Some equipment will have some low value capacitors going from the AC wiring
to the chassie. This creats a low value of leakage curent. If the
equipment has the proper 3 wire plug , there is no problem. Without the
ground wire, you could feel a tingle if you got between the device and
Thanks. I have noticed some stereo/radio equipment will have neon pilot
lights that take a few seconds to extinguish after the power cord is
unplugged so I assume that's some sort of capacitor discharge occurring. I
would imagine that to receive a UL listing the equipment can't present any
sort of real shock hazard in that state - just a tingle as the residual
Not sure if that's going to work if the ground is energized. There's also
the problem of phantom voltage readings if he's using a digital meter that
might make the readings meaningless. I've been researching this problem on
the net out of curiousity and there are lots and lots of potential causes.
So many that it's a problem best left to a licensed professional.
The copper supply piping may have once been connected to a ground but a
repair with a plastic union of some sort has isolated a section of the pipe
which is touching something electrical and is now energized. Since there
are so many possibilities, it's time for Fred, the OP, to call in the
cavalry now that we know it's not a simple static shock.
I agree that the OP should be tracing the pipes *visually* to locate
possible contact points, clamps with wires leading from them and places
where there might be a plastic union, but it's a serious enough problem to
defer to an electrician that has experience with such issues.
I suspect that's going to be part of the solution a qualified sparky will
recommend. Something's rotten in Denmark, and it could be more than one
problem which makes it really hard for a homeowner to isolate and fix. I
say Fred's exceptionally lucky he detected this problem before he stepped
into what might have been his last shower on Earth. (-:
On Mon, 28 Oct 2013 04:08:32 -0400, "Robert Green"
When I installed my new water softener I had to connect a bonding wire
between the inlet and outlet of the softener too - it was in the
instructions - because the softener meter-head is composite instead of
The water heater has anti-dialectric bushings too - so a jumper across
the water heater maintains ground continuity there as well.
This is what an electrician or an experienced DIY might do, but I am not
sure I would recommend such a procedure to a person whose electrical smarts
are unknown. Even for a moderately experienced person this could prove a
difficult case to diagnose because the rules turn upside down when your
typical ground conductor is somehow energized. Where does the other lead of
your voltmeter go? Is it a reliable test point?
Turns out this troll bait is a great teaching moment for people who want to
learn more. I bought the meter that you recommended. Now the question is
how best to test it on deliberately created "faults" so that I become
familiar with its operation and how to interpret the beeping patterns and
set the sensitivity dial.
I am not sure I want to try energizing the water pipes but it would be nice
to be able to detect even low voltage levels on a water pipe. Not even sure
how I would inject a voltage from a doorbell transformer onto the pipes
without popping a breaker.
This is actually the way a skilled person would diagnose the problem. In
the programming world the process is called "grunt and crank" as you step
through each possible case. The trick is how to read voltage on the pipes
and that little Sperry tester looks like an ideal tool for that job. Good
Now if you could only figure out a way to make sure we don't get trolled
again. (-: I'd like to drive some rods - vampire movie style.
Congratulations! Yours is the second right answer (get a professional) had
this been an actual situation with human life at risk instead of dumb-ass
troll attack. If we don't know anything about the OP's skill level, with
electrical work it's better to underestimate it.
Agreed. Even less voltage than that can be fatal!
that says that "Death from an electric shock (ventricular fibrillation*) can
occur when the touch voltage is above 30V RMS resulting in as little as 30
milliamperes of current flowing though the body. This can occur when
improper neutral-to-case connections are made and the neutral is opened."
Yes, agree. It's not just Mike writing, either, but a whole team of
electricians with knowledge it a lot of different areas. They always
provide plenty of background information and NEC citations to explain what
they're talking about. I invariably end up reading a lot more than what I
came to the site to look for because it's so well-written and interesting.
Quit posting on Usenet, and call an electrician NOW before someone gets a fatal shock.
Like I told you in my response to your first post, you have a fault in your electrical system that is
energizing your water pipes -- *and* the pipes are not properly grounded.
You NEED an electrician, and you need one YESTERDAY. This is potentially DEADLY.
Agreed. Now that we know a little more about the situation, if the supply
pipes are energized and they are not grounded it's very likely the drain
pipe IS grounded and taking a shower will complete the circuit to ground.
If you can't get an electrician in on Monday I would consider calling either
the electric and.or the water company. If *your* pipes are energized it
could be very likely that your neighbor's are, too. It could present a
hazard beyond your house and they have the proper test equipment to trace
If you want to do something before help arrives, I might *look* (but not
touch) for any clamps with wires that are attached to your water supply
lines. Incoming phone terminals, CATV lines, the circuit box area and the
furnace areas are places you might find a ground wire connection (no longer
On Sunday, October 27, 2013 9:04:38 PM UTC-4, Robert Green wrote:
Not very likely IMO. Just because his house has screwed up
wiring, doesn't mean the neighbor's house does.
It could present a
Now you're off in true lala land. Since when is it no longer
code to have those things grounded? In fact they all are
supposed to be grounded. Good grief. And to add to the foolishness,
what purpose is it going to serve for Fred to go looking for
anything when he obviously doesn't have the skills to diagnose
this serious problem?
On Monday, October 28, 2013 9:18:34 AM UTC-4, philo wrote:
And again, who says that your circuit box (panel)can't be
grounded to the water pipe? In fact, it's a code
requirement that if a metal water pipe enters the
house that the panel be grounded in part to that metal pipe.
And in older homes, not unusual to see the cable
or phone system wires being grounded to a cold water
pipe near where they enter the building. It's not
a safety issue or something that needs to be corrected.
And it's all pointless anyway, because the OP
clearly doesn't have the skills to figure out what
is or isn't the problem anyway.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.