Kids complained they got a shock from the stove.
I put a meter on it, a pan on the burner while turned on is 40 volts
above ground. The rest of the stove metal seems to be at ground.
The burners look in good shape but it's an old stove. Burners
normally have ceramic insulation, right? Is it time to replace them?
Faulty element and/or the element is ungrounded?
Best to trouble shoot it and perhaps replace the element as a
But the 40 volts may be just the sensitive test meter picking up
voltage through capacitive coupling; not a real 'short' between the
element and the metal pan. Try connecting a light bulb between the
metal pan and the grounded metal stove. If it lights you have 'real'
leakage (some times incorrectly called a 'short-circuit'') through the
element to to the metal pan.
If they got a shock from the stove what were they standing on at the
Or, as suggestred was it just static discharge as sometimes happens in
very dry air conditions. You walk across a room, touch something
metal, large or grounded and get a spark from your finger tip!
Any electric leak is likely to be more than 40 volts as the burners run on
240 volts. Normally people and children don't touch the pan especially when
the stove is on. The pan is metal, the stove is metal, it all should be the
same electrial potential. The stove is (or should be grounded) so that any
leak will trip the fuse or breaker. Probably as said earlier, static shock
from someone with rubber soled shoes/slippers jumping to the grounded stove.
Think about that again, EXT.
The heating element inside the burner casing is a resistor, and
depending upon just where along its length leakage to the casing occurs,
the measured voltage could be anywhere from zero, for a leak half way
along the length of the heating element, to 120 volts, for a leak right
at one end or the other. You'll never measure 240 volts unless the stove
power wiring has been horribly misinstalled.
All of which presuumes that whatever means the stove manufacturer
employed to make sure the element casing was connected to the rest of
the stove metal has failed or been disabeled by a sloppy repair or use
of an incorrect part.
Normally people and children don't touch the pan
The stove may be properly grounded, but that in itself does not insure
that the element casing is grounded. It SHOULD be, but a sloppy repair
job or installing an incorrect element for that model stove can result
in the element casing NOT being connected to the stove metal.
so that any leak will trip the fuse or breaker.
Not ANY leak, but one from near the end of the heating element MIGHT.
I just looked at our 20 year old GE electric stove and the element
casings are grounded through the strip of metal bridging the two ends of
the element. You can see that strip in this image:
On our stove that strip slides firmly inside a metal guide screwed to
the stove top, thus "grounding" the elemend casing. The other end of
that guide holds a ceramic "socket" connecting the elements ends to
their power source.
So, it's unlikely that the element surface would be at a potential other
than that of the rest of the stove's metal parts.....Unless maybe
someone installed an incorrect element which didn't have the right "fit"
to make the grounding system described above work as it should.
I'm no electric stove mavinn, but I think it very unlikely that any
electric stoves would be manufactured without SOME means of grounding
the element casings, for obvious reasons.
So, if the OP is measuring a voltage on the element casing with respect
to the rest of the stove metal SOMETHING isn't right and he'd better
start looking harder to find out what that is.
I'd start by unplugging the stove from its power source and using an
ohmmeter to check whether the element casings show a very low resistance
between them and the rest of the stove metal. If one or more don't,
figure out what's supposed to be connecting them to the stove metal and
fix whatever's wrong.
Years ago, I worked on a stove with a similar problem. The
answer turned out to be that the burners are SUPPOSED to
ground to the metal cook top. This one, the shocking burner,
wasn't properly grounded. I drilled a hole, put in a screw,
and then grounded the burner to the cook top with some bare
copper wire (under the cook top of course).
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