I hope you're joking here. Norminn has a very valid point. I'm an
electrical engineer and I would not self diagnose and fix this. What
I would do is close that shower, leave the furnace off, make everyone
that should know aware of it and get a licensed electrician out there
ASAP. There is the very real possibility that something very bad
could occur and if it does, the liability here is extremely high.
And if you fool around and try to fix it, that liability could extend
for years. Say 3 years from now, something changed or got worse and
then someone got electrocuted in that shower. Or even in that
building. Don't you think someone is gonna say, "gee, I remember
Stormin was working on it...." And then, even if you did nothing
wrong, you could be ruined.
If you want to do something, make a donation to the church to pay for
the licensed electrician.
Since this is the church camp, I think you have an obligation to do this
right and immediately also. Which is why I suggested that _surely_
there's an experienced electrician in the congregation. I certainly
disagree with the last sentence and think you're opening yourself and
your church to a serious potential liability problem.
imo, etc., ...
But you have no license, and altering the work done by the furnace co.
might be bad for warranty issues, etc. I appreciate the loss of
confidence in the contractor, but that is where I would go first. Call
the owner of the company and tell him your campers are getting
electrical shocks. Bet it gets his attention. I'm am all for DIYers
trouble-shooting leaky pipes, missing shingles, busted windows, but when
there is an issue of potential danger to the public - people with no
reason to expect a hazard, and much worse if they are children - then
the duty to remove the hazard is much greater. My kids roughed it at
camp, at a tender age - bugs, heat, cold, long walks in the dark to the
outhouse, poison ivy, etc. - but if they called and told me they got
electrical shocks in the shower, I'd be there pronto to take them home.
Since you don't know the problem, you have no way of predicting what
might happen. Loose wire that vibrates enough to make more complete
contact and electrocute somebody? IMO, that is an urgent matter.
All of the above and more...
Not shutting the power off or blocking the use of the shower until this
is solved and known to have been solved correctly is foolhardy and
As a Trustee of our church, if we had such a situation and a responsible
camp director who didn't take _immediate_ action to protect the safety
of the the campers and correct the problem, that person would be
strongly admonished for their inaction to the point of dismissal.
This is a situation that is NOT the same as futzing around in one's own
house -- one has the obligation and duty to ensure the kids are as safe
as can possibly be.
A youngster drowned in a Y day camp near here the first day of the
season this spring -- needless to say, that organization is going
through hell just now and will be for the foreseeable future. While
probably not a high probability of serious injury or death from this as
described, it's a risk that simply should not be taken as it would, in
retrospect, be VERY hard to explain to both law and insurance
investigators why such a situation was allowed to continue when it was
known to exist if something were to happen.
Good question. Note that in order for someone to be shocked as
described, there must be a double fault. That is, a live conductor
must be energizing some metal parts, which are themselves not properly
bonded. If you ensure that all the metal parts (hot and cold water
pipe, gas pipe, furnace frame) are properly bonded to the EGC in the
building service, then a fault in the furnace should trip the breaker.
If there is a return path that parallels the proper neutral path, some
current will always flow on it. So a person will get a mild shock
when standing on the shower floor and touching the plumbing because
they complete a circuit, one that is fairly high resistance compared
to the "usual" return path.
This in and of itself will not help you, and under bizarre
circumstances it could make the problem worse. You having a bonding
problem, not an earthing problem. Earthing provides protection in the
case of overvoltage; bonding provides protection in the case of
accidentally energizing metal parts.
Bonding without proper grounding can still get you killed. You could
have all the nearby metal parts bonded together, but without a proper
earth ground the metal could all be at an entirely different
Take for example a spa. Code says all the metal components must be
bonded together. And for good reason. You don't want the possibility
of one piece of metal that you could touch to be at a different
potential than another that you could contact. However, if there is
not a proper earth ground back at the service panel to which the spa
is grounded, then you could step out of the spa and complete a path
between the bonded parts of the spa and the earth, which could be at
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