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Re: [TowerTalk] copper pipe for ground

To:, TowerTalk <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] copper pipe for ground
From: Red <>
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2006 22:12:11 -0500
List-post: <>
Hi, Randy;

I'm forwarding your text to TT for you, with this response.

My response is, "Thank you for the information."

If I understood you correctly, most leaks are not caused by lightning, 
but some are.  In some of those cases, lightning arced between another 
conductor and the pipe.  Grounding of power utilities, while it may be 
adequate for AC safety, is suspect in some cases of lightning damage.  
There may also be electrolysis caused by dissimilar metals in a circuit 
leading to the plumbing.

I agree with you.  Hope I didn't mis-state your information.  Please 
correct me if I did.

Many thanks, es 73 de Red wrote:

>(Red: most of the time, my posts don't show up on
>the list, reasons unknown, please forward this to the
>list for me if it doesn't. Thanks)
>On 12 Jul 2006 at 17:39, Red wrote:
>>Lightning may have been incidental to the pinhole leaks.  The water in 
>>some communities slowly corrodes copper pipes and causes pinhole leaks.  
>>I believe it is a result of acidic water, but I don't remember for sure 
>>what compound or ion in the water attacks the copper.
>>73 de WOØW
>I locate water leaks for a living, all day, 5 days a FL.
>Yes, water chemistry is responisble for the vast majority of leaks,
>But, relative to the below questions... YES! Lightning absolutely
>DOES cause numerous water leaks. Usually in the form of a
>hole where it either arcs over to reinforcing mesh or rebar, or
>else it makes less dramatic holes where "apparently" it discharges
>into the soil. As most of us are probably aware, either the cold water
>pipe, or possibly both cold and hot, are commonly tied to the
>ground/neutral at the breaker panel. In 15 years of doing this, I
>can think of only one instance where it was apparent that lightning
>struck a hose bibb on the outside of the home as means of getting
>into the plumbing... other than that, in most cases it seemed to
>me that the lightning came in via the electrical mains. Of course,
>that's not scientific, but it IS my opinion based on experience.
>All "reasonably modern" homes plumbed with copper hereabouts
>are plumbed with "soft" copper, i.e. copper that comes in rolls 
>rather than straight sticks, with the connections all being made
>at above ground manifolds concealed within walls, the idea being
>specifically to avoid any underground solder joints.
>I've never seen or heard of a solder joint failing due to a lightning
>strike. FWIW there are still a lot of "hard copper" plumbed homes
>with the joints underneath, and I've seen any number of leaks at
>solder joints in them, but not directly attributable to lightning strikes.
>Of course, you can't melt solder joints in a pipe full of water anyhow..
>FWIW I did have one customer whose home took a lightning strike,
>with the leak making itself evident in the form of loss of pressure,
>along with a high flow rate at the water meter... it was due to a
>PVC pipe in the yard rupturing, not from the strike, I suspect, but
>rather a huge spike in pressure when the water in the copper lines
>in the home was suddenly heated. Again, that's not scientific, but
>that's the way it appeared to have happened.
>"Most" homes here are now being plumbed with CPVC due to the
>effects of the water, and there are rumblings about changing the
>building codes to eliminate the use of copper. Other than that, it
>seems to depend on whatever the architect specifies.
>On the other hand..... I have reason to think that the ground/neutral
>coming off the pole is not always at "zero volts" relative to ground, and
>I therefore have to suspect electrolysis is at least partially behind
>"some" leaks... and I don't know who the genius was that decided
>that plain ol' rebar was acceptable as a ground rod at the meter,
>but tying dissimilar metals together with wires just *can't* be a good
>thing, either... and I doubt a rusty steel rod is particularly effective
>at anything, let alone keeping a strike out of good old copper pipes
>buried the length and breadth of a home.
>>K4SAV wrote:
>>>I can't confirm this first hand, but I have heard reports of lightning 
>>>producing pin hole leaks in copper water pipes. Does anyone have any 
>>>good data on this? Maybe the problem ocurrs ar the soldered connections?
>>>>Jerry, K4SAV

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