Current in water supply

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Old 09-28-16, 02:23 AM
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Unhappy Current in water supply

Hi folks, first post here so bare with me. Tried searching through the forums but my problem seems bit specific.
Whenever I turn on the electric stove (3 phase) there is 40-ish-V in the water from every tap in the house.
My water supply is from a private well and electric pump/motor through iron pipework.
That and the water heater in the bathroom are the only connections between the water and the power in the house but there is no problem when they are turned on. Only when the stove is turned on. I've tried examining the stove wiring but there is no power on the ground wire. How in hell is this possible? Any insight would be highly appreciated.
Thank you in advance.
 
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Old 09-28-16, 03:13 AM
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Welcome to the forums! You are from another country with different electrical supplies than North America, so our advice may be sketchy. Just how are you measuring the voltage in the water? It is possible you have a leak beyond the confines of the stove itself, but that is only a guess.
 
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Old 09-28-16, 03:34 AM
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Thank you for your answer. Yes, the voltage in my country is 220V opposed to your 110 (I guess?).
I've measured the inductance in the water, also the voltage drop between a known ground/+ and - in the outlet and the water itself with a DMM and the math shows 36-40V. There is no leakage anywhere and the problem occurs only when I turn on some of the hotplate rings or the oven. Since I don't have another 3 phase outlet near I have created 3 single phase outlets from the one in question using the 3 phases and the neutral and there is NO problem when there is load on each of them. I'm stumped with this and there is no other way I can think of to test or diagnose this issue.
 
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Old 09-28-16, 04:43 AM
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Does your stove have a cord with five wires: three for the 3 phases, one for a neutral, and one for a ground?

How are you measuring the lack of current on the ground wire?

What does your known ground consist of?

Try unplugging the stove. Measure resistance (ohms function of a multimeter) between a hot prongs and the ground prong, also between the hot prong and the body of the stove, as you turn different burners and the oven on. Repeat for each hot prong.

There should be infinite resistance between hot prongs and the stove body at all times.

(Always turn power off or disconnect the appliance or device before doing resistance measurements.)

In the U.S. the neutral from the electric meter, ground rods, ground wires in electrical cables, and the water pipes (if metal) are interconnected using heavy (usually #4 copper) wire and/or terminal strips in the breaker panels (some more detailed rules apply) which makes any and all of them a known ground. Neutral wires and ground wires are never joined or jumpered together except at one point, in the box or panel where the first whole-house switch or breaker is.
 
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Old 09-28-16, 11:41 PM
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Nikolov, just a point of reference the U.S. has 220v service in homes for major appliances like electric stoves, hot water heaters, central A/C with heat, and even some well pumps.
 
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Old 09-28-16, 11:47 PM
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just a point of reference the U.S. has 220v service in homes for major appliances like electric stoves
No, Gnnapi We have 120/240 or 240 on single phase residential and 208 on some 3-phase supplies.
 
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Old 09-29-16, 03:15 PM
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That and the water heater in the bathroom are the only connections between the water and the power in the house but there is no problem when they are turned on. Only when the stove is turned on.
The water heater isn't necessarily on and operating just because the power is turned on to it, it should be cycling on demand. This may be a long shot, but I think I'd try turning off the power to the water heater and then turn on the range and check for voltage in the water.
 
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Old 09-30-16, 07:30 AM
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I know the topic title is "current in water supply" but isn't this actually just a phantom voltage that would disappear if it were tested with an old-school solenoid circuit tester, or anything that puts a slight load on the circuit?
 
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Old 09-30-16, 02:17 PM
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How would you test voltage/current in water? What would you use for a ground? What would you use as a source?
 
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Old 09-30-16, 05:56 PM
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When the plumbing system is properly bonded to the electrical ground (to the grounding electrode system) then you will not have dangerous voltages in the water.

Admittedly this bonding of the plumbing system may in some cases treat the symptoms (the voltage) as opposed to treat the problem (the item such as a heating element that has a fault to a grounded object). Eliminating the voltage by bonding without bothering to figure out whether the voltage was phantom or not is another example of treating the symptoms instead of the problem.


