High voltage between neutral and ground?


Old 06-09-15, 11:46 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 2
High voltage between neutral and ground?

Hey there,

I started noticing a short while after moving into a newly built apartment that I got shocked from most of my appliances, just now I got my multimeter and I measured 37 Volts from ground to my kitchen sink and 40 Volts from neutral to ground. I'm no electrician by any measure, but from what I've understood, normal voltage should be around zero or a few Volts?

European resident, so 230V and not 120V I'm sure most of you are more familiar with.
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Old 06-09-15, 12:00 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,515
Generally this type of problem breaks down into three possibilities.

1. A loose or broken neutral (return) wire in the building service entrance. Often a connection worked loose due to wind blowing hanging wires.

2. Faulty grounding and bonding of the building, including the plumbing.

3. A malfunctioning electrical appliance that connects directly to the water lines like a central or in-line water heater or washing machine.

In any case, it is almost certainly a problem for an electrician and/or power company technician to fix as soon as possible. This type of shock can be very dangerous and I would recommend being extremely careful until it is fixed. In the US this would be the responsibility of the landlord to fix, not sure how your rental laws work.
Old 06-10-15, 05:57 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 2
Thank you so much for the reply, sorry about the late answer. The house owner is sending an electrician asap.

Will this be damaging to any appliances in my home? I'm mainly thinking about my PC in this case
Old 06-10-15, 06:06 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 3,097
Do you pay an electric bill or is electricity included in your rent?

Getting this problem fixed is the first priority, but an improper fix may result in an elevated electric bill.

After the problem at hand is fixed you will want to verify current usage by turning off all breakers in the panel, unplugging appliances, and then turning circuits on one at a time to see if power is being drawn when you think no power should be drawn.

When yhou are done testing, see that the light inside the refrigerator comes on as a double check that you plugged that back in.

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