Shocking water

Reply

  #1  
Old 04-29-03, 10:25 AM
DPK
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Question Shocking water

My stepson informed me that he keeps getting shocked when he takes a shower, or when washing his hands in the sink. I thought he was imagining things, until I touched the sink faucet. It did give me a tingle. I tested it with a volt meter by touching one lead to a ground screw on a switch box and the other lead under the running water of the sink...120 volts! I checked the sink faucet in my bathroom, and it did not give me a tingle, but did register 120 volts. I cannot feel anything when taking a shower in my bathroom, either. I went over to the other end of the house and checked the laundry utility tub...99 volts. The kitchen faucet is 10 volts. Anyone have any idea what's happening here. The plumbing in this house was replaced with pvc. However, some of the pipes in the walls are still copper.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 04-29-03, 11:14 AM
T
Member
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Chicago
Posts: 1,915
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Are you using a digital or analog voltmeter? Is the panel grounded ok?
 
  #3  
Old 04-29-03, 12:09 PM
DPK
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Trinitro, I am using a digital meter. Is that bad? Also, I will double check; but, I think the panel is grounded OK to one of those 8' solid copper rods in the ground.
 
  #4  
Old 04-29-03, 12:30 PM
texsparky
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Is the water line also bonded to the panel within 5 feet of where it enters the house ( if of metal and in direct contact with the earth for at least 10 feet )
Have you checked the neutral connections in the main panel ? You may have lost your neutral conductor at the panel or on the PoCo side of service and the water lines are now being used for the grounded conductor. THIS IS A DANGEROUS SITUATION !!Do not use, or allow anyone else to use, the water lines untill the problem has been corrected. Check your end and if you find nothing , call the PoCo asap to have them test their side of the service.
 
  #5  
Old 04-29-03, 12:47 PM
DPK
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Texsparky, my house is on well water. It is a pvc line to the house. At the house, it continues in pvc over the attic, and down through the walls to supply the fixtures. Some of those fixtures still have copper lines connected to them. When I get home tonight, I will check the neutral line at the panel. How do I do this?
 
  #6  
Old 04-29-03, 01:49 PM
RickJ6956
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Have you changed anything recently? TV cable is normally grounded to a water pipe. Perhaps the people who installed your cable system thought a chunk of copper pipe was ground? (Some TV's and VCR's don't isolate the chasis ground from the cable ground, so your entire house could be grounding through a TV or VCR.)
 
  #7  
Old 04-29-03, 04:13 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 7,520
Received 236 Votes on 207 Posts
You should also check pump. You could have a problem with wiring frayed on the line going down the well. Your metal water lines should be bonded to the ground in your panel also.
 
  #8  
Old 04-30-03, 04:30 AM
DPK
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
RickJ, nothing newly installed. The TV cable is grounded to the same ground rod that the PoCo meter is.

Joed, my well is a jet pump above ground. The well pipe is all pvc (the soil here in Florida is all sandy, where I live).

Texsparky, how do I check the neutral line in the box?

Other observations: The night before we started noticing this problem, we had our worst thunder storm of the year. Lightning strikes for hours. Could this have done something? My power line is underground to the house.
 
  #9  
Old 04-30-03, 05:46 AM
texsparky
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Post

Shut the main breaker off,( the 2 wires from the meter to the main lugs will still be energized ), open the panel cover and check that all white wires including the one from the meter to the neutral bar are tight. Visually look for any signs of overheating at the terminals. If all is ok on your side, have the power co. come out and check their side of the service.
 
  #10  
Old 04-30-03, 12:03 PM
DPK
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Problem solved!

Well, everyone, I finally fixed my "hot" water problem. What I did was hook up the volt meter to the sink and a receptacle ground. It was reading 108 volts. Then I went to the circuit box and, one by one, turned off a breaker and ran to see what the reading was. I finally found that when I turned off the breaker to one of the hot water heaters, the voltage dropped to .7 volts. I then checked the wiring for the water heater, and found that the red wire in the appliance disconnect box was arcing to the box. The insulation was burnt down to the copper, and was just barely touching the metal box. Snipped the wire back, and re-attached it, and end of problem.

I want to thank all of you who supplied me with suggestions. If what I tried did not work, I was prepared to follow your instructions. Again, thanks for your input. David
 
  #11  
Old 04-30-03, 01:22 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 7,520
Received 236 Votes on 207 Posts
You still have a grounding/bonding problem. The water pipe should not have been able to get to 107 volts if was bonded properly to the system ground.
 
  #12  
Old 04-30-03, 01:59 PM
DPK
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
joed, Thanks for the reply. I did notice that there was a ground wire connected from the water heater cabinet to a an "old" copper pipe in the slab floor. The house had been re-plumbed with pvc overhead, because of pinholes in the copper pipes in the concrete slab. For some reason, there was no ground wire with the two hot wires running to the disconnect. So they just ran a ground wire to this copper pipe. Should I run this wire to a ground wire in the attic, off another circuit?
 
  #13  
Old 04-30-03, 02:35 PM
texsparky
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Should I run this wire to a ground wire in the attic, off another circuit?
NO YOU SHOULD NOT. You should either run a ground wire to the main panel and terminate on the neutral/grd bar, or run it to the ground rod.
 
  #14  
Old 04-30-03, 03:09 PM
DPK
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Texsparky, I'm indebted to ya. I thought I knew a little about electrijuicity. However, this is an example where a "little" knowledge is dangerous. I'll do like you said, and run a separate wire directly to the ground bar at the breaker box. It's about 100'. What size should I use?
 
  #15  
Old 04-30-03, 03:36 PM
texsparky
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
If your water heater is on the standard 2 pole 30 amp breaker, a #10 copper (green or bare) would be fine.

If it were up to me though, I would run a new 10-2 w/grd Type NM cable. Because if it is worth doing it is worth doing right.
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: