Shocking pipes and water

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-10-09, 10:48 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Willis, Texas
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Shocking pipes and water

I recently had to replace a bad water heater in a small apartment that I have over a barn. While replacing it I noticed, even with the old water heater removed, that the ground wire and the water pipe going to the heater would shock me if I grabbed them. I went ahead and installed the new water heater.

This morning my son was using the water spicket on the outside of the barn and he said he was also shocked.

How can I diagnose and fix this problem? I'll be watching this thread closely so if anybody needs more information or needs me to test something just let me know.

Thanks in advance,

Torch
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 10-10-09, 11:15 AM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: NE Wis / Paris France{ In France for now }
Posts: 4,808
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Before you do anything more with waterheater first do you have subpanel there ?

If so read on

You need to check the netrual and ground connection at subpanel and main panel to make sure they are not corroded or loose this is very important step here you can not ingore this one.

Do this subpanel have three conductor set up or four conductor set up?

That will make the diffrence on troubleshooting.

Do the lights stay bright or dim when you turn on pretty good load like portable heater if get dim or brighter then you loose netural connection if stay the same you will have to dig in deeper to trouble shooting this system.

Check the ground rod if you have it there.

Get the voltmeter and have one probe touch the water pipe and the second probe touching the ground you should read very low or zero voltage but if more than that please follow this one

turn off the waterheater breaker if that go away if not then turn off other breaker or remove the fuse one at time until that go away then you will need to check that circuit very carefully.

Merci,Marc
 
  #3  
Old 10-10-09, 11:53 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Willis, Texas
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Marc,

Thanks for responding. I read 120 volts at the water pipe with the voltmeter. I've made some troubleshooting progress since my original post. First, I was able to isolate the problem to a single circuit and then even to a single light switch. When the lights were turned on, the pipes were 'hot'. When they were off they were not hot. I'm still confused how the pipes, which do not come in close proximity to the lights which are causing the problem, come together. Is the power leak into the ground going back through the panel and into the pipes somehow?

Thanks
 
  #4  
Old 10-10-09, 12:28 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Are the lights grounded? If so any chance the neutral is intentionally or unintentionally connected to the ground. Are you sure neutral and hot are not reversed?

Have you measured between the pipes and a long screwdriver stuck in the ground?
 
  #5  
Old 10-10-09, 02:23 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Willis, Texas
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ray,

Thanks for the reply. I have 9 fluorescent fixtures on this switch and haven't checked their ground yet.

When you ask whether there is any chance that the neutral and ground are connected I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean at each fixture, at the switch, or in the breaker box? Or do you mean all of the above?

I'm also not sure what I'm supposed to do with the screwdriver.
 
  #6  
Old 10-10-09, 03:12 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
When you ask whether there is any chance that the neutral and ground are connected I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean at each fixture, at the switch, or in the breaker box? Or do you mean all of the above?
All of the above. Sometimes when a ground wire isn't present some one will make a bootleg ground by tying the ground to neutral but it can happen accidentally also.
I'm also not sure what I'm supposed to do with the screwdriver.
Lets skip that for now. On further though my reasoning may have been wrong on that.
 
  #7  
Old 10-10-09, 05:14 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: NE Wis / Paris France{ In France for now }
Posts: 4,808
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by MaterDei View Post
Marc,

Thanks for responding. I read 120 volts at the water pipe with the voltmeter. I've made some troubleshooting progress since my original post. First, I was able to isolate the problem to a single circuit and then even to a single light switch. When the lights were turned on, the pipes were 'hot'. When they were off they were not hot. I'm still confused how the pipes, which do not come in close proximity to the lights which are causing the problem, come together. Is the power leak into the ground going back through the panel and into the pipes somehow?

Thanks
Ok now that really help here a bit to pinpoint here what you have to do is check each luminaire to make sure the cable is not pintched or have a screw hit a conductor.

You can do this by elemated one luminarie { disconnect } a time if that voltage on the pipe go away then you have something affect it you will need to dig more deeper on that spot to see why it cause it.

I know it will take time but one out of nine can go pretty fast once you know how this luminaire circuit lay out and also check the switch box as well to make sure nothing is out of the line.

Merci,Marc
 
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: