Llight switch gives electrical tingle

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Old 07-22-18, 02:14 AM
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Llight switch gives electrical tingle

I looked around the net but seems people want to force
 
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Old 07-22-18, 05:05 AM
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Hi, want to force what?
Geo
 
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Old 07-22-18, 06:26 AM
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Whether you get an electrical tingle is better described as more likely or less likely depending on the circumtstances as opposed to you will get it or you will not get it. Or we could say that with a given set or circumstances there is perhaps a 30% probability or a 50% probability as opposed to a 100% or zero percent probability you will feel it. Like there being an 80% probability of rain and it doesn't versus a 20% probability of rain and it pours all day.

It is more likely if yourfingers are wet whn you touch the switch and you are standing barefoot on a moist concrete floor.

The current, most likely very minute, flows from the utility pole transformer through the meter and the rest of the electrical system up to the light switch, then out and through your finger and body down to your foot and out to the moisture in the concrete floor into the ground (earth; soil; dirt) to a ground rod perhaps at the utility pole and up the ground wire and into the electrical grounding system back to the neutral terminal on the pole transformer. There is some resistance in every part of this path and the total resistance (sum of the resistances of the parts) together with the voltage (about 120) determines how much current will flow. You will probably feel the tingle if more than one milliampere flowed. More than about 20 milliamps can kill you although with a less than 100% probability..
 
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Old 07-23-18, 04:19 AM
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Lol, yeah, i didnt know that posted, my phone was acting up and i thought i clicked out, i was gonna post it after i checked a few things,

Since its here i will try to salvage it

About 3 years ago we buy this 100 plus yo fixer upper former b&b,
Along its life upgrades were made, looking at some,areas is really cool to me almost like carousel of progress at disney, the new along side the defunct old, decades of progression.

The kitchen was upgraded so to speak in the 80s, a new sub panel ran just for it,
It has two over head lights on separate switches and 4 outlets along the counter walls, a dish waster and garbage disposal,
but i know from my 3 year crash course in AC just because its got the ground plug doesnt mean that it was done correctly in fact i have sadly learned too many so called professionals fail to do the job correctly,

Since the kitchen basically worked i focused on other areas needing attention, but tina pressed for me to get on it so i did,
My wife kept saying if her hands were wet or even damp that just touching the plastic switch would give that low level tingle,
The floor is wood with who knows how many layers of tiles or coverings,
Our feet are not bear or wet,
I have tried it and it will tingle your finger as long as you are willing to touch it, not a full shock, even less that that of one of those joke store toys that shocks the victim.

The reason i didnt post this thread or thought i backed out is a couple reasons that i present with all due respects,

From past experiences on diy forums i get a reply to call in a professional, i find that both ridiculous and a waste of my time, then the poster gets angry that they didnt know and that i want to learn and do it myself, i simply dont have the time to waste or good health to feed trolls.

I also feel that before i posted this i should gone into all the outlets and switches and be sure the ground is even hooked up, start there, i know the sub panel is grounded, i did it.

But no, wet finger or not im a bit perpleaxed how current travels through plastic into my finger, and no, its not all dripping full of water, just damp,

Im betting allen you can shine light on that part of this for me,
I dont believe it can be correct or safe...but clue me in,

Many thanks,
B

PS,
The answer i saw being forced to my same question others had posted was its static and i assure you its not static.
 
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Old 07-23-18, 09:06 AM
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I have tried it and it will tingle your finger as long as you are willing to touch it,
I have never seen or heard of getting a shock off the plastic handle of a switch in a home setting.
Ground has nothing to do with it. You can't ground a plastic handle.

I have seen it many times in commercial/industrial locations where 277vac is used to power lights.
 
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Old 07-23-18, 10:16 AM
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When you touched the switch, what was your other hand resting on? Or was your body or leg pressed up against a metal cabinet or sink base? Several square inches of skin even with some clothing in between against several square inches of cabinet even with a porcelain finish could pass a milliampere of 60 Hz alternating current using what is called capacitance. The cabinet in turn, if it held the sink or touched a metal stand for the sink, would be grounded letting current from your body get back to the utility pole transformer as I described earlier.

Meanwhile back at the switch, over the years, other people with wet not perfectly rinsed hands may have repeatedly let water with some grease or detergent get into the switch leaving a layer of residue on the switch toggle, that could could conduct a milliamp from the live switch innards to your finger.

