Shocked!

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wrote:

bathroom & laundry tub downstairs. It's not all the time, but it's a good enough zap to make you jump.

he got the shock.

more or less >continuous in one of his posts.

I don't see the water heater being a problem because I asked what type he had and he replied that it was gas. I would expect a current leak to come from an electric heater, but not a gas heater, but there is electricity going to modern gas heaters, so it's not out of the question. Just a lot less likely IMHO.
Now that it seems to be clearly not a static electricity problem, I advise not touching the plumbing until it's resolved. Who knows why the copper pipes are energized? There are any number of reasons including events outside the house that could account for it. It does seem very odd that the problem appeared first only in the basement and seems to be spreading.
--
Bobby G.



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On 10/27/2013 09:05 PM, Robert Green wrote:

I'm guessing that it was only the basement because that's the only faucet with metal handles in the house. Then he noticed it on a toilet shutoff valve, older models of which also would have metal handles. You'd think the kitchen faucet would as well, but some of them have "chrome" plated plastic handles including some better brands.
I second the recommendation to just not touch the piping until the problem is isolated. If OP has to take a shower I would check for voltage on pipe with voltmeter and then turn off main breaker and verify that issue has gone away. Yeah, you'll be taking a shower in the dark, but it beats the heck out of being found electrified in a shower stall.
As others have said, CHECK with voltmeter or test light though. It is unlikely but still theoretically possible that the problem may be originating outside the house, or prior to the main breaker (which can be really dangerous.)
nate
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<stuff snipped>

Good observation. I think what we're seeing is that when he's in contact with metal touching the supply lines and touching something that might be connected to the drain he's getting a shock.
It's far more likely the supply lines have been repaired and are no longer in good contact with the ground than the drain lines got interrupted somehow. Touching the J trap under the sink with your body while turning the shut-off valve could present a live-to-ground circuit through Fred with just enough current to tingle.
However, touching a metal shower handle or arm while one's feet are in contact with the floor drain will pass current through the OP, too. For as long as it takes for him to fall down dead.
)-:

Good idea. I would even check for current AFTER I turned off the main breaker because we still don't know where the current is coming from.

Amen.

There are SO MANY potential causes that it's really best to be safe, not sorry. I would call the power company about this just to make sure that the neighbors are safe.
--
Bobby G.




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On 10/28/2013 09:38 AM, Robert Green wrote:

DEFINITELY if there is voltage present on a metal water pipe or faucet with the main breaker turned off the power company needs to be notified IMMEDIATELY as that would imply that the problem is either with an unfused service entrance conductor touching a water pipe (VERY VERY DANGEROUS) or another problem completely outside the house, which is going to likely be not OP's problem but the power company's problem.
If that is the case, taking a shower is right out of the question, and the issue needs to be addressed immediately.
nate
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On 10-28-2013, 08:45, Nate Nagel wrote:

That's not quite good enough. Depends on HOW you check it. If you check from right behind shower head to what you think ground and isn't, then there might still be potential between sower and drain.
But you could detect no potential between shower and drain because drain pipes are likely partly plastic. Yet if enough non-distilled water is flowing, that can make the metal part at the end become a ground.
Second best way to check for something hot if you're not sure of the return path is one of those things that work by proximity. Unfortunately, many of those are tricky to adjust and can give false Hot or false Not judgments if you don't know how to work them.
Best is to follow the advice already posted often: Call a pro.
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Wes Groleau

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On Mon, 28 Oct 2013 19:08:46 -0400, Wes Groleau

The EASIEST way to test for a live chassis, or a live wire, is a neon tester. It will light with only a "capacitive ground" and draws so little current it is impossible to get a shock from.
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On Monday, October 28, 2013 7:19:20 PM UTC-4, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I wouldn't recommend any of those procedures for the OP and his problem. For one thing, who knows if this is a stable condition, ie that the voltage is always present, always the same, etc. If he has a faulty piece of equipment, a partial short, etc, it could be energized sometimes and not at others. It could show no voltage when tested and then 120V could be there when he takes his shower.
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On 10-28-2013, 19:26, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I would--the one that's marked and recommended already by several others

