Summary: Electrical earthing: Learn how to earth and bond earth wires to copper pipes.
Anything metal that comes into contact with electrical currents, such as appliances, wire terminals, radiators, or plumbing pipes, must be earthed to prevent electric shocks. If you install or re-wire any circuit or appliance you must ensure the green-and-yellow earth core is connected to the earth terminal in any switch, socket etc. This in turn should be connected to the main earthing terminal in the consumer unit or fuse box. If the earth core is bare, sleeve it with green and yellow insulating sheath. If there is no earth core in the circuit, choose an appliance or light fitting that is double-insulated.
Because metal objects and plumbing pipes in a bathroom will be in close proximity to water as well as electricity, you must ensure that they are earthed. If you can touch an electrical appliance or switch at the same time as touching ANYTHING with metal on it, then the object or pipe must be connected to the main earthing cable. Objects like radiators, tap tails and airing cupboard pipes are easily forgotten – so be thorough.
You can either connect to the earth terminal in a socket, or to a pipe that has already been earthed and has an unbroken connection to the earth terminal in the consumer unit. If you connect to earthed pipes, make sure they are accessible to be inspected by making a hatch in the floor or panelling.
- Cut off the power supply to the relevant circuit from the consumer unit.
- Clean the pipe-section of any dust or paint to reveal bare metal
- Use an approved earth clamp to attach to the pipes.
- Screw the core of the earth cable into the clamp terminal.
- Electrical screwdriver
- Earth clamp
The colour-coding system for electric cable changed in 2006, make sure you read Electric cable and flex to view the new information.