If you install a ground fault circuit interrupter breaker on that circuit you will have near perfect protection against electrocution although it is still possible to feel the tingle.
 
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Old 07-23-18, 10:51 AM
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Pj,

Im not making it up and its normal house current,
The range was 220v in the kitchen and its breaker is off, the dryer is also 220v on that panel as is the water heater but both seem to work fine.

This is from a sub panel they installed just for that 80s kitchen remodel long before we got here,
All that is on that panel is the kitchen and a washer and dryer, water heater and Some modern basement lights ( socket with bulb )

If i go down there now and try it, wet my fingers and touch either or 2 plastic switches i will feel it, the tingle is unplesant but i dont freak out like tina does,

I cant figure out how current can flow through plastic,
like i said fingers wet but switch is dry,
My plan is to replace all switches and sockets making sure they are hooked up correctly,


I hate to confuse this issue any as this may or may not be related,
When we moved in anout 3 years back i had to get a new water heater,
I went electric and had it installed as i had not yet taken my crash courses in plumbing and AC,

The fellow who installed it ( 220v ) said that i needed the duplex /Siamese breakers where one flips off both do,
So a few days later i got one and replaced the two separate breakers he had the water heater wired to on the sub panel during that I rested my hand/arm ( everything was dry ) on the water heater top i cant recall if it was the pressure valve or water pipe and felt the same kind of low tingle,
That did freak me out at the time,

I knew that the basement 2000 sq ft had been used as a business many years before for a sign company they had a long bank of dual bulb florescent light fixtures running down one side over where they did sign work,

I knew several of the fixtures didnt light, i had tried new bulbs which were there but these were very old fixtures, and hummed, my brain and eyes dont like florescent anyway,
I went to the first one, opened it to disconnect its wiring from where it was connected to that modern basement light wiring i mentioned and what i assume was the transformer was melted,
i then noticed the person who installed them didnt attach the ground wire in any practical way,

After i disconnected the florescent fixtures the water heater no longer gave me a tingle.

Now tina just added something i didnt know, that when she just washes her hands in the kitchen sink or washing a dish ( barefoot, likely not dry feet ) some times not every time she will feel the tingle,
I have used the kitchen sink a lot and never felt the tingle just from the water stream but i do always have shoes on,
I also believe her,

Many thanks
b
 
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Old 07-23-18, 11:00 AM
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Allen you were posting at the same i was,

In my case i can get a tingle with wet/damp fingers and only thing im touching is the switch,

i removed one switch plate and sure enough the switch is down right gross, perhaps the previous owners cat whizzed in it, that type gross,
Not sure what the funk is but im sure it could be causing all kinds of issues,

I will pull the other plates a little later,

Again, thanks all!
 
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Old 07-23-18, 11:01 AM
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Any kind of tingle is typically a bad thing, and can indicate larger issues.

The first thing I'd do, is replace the switch with a decent quality switch (not the $0.79 ones). If the box is metal and grounded, you can use any plate on it you want. If it's metal and ungrounded, I would use a plastic cover and plastic screws. You're basically eliminating the possibility of any metal part being available to touch.

Separately, I would confirm that your water piping is bonded (grounded) to your electrical panel ground. If this bond was removed at some point in the past, or broken with some plastic piping, it's possible that you can have items in your kitchen that can have potential on them. Based on your description, it doesn't sound like that's the issue - but I have seen cases where someone gets a similar 'tingle' from their kitchen sink.


From past experiences on diy forums i get a reply to call in a professional
Well, you found a forum where most everyone here started off as a naive DIYer. We do sometimes direct people to professionals on certain topics (gas piping, refrigerant, etc), and if they seem to be well over their head. But it sounds like you have the knowledge to troubleshoot an odd problem like this... though it is an odd problem, so may require some patience!

-Mike
 
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Old 07-23-18, 12:54 PM
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Hey mike,
I do not recall seeing the water pipes being grounded,
I believe i would have noticed as i said i ran the ground from panel to earth ground, ( long copper pipe in ground )

About 20 plus years ago the lady we bought the place from bought it for "investment"
She had work done including the entire place re plumbed,

It was done with copper pipe and it would seem like a mile of pipes and 1000 sweats,
Well, not that much but you get the idea, not a small job,

The pipe comes in from the street into the basement and has a cpvc master cutoff but the rest is copper,
They ran it to the second floor and even to the attic for reasons im clueless on, why the run to the attic but they capped it and work stopped for over 20 years until we got the place. Her investment idea didnt pan out, she lost money,

I have the upstairs bathroom partly working,
High tank toilet, still deciding on sink and hunting two feet for the tub,

Okay, sorry i got side tracked, to ground the water pipe would i just clamp a copper ground to it and then run my copper ground wire to the ground bus in the panel?