Such bonding would include bonding jumpers between sections of metal plumbing with plastic plumbing between them.
.
 
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Old 10-05-16, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by chandler
How would you test voltage/current in water?
Beats me Larry but the OP did say "in the water" rather than on the fixtures.

I remember seeing a demo at a university open house nearly 40 years ago of the signal from a recording being conducted by a gas flame from a torch on the way to the amp & speaker. I don't know how you'd measure that either but it made a memorable demo
 
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Old 10-13-16, 02:34 PM
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Hi folks, sorry for the late reply but I was very busy and didn't have the time to investigate any further. This weekend I took the time to go all over the issue.
First of all, for all of you asking "how did I measure current/voltage in water", is at first by using a direct test simple volt meter (digital) which gave me 36V in the water flowing from the tap. Then I've measured it with a DMM between me (as a ground) and the water, then between the 0 and the water and all result came back with 40V difference in potential. Then I dug deeper till I found out that there is voltage in any grounded el. appliance in that room (the kitchen). I've tested the stove wiring for continuity and resistance and it is OK. But the problem only became worse when I disconnected the room wiring at the hub in the kitchen. Started testing for resistance first and the values between the phases and the ground/0 were in the KO range (24-40). Then came along the continuity test and bang! continuity between every freaking wire in the wiring. Yeah, continuity between the phase in one outlet and negative in the other (in the same outlet also) same goes for the ground. It's like they are all spliced together (not really but you get the point). There is also 140V difference in potential between the 0 and the phase INSULATION... So what is happening is (probably) the voltage, when wiring put under load is traveling backwards through the ground wiring, to the water heater in the bathroom>water heater external chassis>WH reservoar>water>unlucky ******* trying to take a bath while someone is making tea in the kitchen . This really bummed me out since the only solution I see here is replacing the wiring in the kitchen which will be a lengthy and costly job. Maybe I will re-route the wiring externally for the couple of outlets and light fixtures in the kitchen temporary till the winter is over and there are better days for construction work. Any other ideas will be highly appreciated.

EDIT: Maybe the mod's should change the thread topic to "Voltage in water supply" since the current name is inaccurate.
 

Last edited by Nikolov; 10-13-16 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 10-13-16, 07:35 PM
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What is a "hub" and why did you disconnect the wiring? Were there any multi wire branch circuits? Did you disconnect all the ground wires from the kitchen circuits?
I am still wondering how your "simple test" for voltage was carried out. What did you use for a ground? What, exactly, did you probe?
 
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Old 10-14-16, 12:48 AM
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Hi chandler, a "hub" (that is the most suitable translation I could think of) is a box in every room (some rooms might have multiple depending on the number of connections for the room) that has the connections for the room wiring to the mains wiring. Don't know the standards in your country nor the practices for el. installation but here the electrical installation is done this way: City mains>main fuse box (outside the house)>floor fuse box (every hot output on a separate fuse)>"hub">outlet/light fixture. Maybe it's the same thing you have but clearly the language barrier is greater than I thought .
I have disconnected the wiring at the hub and started moving backwards (from the end point/outlet) to check if there is some short in the wiring for the room and as it turns out, there is or at least there is big leakage from the insulation.
"Multi-wire branch circuits"?-Maybe this is my "hub"?
The voltage in the water... I've used this - Name:  s-l1600.jpg
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Size:  14.0 KB - picture worth 1000 words and simply put it under the water flowing from the tap while the stove was on. Then I've used DMM, again putting one lead under the flowing water and the other on my skin and last one probe under the water and the other on the 0 in one of the bathroom outlets.
 
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Old 10-14-16, 02:52 AM
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The picture is of a non contact tester. They are worthless for any real testing because any nearby electrical field will cause them to react. Digital multimeters are some what better but except for some very expensive ones can be fooled. Best is an analog multimeter because its much lower impedance tends to bleeds off spurious charges.

