Electrocuted from neutral

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Hi!
I have a quick question and wondered if somebody can explain this to me. While working on some wiring today, I got a bit of a jolt from the neutral wire. When I tested it with my voltmeter, it read zero (I had the breaker off). But then, when I grabbed the neutral, I got a tingle.
I took my voltmeter and tested it, and it peaked up around 1 to 2 volts, then dropped back to zero. Did it again a few minutes later and the same thing.
Upon further investigation, I found that there was one neutral that was going to the furnace (on one circuit) and then up to the sockets on the other circuit. One circuit (the furnace one) was live while the other was dead.
Just so I understand, is the reason why I got a tingle was because electricity was flowing through the live circuit? If I turned off the circuit for the furnace along with the other one, would this have prevented me from getting a little shock? I read one posting that said to use the clamp to check for amps. Should I have done this along with checking out how many volts are running through it?
Thanks!
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*The neutral is a current carrying conductor. It sounds as if the one that you are referring to is part of a multiwire circuit that is shared with the furnace. When the furnace comes on there will be current flowing through it. You should treat it like a live wire even when the circuit breaker is off.
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This is a good rule to practice...but how do you test for this?
Thanks for the responses...
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wrote:

This is a good rule to practice...but how do you test for this?
*No test. When handling the conductors treat them as though juice was flowing. Tape up the bare ends, don't touch the ends, don't let them come in contact with anything else, keep one hand behind your back, etc. I am used to working with hot wires so it is easy for me.
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On Wed, 31 Dec 2008 06:54:34 -0500, John Grabowski wrote:

This is probably why the new electrical code does not allow sharing neutrals between circuits. You may want to check to make sure the light circuit is on a different phase than the furnace. Neutrals should never be shared on common phase circuits.
Also, get off googlegroups. Many wise NG users block googlegroups because google refuses to deal with NG abusers. Blocking all posts originating from googlegroups eliminates about 90% of the trash posts!
Mike D.
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snipped-for-privacy@stopassaultnow.net wrote:

It does nothing of the kind.
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On Wed, 31 Dec 2008 14:47:00 GMT, Doug Miller wrote:

so several electricians and inspectors are wrong?
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Michael Dobony wrote:

Thats why rules are codified. Ask them to show you what rule disallows shared neutrals. About the only common requirement for the typical residential shared neutral installation is that the circuit breaker handles must be interlocked if the outlets are split wired.
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No, i'd say several HUNDRED inspectors and electricians are wrong. And not just about this topic.
s
wrote:

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Since when? Can you cite an article from the NEC?
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Back in 1975 I was a brand new service tech just out of high school and fresh from manufactuers training, I was nervous but wanted to do EVERYTHING just right!
Went to a stock broker in downtown pittsburgh working by reception desk and this gorgeous beautiful model type who was the receptionist.....
long blonde hair, big heels and short dress, but tasteful she decorated the office:)'
Anyhow In servicing the machine I followed my new training closely:)
INTENTIONALLY overheated the machine to test the safety switches, which worked fine. let the machine cool, crouched down to reach the reset switch.
pushed it and a ball of fire came out of machine, no electric shock but stunned I went from crouched down to flat out on floor, looking up gals dress.
The entire office of perhaps 50 people went silent, probably thinking someone just died, and fireball was large:( the click clak of typewriters stopped you could hear a pin drop
Dumb blonde kept asking if I was electrocuted.... third time she asked I was getting up and said if I were I wouldnt be talking to you:)
Anyhow didnt know what I did wrong I finished fast got out of there and went back to our office, when I told my boss what happened he said call the guy who trained you.... Hey I get to call chicago on this job.:)
Trainer when told of my excitement said after you guys left we realized we forgot to tell you guys to always unplug machine before resetting! otherwise a fire ball will come out of machine:(
Well it does and it did we agreed he should call the other trainees, and warn them:)
its rare to remember a specific thing that happened so long ago.
excitement wise it ranks right up there with the day I ran a borrowed gasoline garden tiller into the service entrance of our house:(
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On Thu, 1 Jan 2009 08:20:42 -0600, DanG wrote:

Per several inspectors and electricians. Evidently wrong based upon the response here.
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wrote:

google groups is great when you cant get NNTP ports opened up on firewalled networks where the NNTP ports are frequently disabled. I use it all the time for this reason.
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Michael Dobony wrote:

The 2008 NEC makes no change to using common neutrals - they are still allowed.
As several people have said, the 2008 NEC requires a common disconnect which can be a handle tie.
AFCI circuits can't use a common neutral (unless the AFCI breaker is 240V). That is a limitation of the breaker, not the NEC. (AFCIs include ground fault detection, typically at 30mA.) Because the 2008 NEC vastly expands where AFCI protection is required in houses, the use of common neutrals is effectively much limited.
The NEC applies to new wiring, not existing. (A jurisdiction can change that.)
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On Tue, 30 Dec 2008 20:18:27 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

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On Tue, 30 Dec 2008 20:18:27 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

    You can get a real jolt from a neutral under the right/wrong conditions. ___ Neutrals are current carrying wires.___ Always treat them as such. They are NOT GROUNDS.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Also, remember this is not a purely resistive circuit. You have a motor and even some inductance in the wires. Even turning on an incandescent lamp produces a short high current until the filament warms up. So, you can get current spikes when starting motors and lamp, which can produce voltage spikes on the neutral of a circuit which is not purely resistive. .
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On Tue, 30 Dec 2008 20:18:27 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

Just for clarity can you explain how you were "electrocuted" and are still able to post to Usenet?
Was the 'death of Usenet that we've been hearing about for a decade a statement on the status of the posters?
A 'bit of a jolt' is hardly electrocution.
Jim
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A Multi-Wire Branch Circuit (MWBC) is two hot wires on separate breakers sharing one neutral.
If just one breaker is turned off, the neutral is still carrying electricity for the other circuit. If you disconnect the neutral and something is turned on upstream to the still energized circuit, the upstream neutral will be like a hot wire!
For this reason, new code requires a double pole breaker for a MWBC or both breakers to be tie bared. Then both circuits must be turned off at the same time.
And for this reason it is a good idea to turn off power to the entire house before doing electrical work.

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and work in the dark..... ya, ok.
s

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