It sounds like a good idea to ground the water pipes....

On my "call a pro rant" sorry about that, i was just venting im on a rather tight budget and health issues and for example could never own my dream car, a 69 corvette if i didnt do all the work myself,
This house is like that, never could we have bought it if not for being a "diamond in the rough" as the realtor called it,
So doing as much as i can is a must,
I do my stuff to code, i figure that has to be good enough.
 
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Old 07-23-18, 01:50 PM
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In order to feel a tingle..... you need to be completing a circuit. The cat urine could be conductive but you would need a path to ground. That would be like bare feet on a cement floor. In shoes you should not feel any tingle.

We use pictures to help in the discussion. Don't just ground the water pipes. It sounds like you don't have a metal water service and that would require you to have ground rods before connecting anything to your water pipes. You're not grounding the pipes..... you are bonding them but it needs to be confirmed that the service is actually grounded properly.
How-to-insert-pictures
 
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Old 07-24-18, 03:23 AM
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I know pictures are sometimes worth a 1000 words but between the fact that im having server issues, i dont get the "advanced" option for uploading and i believe some are savvy enough to understand what i describe i will have to skip pics for the moment, forgive the inconvenience but a pic would only show a copper rod sticking out of the earth with copper wire clamped to it running to panel.

I also know from spending time on many different forums sometimes a reader will miss in this case important details,
As i said before and it appears was perhaps missed i know my panels are grounded as i added the ground rods myself, very long, what ever code called for copper rod hammered into the earth a large gauge copper wire clamped to it then ran to the ground bus in the panel,
Is that not proper grounding ?

I am also familiar with grounding from cb radio stuff.

I tested a bit better, the switch isnt wet inside it,
And i wet my fingers, no tingle, touched Formica counter top too with other hand, no tingle,
Touched wet spot on counter, bingo, tingle,
Touch stainless sink, tingle....
 
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Old 07-24-18, 08:01 AM
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The pipe comes in from the street into the basement and has a cpvc master cutoff but the rest is copper,

Is the pipe entering the basement from the street metal or plastic? Is there a grounding jumper across the CPVC valve? Do you have a GEC (Grounding Electrode Conductor) from the neutral bus in the panel to within 5 feet of where the water service enters the basement? If the water service entering the basement is metal pipe you need this along with the jumper across the CPVC valve.


i added the ground rods myself, very long, what ever code called for copper rod hammered into the earth a large gauge copper wire clamped to it then ran to the ground bus in the panel,
Is that not proper grounding ?

No, that isn't correct, the GEC must terminate directly on the neutral bus. Is the neutral bus bonded to the panel box.
 
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Old 07-24-18, 10:10 AM
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Okay, i went to look to be sure i describe this situation correctly.

Power comes from pole to main panel on back of house,
It has bonded netural and ground, the ground wire comes out of panel and is clamped to old unused past water pipes and what appears to be a ground rod driven into earth,

This main panel feeds two basement sub panels, the first i will call sub 1,
It has the 2 hots and 1 netural coming from main panel.

It has unbonded netural and ground buses the ground bus has a large copper wire that goes outside clamped to long copper rod driven into the earth.

Main panel also feeds a second sub panel 2,
That panel has 2 hots one netural and unbonded ground and neutral,
A large copper wire runs from its ground bus to a long copper rod driven into the earth.

The water pipe coming in from city is cpvc after the cut off it is copper pipe throughout the house,
None of the old original galvanized pipe is used but most remains,

I just googled a little and reading that sub panels shouldnt have bounded ground/netural as it gives another path if the netural has an issue,
then i read they should in some installations, ( in the building vs separate structure, lots of down right confusing and contradicting info out there, all seem sincere but sincerity doesnt make a person right.

So thats what im working with...

Thanks all!
 
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Old 07-24-18, 12:10 PM
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Ive been reading the last couple hours trying to learn and basically everything i find says neutral and ground should not be bonded in sub panels, mine are not.

However, the ground and netural are bonded in the main panel,
And They do want a ground wire from main panel to ground bus in sub panel, if sub panel is not in main structure they also want the copper rod in earth connected to ground bus of sub panel, like mine are.

