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Ground to a cold water pipe coming from well?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by waters212, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. waters212

    waters212 Mentor

    Feb 18, 2007
    Due to LOS issues it would be much easier if I can ground the coax/mast grounding block to a well-supplied water pipe just after it comes through the foundation in the basement. Is this something that can be done and what requirements should I look for. I am trying to avoid having to connect a new ground rod near the entry point with the panel ground rod which is about 100 feet away.

    Also, is one alternative to somehow gain access to the incoming water pipe just before it enters the foundation by digging up the dirt and attaching something at that point?

    As always, thank you.
  2. cabletech

    cabletech Legend

    Jan 20, 2011
    looked at the pictures on your other post. Is the location of the dish really going to be
    100ft from the electric? This is doable. The only thing aBout connecting to the cold water is, A) is it copper? B) is it electricly connected to the house electric system?

    Take a ohm meter, test between the pipe and the ground side of a electric outlet, if you get a reading of 0 then it is NOT connect to the house electric. If you get a reading of 2 to 50ohms then it is connected and you could use it using a #10 wire to the antenna feed ground block. TO NOT PUT IN A SEPARTE GROUND ROD. NO NO NO.
  3. waters212

    waters212 Mentor

    Feb 18, 2007
    Straight line it is about 40 feet. If I had to route a wire down to the ground and then around the house to the panel it would be about 100 feet.

    Would I be able to run the coax and ground wire a distance of about 30 feet from the dish across the asphalt shingled roof to the back side of the house to a ground block where the back wall meets the eaves where the coax would then enter the attic just under the eaves and the #10 would go down to the ground and over to the panel's rod - a distance of maybe 30 - 40 feet or so from block to rod? This would obviously then mean a ground wire would run down the back of the house from the eave area to the dirt maybe along a door frame.

    I will also check the water pipe as you explained. Thank you.
  4. cabletech

    cabletech Legend

    Jan 20, 2011
    Two ways to run the antenna cables from the dish to the area of the electric.
    1) run them down the wall and then under the house in the crawl space to the elect.
    2) run them thru the attic and then down the out side wall at the electric.

    Are all the in house outlet cables ran to the attic? If this is so, then run a secound set of cables from the ground block back to the location in the attic.

    You do not want to run more then a 20 foot #10 for grounding and it must be attached to the house main electric ground wiring/rod.
  5. Scott Kocourek

    Scott Kocourek Well-Known Member

    Jun 13, 2009
    Why would a copper pipe going through the foundation wall be any different than using a grounding rod?

    What is the benefit of connecting to the same ground as the electrical panel?

    Honest questions, not trying to be sarcastic.
  6. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

    Nov 16, 2005
    Posted this awhile back on the topic, should pretty much explain it.

  7. sweep49

    sweep49 Legend

    Jul 15, 2008
    SW GA
    That is good info. Thank you.
  8. waters212

    waters212 Mentor

    Feb 18, 2007
    I have access to an open attic as well as an exposed basement ceiling. House is one floor.

    If I understand you correctly, I could run the single coax (SWM setup) and the accompanying 12 gauge insulated ground wire wrapped around it from the LNB and mast down into the attic, across the attic to the area of the panel, back outside, down the outside wall to a grounding block (total length about 40' or so) near the panel's rod or ground wire.

    I then attach the ground block's ground wire (#10) to the panel's ground wire or the actual ground rod.

    Then, from the ground block outside, the coax could go into the basement where it would go into a PI and then 8x splitter (total length about 20')? From the splitter I could then branch off to each room with varying cable lengths of 20' - 30'?

    If so, you have completely solved my dilemma and have been a HUGE help for which I thank you once again. I was not certain that either the coax or the ground wire could enter the structure between the dish and the ground block - but I think you are saying it can.
  9. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    Nov 20, 2004
    If you are going to move the dish yourself, then you don't have to ground anything. Grounding has no effect on performance and only a negligile benefit as far as safety and equipment protection are concerned.

    If you are preplanning the grounding for the professional installer/mover who will be doing the work, he will be contractually obligated to ground according to the National Electric Code and any additional requirements that the DBS company has regardless of what you are told in an internet forum. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, then grounding any way you can think of will serve you better than not grounding at all, and will give you some peace of mind.