As to hubs, not usually. Power is usually daisy chained from one outlet (defined in our code as anywhere power is accessed, receptacles, lights, etc,) to the next. Occasionally the "hub" method is used but it is called a junction box. Sixty or more years ago the power did come into the ceiling light box then out to the receptacles but that method is no longer used.

If the water pipes are metal they should be connected to the ground bar (or combined ground/neutral bar) in your breaker or fuse box and in addition there should be at least one eight foot long ground rod connected to the same ground bar (or combined ground/neutral bar) and that should mean no potential difference.

Electric water heaters are often the culprits with these problems due to a compromised heating element but so can a loose or disconnected neutral at another house on the same transformer.
 
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Old 10-14-16, 03:24 AM
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Regardless of how it was measured, there is actual tingling that can be felt through the whole body when I'm in the shower and some kitchen appliance is on. Somehow I get the feeling that we are not on the same page, or I'm having difficulties in explaining the problem. The water heater is not the problem, the voltage/current is from the kitchen and the water heater only receives it through the ground and transferring it to the container thus to the water so I can feel it. I don't know if the pipes are connected to ground cause the pipes are under 40cm of concrete. You may be surprised of this, but hey, we are still using "hubs" and we will be using them for another 50 years from now. Phew...
 
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Old 10-14-16, 04:10 AM
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I don't know if the pipes are connected to ground
You could run a #6 wire from the ground bar (or ground/neutral bar) in your panel to the nearest cold water pipe and see if that helps.
The water heater is not the problem, the voltage/current is from the kitchen and the water heater only receives it through the ground and transferring it to the container thus to the water so I can feel it.
I don't understand that sentence. Is your water heater electric? Do you have hot water at the kitchen sink? Do you have pipes from your water heater running to each sink in your house? Or are you saying you have point of use water heaters?
 
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Old 10-14-16, 05:43 AM
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I will try to run a wire from the panel to the nearest pipe as you suggested but they are almost 20m apart. Will that length have any impact?
For the heater part... My water heater is electric. I do have hot water in the kitchen provided from another small water heater located in the kitchen. The kitchen hot water is from the heater in the kitchen and the hot water in the bath is from the water heater in the bath. My point was that the excess voltage that goes into the ground wire originated from the short in the kitchen is not going in it's return path or the ground, but through the water container in the water heater and the water is choosing me as the path of least resistance. Still can't figure out how I have less resistance than the grounding in my house but hey, what do I know...
 
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Old 10-14-16, 09:32 AM
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...the water is choosing me as the path of least resistance. Still can't figure out how I have less resistance than the grounding in my house but hey, what do I know...
You seem to be of the mistaken opinion that electricity follows the path of least resistance back to its source. It does not. Electricity follows ALL paths back to its source, the current (amperage) dependent upon the resistance/impedance (AC resistance) of the path.

Do not be so quick to dismiss the possibility of a malfunctioning electric water heater. Any break in the electrically insulative properties of the electric element may cause a partial flow (current) of electricity to the water.
 
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Old 10-14-16, 11:35 AM
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Electric could flow from either water heater through the cold water piping so you need to shutoff the breakers for both water heaters at the same time and verify zero volts at both heaters (use a meter not that non contact tester) then test the water for voltage. If no voltage turn power back on to one of the heaters and test again. If still no voltage try the other water heater.
 
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Old 10-17-16, 01:53 AM
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I have tried that. Both heaters disconnected (wiring) and fuses OFF. Whenever the stove is on, I get 50V on the ground wire coming TO the heater and there is voltage on EVERY ground pin in EVERY outlet in the house. No voltage in water since the heater is disconnected. As soon as connect the ground wire to the heater the voltage in the water is back - this is with phase and 0 disconnected and fuse for the heater is OFF. I think it's safe to say once again that the heater is not the issue, it's just bridging the voltage from the ground wire (the cause) to the water (the effect).
One thing I've noticed in the junction box for the stove outlet + single phase outlet + light fixture - there are 5 - "0" wires spliced together. Voltage is 0 on them while they are spliced BUT as soon as I separate them there is 70V on one of them. Group them back together - 0V... I think my house is haunted
 
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