So im missing the ground wire from main panel to sub panels, not hard to add, and since they are in main structure mine didnt need the rods in the earth,
 
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Old 07-24-18, 05:57 PM
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The only way to properly add a ground to the sub panels is to replace the three wire cable with a four wire cable. The grounds are only connected to the main panel.
 
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Old 07-25-18, 01:02 AM
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Both sub panels were here when we got here,
One nice, one not, i replaced the old one it had weird push button breakers, some melted on some melted off, it was scary.

The kitchen sub was i believe added in the 1980s kitchen remodel,
It has a separate unbonded ground bus and netural bus but only 3 large gauge cables 2 hot one netural running from main panel to it,
While they did run all the kitchen switches and outlet grounds to that ground bus it ends there so basically doing nothing.

About 2 years back was when looking at sub panel installs on the net to replaced that old bad one,

i got the impression the sub was suppose to have its ground bus attached to a rod in the earth so i added it,
Now after a lot more looking and reading it appears the rod in earth i added is only required if the sub panel is out in a detatched building, but some do added them in a situation like mine and they are allowed.
But yeah, i need a ground running to main panel.

i also noted in around 2005 codes changed and before that a sub in a detatched structure could have bonded ground and neutral but not any more, it would seem across the board now everyone says do not bond ground and neutral in sub panels no matter where they are located.
Feedback on a forum for inspectors was a rant how many subs they see and fail with bonded ground / neutral.
So im good there.

Iur days and nights and backwards but i was reading before i crashed out about the 4 wire run you speak of and watched a couple youtube videos,
I noticed their 2 hots and 1 neutral cables were large gauge like what i have, but their ground wire was smaller gauge,

( we know in my case that ground from main panel to sub is not present )

I then get pretty darn confused i read on another forum where the guy even posted codes etc that the ground in that 4 wire run has to be the same gauge as the hots and netural, i will go see what else i can find on that,

Its not really practical for several reasons for me to buy all new 4 wire and do new runs to the subs i would like to just add the ground wire to whats there so what gauge should the ground be?

And why arent grounds shielded, even if just to look better?

And could this lack of ground from sub to main play a part in the reason for the kitchen tingle that started this thread?

In other words shouldnt something be preventing that tingle.

Again thanks all,
Cheers
b
 
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Old 07-25-18, 08:22 AM
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There is a table in the NEC that gives the size for ground wires (equipment grounding conductors) in subpanel feeds and branch circuits. I don't have it in front of me but a few excerpts: 14 gauge current carrying conductors 14 gauge ground; 12 gauge wiring 12 gauge ground, 10, 8, or 6 gauge wiring 10 gauge ground, 4 gauge wiring 8 gauge ground.

About the ground rod for the subpanel in the same building as its supra panel, you need to do one of two things: (1) Unhook everything from that rod, (2) Run a 6 gauge copper wire from that rod around the outside of the house to the other ground rod at the main panel.
 
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Old 07-25-18, 09:37 AM
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Okay you say do one of two things,

While not very practical in my situation because of where the panels/rods are located i understand door number two,
Basically connect the earth rods.

Door number one, after i disconnect the sub from the ground rod. Then what?
 
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Old 07-25-18, 11:55 AM
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See why im confused, the last two replies to me state 2 diffent solutions to my issue, one stated theirs is the only way,

So can i just add a ground wire from subs ground bus to mains ground and be done?
 
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Old 07-25-18, 07:11 PM
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Any subpanel should be feed with a 4 wire feeder.
 
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Old 07-25-18, 07:55 PM
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Just the "first" panel in a building needs ground rods. If you choose to disconnect everything from the ground rod at the subpanel then that ground rod may be left there unused.

Multiple ground rods about a building need to be interconnected if they are used for anything including TV antennas in turn used by equipment powered by the electrical system.

The proper grounding for a subpanel is the ground wire (equipment grounding conductor) which is supposed to accompany the feed wires in the same cable or conduit. You will get electrically adequate although not code compliant grounding by adding a ground wire from the subpanel to its supra panel running independently along any convenient route, and the supra panel is grounded either compliantly or with a separately run ground wire as described here, and so on on up to a properly grounded main panel.
 
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Old 07-25-18, 07:56 PM
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Thats right they should be...4 wire feeds,

Thanks allen,

Hey thanks all for helping i got it all worked out,

Cheers
b
 
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