    The National Electric Code is revised every three years. Prior to the 2005 revision, you could ground to any cold water pipe, but starting in 2005, attachment to residential cold water pipes must be made within 5 feet of the point at which it enters the residence. I believe that includes the five feet before the entry point as well as after.

    The above furnished thread link is not technical in nature. If you want to become a grounding junkie, you should be able to find "sticky" threads, possibly even here in archive, that will tell you all kinds of things you haven't yet thought of, but of course, anything in an archived post might have been obsoleted by more current code revisions than were in force when they were submitted.
  10. cabletech

    cabletech Legend

    Jan 20, 2011
    antaltmike--I do not know (and I guess, I do not want to know) where you get your information, but telling ANYONE, a diyer or custom installer that they DO NOT need to ground any thing is the same as telling someone that they do not need to wear seat belts.

    There has been NO change in the National Electrical Code section 800 on low voltage grounding of which Cable, Satellitte, Telephone and even net working equipment comes

    Changes in the code get tuffer, for the most part they do not delete items.

    As a contracter licesenced in four states, this tells me that you do not know what you are talking about. And yes I am a licesenced electriction in all four states.

    scott----I guess I am really confused, as a moderator, I would think that you sould know the answer already. BUT in this case the potenal that the cold water pipe is A) copper AND NOT tied to the elect ground, B) more then likely it is PVC and diffently not tied to ground. The systems need to be electronicly tied together.

    waters--- yes, you can run the cable with the #17 as you have descriped. I would run a
    lenght of dual solid copper with the #17 from the dish to the other side of the house. This is a easier type of cable to get ahold of and it does not cost that much. Most of the time if you see a dtv installer vehicle, try and flag them down and tell them you are doing a prewire and ask them if they would give you a 100ft of dual with ground. Most installers will do this.
  11. Scott Kocourek

    Scott Kocourek Well-Known Member

    Jun 13, 2009
    I multi-quoted my two questions and they were very specific, I assume by telling me that a copper water line coming through a foundation wall is more than likely PVC you failed to read my question or do not know the answer yourself.

    Read before insulting. :)
  12. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    Nov 20, 2004
    I don't actually "get" my information. I dispense it. If you are posting elsewhere, you can say , "I got it from AntAltMike"

    With all due respect, if new member "cabletech" believes that there have been no changes in the NEC relating to grounding, then he hasn't been a cable tech very long.

    I began installing antennas professionally in the 1970s, have read evey edition of the NEC published since 1990, and have had file copies of most of them. It changes every three years. We used to be able to ground to a gas line. The decision to exclude that alternative was arbitrary. We commercial installers can still connect to a cold water pipe more than five feet from where it enters a building, provided it is substantially exposed and the plumbing in the building is professionally maintained. I will still connect to a cold water pipe more than five feet from the point of entry, and be doing the customer a big favor when I do so, even though it doesn't meet code.

    We used to have to use flat rotor wire and ground the two outer conductors, but that requirement was removed half a dozen revisions ago. We used to have to standoff the downlead 3 or 4 inches from the building. No longer.

    There was a requirement that an anti-static discharge unit be used, but then that requirement, which was written when nearly all residential downleads were flat, twin-lead and you couldn't ground the downlead without losing half the signal power, was replaced by the requirement that the coax outer conductor be grounded with a groundwire approximately equal in current carrying capability to the coax outer conductor, which is nearly impossible. Then they put a "discharge device" requirement back in, I think, in 2005 (one year for which I never saw a complete copy) without defining it, and if I can rustle up my 2008 copy, which is in this room somewhere but I don't see it at this moment, I think they explicitly added that the discharge device requirement could be met with a conventional ground block.

    I installed residential C-band dishes (8 to 16 feet in diameter) in the late 1980s and 1990s. The only ones I ever saw grounded according to code were the ones I installed, but if I hadn't been able to install one according to code, I wouldn't have lost any sleep over it. There are hundreds of thousands of DBS dishes installed on balconies in multifamily dwellings that aren't installed according to code. I'm not losing any sleep over them, either.

    I moved from a suburban market to Washington, DC in 1994 and worked for three of the largest antenna installation companies here before going to work for myself. I estimate that over 90% of the antennas on highrise buildings I serviced were not grounded according to code. Primestar and DirecTV basically forced the installation industry to be aware of and comply with grounding requirements. It was a no-brainer for them. They were national companies that didn't want to incur the bad press and customer contract rescission leverage that they would incur of the word got out that their installations were not grounded according to code.

