I have an old house (1858) that was wired in the 30's with romex. I was
changing a light fixture. I turned the power off to the circuit removed
the old fixture and while I was wiring in the new fixture I received a
slight shock when I touch the metal box and one of the wires.
Describe what you're calling 'romex'. It's very unlikely what you have
there is the same thing considered 'romex' today.
All sorts of ideas. Most likely a miswiring of the circuit such that it's
shared with another breaker. Half the leg going to one breaker and the
other on another. Usually happens when someone tries tying in another
switch or outlet inside an already crowded wall box (or they're just plain
Test the other breakers to see which one is set up wrong. It may lead to an
obvious solution that can be easily fixed.
If the "slight shock" was just a tingle, chances are there's just a
little capacitively coupled current from an energized conductor running
in close proximity parallel to what would otherwise be considered an
Or, there could be a high resistance path created by dampness or through
years of crud film accumulating between an energized circuit and
something connected to the wiring you touched.
If the fixture job is already finished, then that's that. But it's
always wise to use a test light or voltmeter to make sure things which
are supposed to be "off" really are.
Or back feeding through a "leaking" neutral and then to ground. In other
words, there might actually have some current running through it. In sound
equipment it causes a buzz when equipment is plugged into different phases
of the breaker box and there is a current between neutrals.
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