometimes a metal well pipe extending outside underground is used as a grounding electrode as well.

Electricians recommend two driven grounding electrodes at modern properties (you can leave the old connection to a metal well pipe in place).

But interestingly, a mistake in the electrical panel, for example one that sends current improperly down the ground path, can speed up corrosion of building metal water pipes or other components.

I [DF] had a client in Pleasant Valley NY who twice replaced a very costly, supposedly corrosion proof nickel-plated co-axial ground-water-source heat pump temperature exchange coil.

The purpose of the coil was to cool high temperature refrigerant gas back to a liquid state by cooling it using water pumped from a nearby well and for efficiency recycled through a holding tank for re-use before it was returned back to the ground from which it had originated.

When the heat pump stopped working I found that all of the refrigerant had leaked out of the system.

But I couldn't find a leak in the refrigerant piping system. The only component I could not test directly with my halogen leak detector was the water-to-air heat exchanger coil itself. In an exciting discovery, I opened a drain to release water from the water-to-air heat pump system's water reservoir tank.

When I held my leak detector near the water stream, the detector went crazy, responding to a very high level of refrigerant gas that had become dissolved into the water.

We realized that the heat exchanger coil that was supposed to just cool the refrigerant gas was instead leaking that gas right into the cooling water supply.

Someone smarter than we were figured out where to look.

The technician determined out that the heat exchanger coil was corroding and perforating because of improper electrical grounding within the heat pump.

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Continue reading at CORROSIVITY or ACIDITY of WATER or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.

Or see GROUND SYSTEM INSPECTION - home

Or see LEAK CAUSES in WATER PIPING

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