Which is what I said in the part snipped.
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On 10-28-2013, 19:19, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

That's easier if you know what you are doing. It requires contact with the point being tested AND with a ground of some sort. Not everything that is metal or looks like it is even a capacitive ground.
And, unless you understand how the light works, you don't know which side is hot.
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wrote:

Often the simple neon bulb testers do not need a ground to tell which side is the hot one. Just hold one of the leads in your hand and put the other one to the circuit. Most often it will light up evenif you are not grounded. The digital volt meters (VOM) will show a good bit of voltage when the same test is ran.
You can also get the voltage test sticks that are battery powered and they will light up /sound off on a hot wire. They do not require any ground or even a direct contact with the circuit as they are fully insulated.
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Ralph Mowery wrote:

Interesting idea. I wonder if that would work if the voltage being detected is low. I did this Google search: https://www.google.com/#q=voltage+tester+pen and a lot of the results say the pen works from 90VAC and up.
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On 10/29/2013 1:02 PM, TomR wrote:

I used the round HF voltage detector last week. Diagnosing a furnace that was not running. Turns out I was detecting 24 VAC control circuit wires. Surprised me, I was able to beep them out. http://www.harborfreight.com/non-contact-voltage-tester-97218.html
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On 10/29/2013 01:12 PM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

I went through this a while ago when my non-contact voltage detector fried, and I did post about it. The one that I had was an Amprobe and I'd used it (only on 120/208 but still) for a year or so and was happy with it. When I replaced the batteries with NiMH it ate itself; don't know if it was related or coincidence. I bought a Fluke one because that was the other brand that my local supply house sold - I hated it, not sensitive enough. Mail ordered a Sperry VD6505 ($15 and free shipping!) and love it. Adjustable sensitivity means that I can discriminate *which* wire is hot if I want to, or dial it up and make sure *everything* in a box is dead before I start disconnecting wires.
nate
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On 10-29-2013, 10:29, Ralph Mowery wrote:

Ah, then those are functioning similar to the ones mentioned below. All the ones I've ever had required a potential across two leads

These are the ones I referred to. But the ones I've seen have to be adjusted for sensitivity. Do it wrong and there's voltage everywhere or nowhere.
One that requires no adjustment to give a reliable reading without a ground would be great. (But still no substitute for someone who actually understands electricity.)
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On 10/27/2013 06:05 PM, snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net wrote:

i can feel 120VAC when touching a live conductor even while wearing insulated boots. And no, that is not something that I recommend that you do intentionally.
nate
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Our ring voltage was 90v for most of my lifetime but I found out from AT&T that it somewhat recently changed to 45v. I guess the new landline phones h ave a better ringer than the old rotary dial types.
The local phone companies have been improving their outside plant facilitie s, and the result is that there are fewer very long customer lines with hig h resistance wiring so that not as much voltage is needed to get the same v oltage at the customer as before. Also, actual bell type ringers are non-e xistent any more, and the electronic-based ringers can work on much lower v oltages.
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I have a bell ringer in the garage, and an old ringer wall phone in the kitchen. Both work off my comcast box. I also have several other electronic phones. One table phone will ring without wall wart plugged in.
Greg
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On 10/27/2013 11:40 PM, gregz wrote:

Yes, I have an old wall mount Western Electric phone (late 40's) in the kitchen, was pleased to find that it does in fact work on the fake POTS line that comes out of the FiOS box :)
It also scares the hell out of the cat when the phone rings (unlike the little Panasonic cordless phones elsewhere in the house) which I think is amusing.
nate
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I believe I have what you refer to as "bell type ringer" in my shop. It's an old slimline wall phone...
http://tinyurl.com/Slimline-Phone
http://www.ebay.com/itm/AT-T-Beige-Slim-LIne-Wall-Phone-Push-Button-Used-MADE-in-USA-/400573924346
It's connected to my TWC router and rings quite nicely...well, it would if I turned the ringer on. Now it just clicks quietly since I have the ringer turned down as low as possible.
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feel the shock was not good advice.
meter should be used!
Do note if PEX or other non metallic pipes are use the power could originate from a neighbor.
so the first step is turn off all power and check for voltage ........
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