Bonding

April 14, 2021

Bonding

Covid-19 has resulted in a world-wide bonding crisis as people are required to isolate from each other in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Our inherent need to bond and connect with one another gives us a sense of grounding within our family and circle of friends. Bonding helps us to feel grounded. Now this is something an electrician can relate to.

Did you know that a lack of electrical bonding is a big concern in the world of electrical safety?

Electrical bonding is an Electrical Code requirement for every electrical installation and goes hand-in-hand with electrical grounding, a topic you may recall from a previous blog post.  Now, since grounding and bonding are partners, so to speak, they are not exactly the same thing although the purpose of each is to reduce the risk of electrical shock to people. Where grounding is intended to capture an electrical fault in the electrical system and send it to ground, bonding refers to a method of connecting two or more conductive materials, not designed to carry electricity, to establish a conductive path between them. The purpose of bonding is to reduce the voltage of inadvertently energized metals, and create an electrical pathway for the unintended electrical current to reach the grounding system.

Where is Bonding required?

A copper wire connection must be installed between the conductive materials that will send any potential stray current to the main ground at the electrical panel. This task requires specific knowledge to ensure a proper bond has been established and is frequently overlooked by the amateur or untrained installer. The wire must remain clearly visible so that periodic assessment is possible. Some items that require a bond wire would be structural steel such as used in roofing, metal framing, swimming pool rebar and ladders, lighting encasements, copper plumbing pipes, to name a few. If any part of the bonding system is altered, such as replacing plumbing pipes with PVC piping, the electrical bond must be re-established on any remaining conductive materials in the structure to ensure the protective bond is always in place.

Part of every electrical inspection should include a visual assessment of the electrical bonding system to ensure that it is still correctly in place and protecting the structure.

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