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Can open neutral be cause for shock turning off the shower faucet?

Can open neutral be cause for shock turning off the shower faucet?


Old 05-28-17, 09:38 PM
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Can open neutral be cause for shock turning off the shower faucet?

The lights in my house began dimming and then bright again, off and on with no pattern, and then my son got a light zap when he was turning off the water in the shower.

I had the power company come out that day and they found an open neutral in the meter box. They shut off my power due to it being a fire hazard and cut the lines to the riser so that an electrician would be able to work on it.

The electrician found a lot of things wrong, such as the AC had been installed illegally, and he said the grounding for the AC was only to the meter box.

Because of the AC, and a few other things that needed to be brought up to code, I had to have a complete upgrade, new riser, meter box, shut off, and I believe he corrected the AC grounding because there is a new rod and what appears to be a larger wire, etc.

My question is about the shower though. Did the open neutral have anything to do with that? When I asked the electrician, he didn't seem to know for sure but commented that my house still has a lot of the original wiring (it was built in 1960) and there for not much grounded wiring. It has been in areas of the house, but not all.

I don't believe that the original wiring not having a ground is the reason my kid got zapped in the shower, or else the occupants have just been lucky over the past 57 years?
Old 05-28-17, 09:52 PM
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Could an Open Neutral be cause for shock turning off the shower faucet?
The short answer is yes.

Your main electrical panel or disconnect should be connected to a metal water supply line and to at least one ground rod. Many homes have no ground rods and a non metallic water service from the street.

That means there is no ground protection available to your panel. The neutral and ground are connected together at the main panel or disconnect. Since it appears you are lacking a ground..... the voltage imbalance on the open neutral also appeared on the ground and thus the plumbing.

Just to add further..... based on a re-read.... it would appear that the drain plumbing is all metal grounding the shower drain. That is what should happen. The panel bonded to the water service and it not being grounded was the problem.

One ground rod is good. Two is much better and recommended.

Last edited by PJmax; 05-28-17 at 10:08 PM.
Old 05-28-17, 10:34 PM
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This is my upgrade and the black wiring coming from the shut off (disconnect?) box goes through the white thing and down to the new rod. Does this help with what you were referring to the disconnect being connected to a grounding rod?

(btw, we just got our power back last night. Electrician had to get a permit to work on this and then our city inspector had to come out and approve it before the power company would restore power so we've been living with a generator for about 2 1/2 days!)

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Last edited by ray2047; 05-28-17 at 11:21 PM.
Old 05-29-17, 01:03 AM
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The ground rod should be driven flush or below the surface .

A ground rod has nothing to do with grounding a branch circuit. Entirely different purpose.
Old 05-30-17, 11:46 AM
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The electrician should have (and 99% likely he did) bond (ground) your new electrical panel to your metal plumbing pipes. This bond helps keep everything metal in your house at 0v so you can't get shocked in the future. There should also be a jumper wire across the water meter and between the Hot/Cold lines going into your water heater.

Similarly, your telephone, cable TV, Satellite TV should all be connected to the same ground; that's what the intersystem bonding termination box is for. They don't all have to connect to that box, but the idea is that it makes it easy for each one to connect to a solid ground.

Basically, you want everything that's metal in your house to be connected together, so if some odd situation occurs like a loose neutral, your plumbing system doesn't inadvertently become energized.

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