Hot to Ground?

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by jed1954, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. Jul 26, 2014 #1

    jed1954

    jed1954

    jed1954

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    Discovered that I have 120volts coming from running water to recept cover plate screw. My wife found it actually... was not happy.. :(
     
  2. Jul 26, 2014 #2

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

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    Hi Jed1954. You seem to be new here. Welcome. Is there a question attached to this post?
     
  3. Jul 26, 2014 #3

    JoeD

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    Several possible issues.
    The water piping system is not grounded properly.
    Something is energizing the water, possibly the electric water heater has a bad element.
    The ground system on the receptacle is defective?
     
  4. Jul 26, 2014 #4

    Speedbump

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    More than likely, the wall receptical is hot and the water is acting like a weak neutral.
     
  5. Jul 26, 2014 #5

    CallMeVilla

    CallMeVilla

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    Have seen this ... Water from the shower, actually ... very scary.

    Old house with a ground wire attached to the cold water pipe outside at the hose bib. Painters had recently come through and disconnected it, painted, then failed to reconnect.

    Sanded the connection, reconnected, problem solved.

    I vote for a bad ground somewhere ... Take care of the wife!
     
  6. Jul 26, 2014 #6

    Wuzzat?

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    A woman died from this while stepping out of the shower. The husband was suspected of premeditated murder. Can't remember the details of this case. It might have been in EC&M magazine.

    It might be a Phantom Voltage and so it may not be deadly but I would pursue this.
    If you run any incand. bulb from the recept cover plate screw to the water and it lights, it is deadly.

    How come your GFCI didn't trip?

    BTW, from a GFCI protected outlet I just ran a wire from the short slot to a steady stream of water from the bathroom sink.
    No trip, but the sink faucets and drain for this basin are connected with non-conductive piping. I guess this shows that a narrow flow of water is essentially electrically nonconductive over two or three feet.

    But with a basin full of water, a hot wire and a ground wire in the water at opposite ends will trip the GFCI.
    The resistance of a basin of water measured 25k to 75K on my DVM depending on the range, and on the 20 megohm range it measured a negative value(???). So it sounds like the resistance of water depends on the voltage across or current through it. 25k at 120v could trip a GFCI.

    Found it.
    http://ecmweb.com/content/case-do-it-yourself-home-electrocution
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014
  7. Jul 27, 2014 #7

    speedy petey

    speedy petey

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    That is masking a serious problem!
    Even with the ground wire removed, or even non-existant, you SHOULD NOT have a situation like this.
     
  8. Jul 27, 2014 #8

    speedy petey

    speedy petey

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    How did you discover this?
    How did you measure this?
    I find it hard to believe that you actually measured a full 120V just from running water. Water itself is not nearly conductive enough.
     
  9. Jul 27, 2014 #9

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    A long overdue experiment.

    ~120v in series with a ~100 ohm resistor in series with a coffee cup full of water with the wetted test clips about 3" apart at the cup brim.

    There was 4vac across the resistor which means 40 mA flowed and the water had a resistance of (120-4)/0.04 = 2900 ohms.

    Replacing the resistor with a person measuring 2900 ohms would give 20 mA of current, just about at the let-go point, and he or she would see about 60vac and would be in great distress.

    The next test could be replacing the 120vac with a 12vac transformer. My guess is the 2900 ohms would increase so then the water would be a current-dependent resistor.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014
  10. Jul 28, 2014 #10

    jed1954

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    Water heater is gas.. I'm going with the recept being hot. Had some work done in bathroom in 2009 while I was away. Came home... wife said surprise!! Bathroom looks good, but now I have something to deal with... have three switches in gang box. was going to remove the 3 enough and see if one of them or possible all are screwed up..
     
  11. Jul 28, 2014 #11

    Wuzzat?

    Wuzzat?

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    Make a diagram of your present setup before moving wires in boxes so that you can return to this 'before' configuration if necessary.
     
  12. Jul 29, 2014 #12

    nealtw

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    Do you have a ground to all your outlets or is it older wiring?
    Do you have copper pipes running to the bathroom?
    If you have copper pipes in the bathroom, have parts of the system been changed to pex?
     

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