You can use water pipes for grounding purposes, but...
You can use water pipes for grounding purposes, but... (on photo: Metal water pipe used as grounding electrode; credit:

Water Pipes for grounding

Water pipes have been used extensively in the past as a grounding electrode. Water pipe connections are not testable and are unreliable due to the use of tar coatings and plastic fittings.

City water departments have begun to specifically install plastic insulators in the pipelines to prevent the flow of current and reduce the corrosive effects of electrolysis. Since water pipes are continuous city wide, fault conditions in adjacent neighborhoods could backfeed current into sensitive equipment causing unintentional damage.

The NEC requires that at least one additional electrode be installed when using water metal pipes as an electrode.

There are six several additional requirements including //

  1. 10 ft of the water pipe is in direct contact with the earth
  2. Joints must be electrically continuous
  3. Water meters may not be relied upon for the grounding path
  4. Bonding jumpers must be used around any insulating joints, pipe, or meters
  5. Primary connection to the water pipe must be on the street side of the water meter
  6. Primary connection to the water pipe shall be within 5 ft of the point of entrance to the building
The NEC requires that water pipes be bonded to ground, even if these metal pipes are not used as part of the grounding system.

Reference // Standard Handbook for Electrical Engineers By Donald G. Fink, H. Wayne Beaty (Get it from Amazon)

About Author //


Edvard Csanyi

Edvard - Electrical engineer, programmer and founder of EEP. Highly specialized for design of LV high power busbar trunking (<6300A) in power substations, buildings and industry fascilities. Designing of LV/MV switchgears.Professional in AutoCAD programming and web-design.Present on


  1. Manuel Bolotinha
    Apr 17, 2016

    In Europe, namely in Portugal, national wiring regulations no longer allowthe use of water pipes fo grounding purposes.
    Nowadays is is useless to discuss this topic.

  2. Abdulgader Abuhlega
    Apr 16, 2016

    Dear all
    I have been using water pipes system as a ground for more than 10 years and it is perfect,here who.
    As it mentioned above that the government changed the pipes to PPR type but in the same time they did not remove the old still pipes and it is covering an aria over 50 KM squire and rounding all the houses in my aria and very deep in the ground which is a good earth .another thing i used this ground as a neutral
    when the neutral cable has been cut during the fitting with gadafi troops that they protecting his house and it works perfect with lights and small appliances like TV-VIDEOS-PLAY STATIONS-COMPUTERS.

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