    I have produced reports on lightning damage for insurance companies. I have always told them that a system was not grounded when asked, but no claim I assisted in preparing was ever denied.

    The purpose behind grounding a mast is to discharge static electricity so it will be a less inviting target for lightning, but frankly, a round disk isn't a very inviting target to begin with. You can ground it with a non-conforming ground that isn't bonded to the house ground and still do a nice job draining off static, just like, you can ground it with undersized wire and do a nice job of draining off static electricity. I think the ground wire sizes mandated for that application are arbitrarily chosen to enhance survivability over time.

    Only once did I nearly get killed because of an ungrounded dish. I was working on a dish on top of a building that had once been the British Embassy but now was a very classy condo, with one of those James Bond movie elevators in it. It seems that the 110 volt outlet that the HTS satellite receiver was plugged into had its wires reversed, and there was also a short between the isolation transformer windings and ground and so the mast was electrically hot. When I snaked the bare ground wire through the attic window, it threw a big spark that, unbeknownst to me, had tripped a 20 amp circuit breaker. If that breaker had not tripped when it had, there is an excellent chance that there would have been a nice low resistance, high current path between the ground wire in one of my hands and the water pipe in the other when I connected it, so I came closer to getting killed by grounding a dish than I ever would have by leaving it ungrounded, but I digress...

    The coax input ground is important because, if there is a hurricane that breaks free a 110 volt wire and it contacts the downlead, then there will be a high current zap all the way into the house that will create a fire and shock hazard, whereas if there is a solid coax ground connection, nearly all of that surge will be diverted away... but not all of it. You can still have enough current flow through the connected reception equipment to damage it without causing a shock or fire hazard.
  13. west99999

    west99999 Icon

    May 11, 2007
    Grounding to a cold water is accepted by DTV as long as it is the main water line and grounded to a point within 5 ft of where it comes out of the ground. This is accepted on residential and commercial jobs. It is however a last resort the prefered method is the house electrical ground. See insert from DTV residential installation manual for prefered grounding methods listed in order of preference.

    1. The #4 braid, or #6 solid copper grounding electrode conductor (wire) connecting to the electrical service ground
     It is easy to attach and usually easy to access. Remember to take sandpaper or something similar
    and scrape off any paint or corrosion that might have built up on the wire. This is required to make a
    good connection. Never do anything that would damage or weaken any ground wire. Use a split bolt
    or other UL listed and labeled part identified for the purpose, to attach the #10AWG ground wire from
    the ground block to the ground conductor wire. Wrench tighten the connection.
    2. The house intersystem bonding termination as defined by NEC article 810.21 (F) (1). This bonding
    termination may be a #6AWG solid copper stub exiting, or terminal bar attached to, a meter enclosure; and,
    provided by a licensed electrical installer
    3. The service meter enclosure housing
    4. The house ground rod electrode using a separate grounding attachment. The installer may not alter the
    existing electrode connections in any way in order to install their own
    5. The panel box or breaker/fuse box ground lug stud or housing corner (corner clamp attachment)
    6. The metallic service entrance raceway (metal conduit) attached from the meter base (customer side of the
    meter) to the first main disconnect (breaker box or cut off multi-switch)
    7. The grounded metal FRAME of the building (commercial or non-residential trailer)
    8. Grounded Sprinkler system of a commercial building
    9. The supply side rigid metallic conduit to the power meter may be used below the roof line. The attachment
    must be greater than 2ft. from unattached power lines.
    10. Metal Underground Water Pipe (installed in accordance with Section 5.8 of this document and only within five
    feet of the point of entrance on the water main only)
  14. west99999

    west99999 Icon

    May 11, 2007
    oh and here is section 5.8 regarding water lines....

    5.8 Metal Underground Water Pipe
    Section 250.52 of the NEC states: A metal underground water pipe in direct contact with the earth for 3.0 m (10
    ft) or more (including any metal well casing effectively bonded to the pipe) and electrically continuous (or made
    electrically continuous by bonding around insulating joints or insulating pipe) to the points of connection of the
    grounding electrode conductor and the bonding conductors. Interior metal water piping located more than 1.52 m
    (5 ft) from the point of entrance to the building shall not be used as a part of the grounding electrode system or as
    a conductor to interconnect electrodes that are part of the grounding electrode system.
  15. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    Nov 20, 2004
    Section 5.8 of what?

