Electrical Shock


  #1  
Old 04-16-14, 07:13 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Electrical Shock

Hello All,

I've been a reader for awhile but have never felt the need to post until now.

Yesterday my wife was using our bread machine that kneads the dough and while she had her hand in the metal bowl of this appliance she placed her hand on our steel kitchen sink and got an electrical shock.

This bread machine is only a two prong appliance, no ground.

I'm wondering if this is a normal event or is this something I should call an electrician in to check. This was not plugged into a GFCI outlet.

Can someone please advise?

Thank you,

Ken
 
  #2  
Old 04-16-14, 07:48 AM
J
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: KS
Posts: 1,655
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
More than likely the issue is in the bread machine. It's possible that the insulation in the motor is beginning to break down. If it's an old/vintage unit, I'd look into having it repaired. Otherwise replace it.

I would also have GFCI outlets installed because they would have tripped in this case.
 
  #3  
Old 04-16-14, 07:50 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 9,874
Received 185 Upvotes on 166 Posts
That isn't a normal situation. A GFCI receptacle should have tripped under those conditions. I'd suggest adding GFCI protection and replacing the appliance.
 
  #4  
Old 04-16-14, 08:02 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
JerseyMatt & CasualJoe - Thank you for your response. I was hoping that is was the bread machine and the need for GFCI. I was afraid that my pipes were somehow not grounded but from reading it looks like the electrical shock would not have happened if it wasn't.

The strange thing about this is that a few years ago the same outlet that the bread machine was plugged into had to be replaced because it shorted out. The electrician who replaced it just replaced it with an ordinary outlet, not GFCI. This outlet is about 2 feet from the sink.

Thank you.
 
  #5  
Old 04-16-14, 09:15 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4,533
Upvotes: 0
Received 279 Upvotes on 255 Posts
Take the bread maker up to the bathroom or other location where you have a GFCI receptacle and also plumbing nearby. Plug it into that receptacle and switch it on. While standing on dry cardboard, hold the bread maker in one hand and touch it to the plumbing. If the GFCI trips then the bread maker is hazardous.

(If the GFCI does not trip then nothing is proved immediately. For example the faucet spout might be silvered plastic and there is no conductive path to cause a current flow.)
 
  #6  
Old 04-16-14, 11:21 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Holy Crap AllanJ! I appreciate your response but is there another to do this besides trying to shock me?

Thank you.
 
  #7  
Old 04-16-14, 11:42 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 19,281
Received 6 Upvotes on 6 Posts
He meant to touch the bread maker to a metal part that's grounded and see if the GFCI in the bath trips...since you would be insulated and only using one hand you wouldn't get shocked. Holding a typical bread maker with one hand would be problematic though. And it's also likely your pipes aren't fully grounded. Any plastic pipe in the path would insulate the external metal parts.

You could do a similar check using a multimeter. Get a analog meter with a needle for $10 or so. Plug the maker in in the kitchen, same outlet as before, and turn it on, set the meter to read at least 120VAC, touch one lead to the sink, and one to the metal part of the maker. Any reading indicates leakage from the electrical components of the maker to the case which is unacceptable.

Btw...some kitchens only have 1 or 2 GFCI receptacles (depending on how many total outlets) and they are first on the run and protect the others down stream.

If you had a GFCI, it should have been replaced with a GFCI.
 
  #8  
Old 04-16-14, 12:18 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Gunguy45 - Thanks for that. I do have a multimeter so I will try your suggestion. There aren't any GFCI outlets in my kitchen. My house was built in 1989. I bought a 3 pack of GFCIs earlier today to install. Should I put one in the first outlet? I believe there's 3 on that side of the wall. The fridge is hooked to the first one, microwave (and bread maker when used) on the second and coffeemaker & deep fryer on third. Don't know if this means anything but if we have deep fryer and microwave and/or coffee brewing the breaker always pops.

Thank you,
 
  #9  
Old 04-16-14, 12:34 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 19,281
Received 6 Upvotes on 6 Posts
Wow...89 and no GFCIs? Thats pretty odd...but it all depends on what the codes were in your area at the time.

You need to determine if all outlets are on the same circuit by throwing breakers and seeing if they all go out on one breaker. Then you need to determine the first outlet. Normally the closest to the panel, but not always. Fridge is often on a separate breaker...at least nowadays they are.

The breaker popping is because you have far too much of a load with all those items running at the same time. Without knowing exactly what the nameplate data says...you can guess about 8-10 amps for a large micro on high, prob close to same for the fryer, and maybe 3-5 for the heating element in the coffee maker.

Actually, just looked at my med size deep fryer...10.8 amps. Coffee maker is 10.2amps(who'd a thunk it). Just those 2 would pop a 20 amp breaker with continued use. Not instantaneously, but add a micro and it would pop quick.

If those outlets are all on the same 20 amp breaker, you need to limit use or split the outlets to 2 different circuits.
 
  #10  
Old 04-16-14, 12:40 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
I will do it.

Thank you for your help!
 
  #11  
Old 04-16-14, 07:02 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 16,321
Received 38 Upvotes on 30 Posts
Before you rush to install a GFCI receptacle look at the circuit breakers for the kitchen counter receptacles. If they have a test button then you have GFCI protection already on those receptacles. My house was built in 1987 and I have the GFCI circuit breakers. Someone after the initial construction installed a GFCI receptacle which meant that there were two GFCI devices in series, not a good idea in most cases.

Even if you DO have the GFCI circuit breakers you need to test them periodically to make certain they continue working. The same is true of the GFCI receptacles. If they fail the test then they need to be replaced.
 
  #12  
Old 04-16-14, 07:08 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 9,874
Received 185 Upvotes on 166 Posts
My house was built in 1989.
Out of my own curiosity, where approximately do you live? Are you in a rural area of MO? Any codes/inspections in your area
 
  #13  
Old 04-16-14, 07:31 PM
J
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: KS
Posts: 1,655
Upvotes: 0
Received 1 Upvote on 1 Post
Joel I'd say the fact that his DW got zapped by a ground fault is pretty good evidence that either there is no GFCI protection at all, or if there is it has failed.

And for the record, the kitchen countertop GFCI requirement for within 6 feet of the sink was added in the 1987 cycle. So it's entirely possible that it was not required by his AHJ in 89. Hell our town is still on 2002! BUT, the electrician who replaced the bad outlet should have installed a GFCI.

My parents had an in-law apartment put on our house in NJ in '90, and there were no GFCIs in the kitchen at all. Only in the bathroom.
 
  #14  
Old 04-16-14, 07:58 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 16,321
Received 38 Upvotes on 30 Posts
Agreed, Matt. I sometimes forget that many areas are a bit slow in adopting the revised codes because Washington state is usually one of the first to adopt.
 
 

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