    I don't have the wearwithall to run all this down, but I think that passage from 250.52 is a restriction of developing the ground electrode system of the building. As far as I know (knew, actually, because I don't have a 2011 edition), it does not preclude grounding an antenna mast more than five feet from the point of entry in a commercial building provided, as I said above, the plumbing is professionally maintained and substantially exposed. I think it just means that the bonding of the electrode system must be done within five feet. There is a difference between a Supplemental Ground rod and a Supplementary one. One completes the system grounding requirement and the other is added for the convenence of someone installing accessories. I think under Section 800, you can use a 5 foot rod to supplement for telephone wiring, for example.

    I hadn't thought of using the sprinkler system in a commercial building. Is that explicitly in the code now, or is that just DirecTV's interpretation of connetions it approves and it believes satisfy it?
  16. west99999

    west99999 Icon

    May 11, 2007
    the section 5.8 is from the installation manual but all of these ground points are listed in the NEC handbook. (including the sprinkler system)
  17. codespy

    codespy So much for the 2017 season!! <Crying> DBSTalk Club

    Mar 29, 2006
    There are a lot of answers posted, but maybe I can help (electrician for 23 years, commercial and residential inspector for last 10).

    NEC 250 requires bonding of interior metal water piping. If it is metallic entering the building (and at least 10' in direct contact with the earth), then the grounding electrode conductor from the electrical service shall be bonded to the piping within 5' of where it enters the building (I believe this was a 1996 NEC revision).

    If you have plastic entering the building, NEC requires bonding the electrical service to the nearest metallic water piping (and the water piping is not recognized as a grounding electrode).

    In theory, as long as your interior metal water piping is bonded from the service somewhere, bonding the dish antenna to the metal water piping on that side would be completely acceptable to me as long as there is a continuous metallic path. I see no reason to dig up the earth outside to bond your waterline (water lines in Wisconsin require minimum burial depth of 5').
  18. br408408

    br408408 Legend

    Jun 1, 2008
    This is about the only REAL protection a ground is going to give you...anyone who thinks a #10 or #6 AWG wire is going to conduct all the energy from a lightning strike safely to ground is delusional at best
  19. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

    Sep 16, 2006
    I had a 2 ft braided strap a 1/4" thick, and 2" wide between my 70' tower and a ground rod next to it. Lightning hit the tower and vaporized the strap. No equipment was damaged tho, so it did its job.
  20. Floyd

    Floyd Legend

    Nov 9, 2004
    Excuse me while I throw in my two cents. When it comes to lightning and grounding there seems to be an abundance of experienced people with firm opinions on what is after all a very spooky phenomenon. Not all of these opinions mesh, and some are ill-informed(not you Mike).

    Lightning, like most electrical flows, looks for the path of least resistance. Here in Tampa near the lightning capitol of the country we get a lot of lightning hits on pine trees and deep wells. Why? I think it's because the pine tree has both a deep tap root and a straight high trunk, and the well has a metal wire or pipe that extends into the aquifer and provides a low-resistance path through the top layers of the earth.

    I have always said that if your dish is well-grounded that it provides a more attractive place for the static charges to accumulate and build as the cloud above gathers the opposite charge. There are innumerable stories from people near a hit that describe a buildup of static that raises the hairs on thier arms or that they have seen sparks at the tip of thier graphite fishing rods. This is not a condition that you want to see on your dish. Hopefully, the lightning will find a better "ground", and it isn't always the tallest thing around, a deep well casing is sometimes more likely to be hit than a telephone pole.

    Now, I wouldn't want to raise the ire of the grounding-gestapo by suggesting that someone shouldn't properly ground a dish, but I would suggest that grounding it increases the likelihood of a hit. None of the normal grounding methods are likely to protect anything from a 30kA surge, and I would think twice before running a heavy ground wire into any structure. Grounding a dish to a well in a basement sounds like an invitation for disaster, as I've seen lightning blow large chunks off of cement buildings when a ground rod is too close to the footing.

    Here's a little more info on how it all comes down:
    And here's a video of the process:

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