Causes Of Electrical Shock in Homes
By Dave Rongey - Summary:
Incorrect Electrical Wiring Can Produce Electric Shocks: A friend is getting shocked when he touches a light switch and when he touches the water taps.
How to Stop Electric Shocks
- A friend of mine recently changed out the copper tubing for his water supply and is now getting shocks when he touches a light switch and when he touches the water taps.
- He grounded the water line at the hot water tank to his breaker box and this is when things started to happen.
- He replaced the copper tubing with that plastic tubing and connected it all with special connectors.
My questions to you:
- Do we have to run a ground wire for a water line that is already buried in the ground?
- Do you thing that the new tubing connectors allow for continuity through the water line?
I haven’t been there yet but I’m sure it’s only static electricity that is shocking him because it only happens every now and then. In wiring his basement a couple of weeks ago and everything was fine until he change the water lines. Any help would be nice
This electrical wiring question came from: John, a Electrician from Windsor Ontario Canada.
Additional Comments: I’ve used this site before and was happy with the answers I get.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question John.
Incorrect Electrical Wiring Can Produce Electric Shocks
Application: Evaluating a Home Electrical System for Causes of Electric Shocks.
Skill Level: Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician or Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester and amp meter or load recorder.
Estimated Time: Depends on the type and age of the electric service panel and the access to the circuits to be evaluated.
Precaution: Working in an electric panel is dangerous due to arc flash hazards and the possibility of electric shock.
Notice: Making changes to the Home Electrical Service Panel should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
How an Improperly Grounded Electrical System Can Produce Electric Shocks
John, electrical shocks like this can be a twofold problem. No matter where you live, such as in Canada, the USA, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Africa, grounding and bonding the electrical system is vitally important, let me explain:
The Electrical Ground System is Essential to Help Prevent Electrical Shock
- Replacing Copper Water Pipes
When the copper water lines were replaced by a non metallic water pipe this may have also removed the main connection to the system ground bond.
- The solution would be to drive a ground rod or two according to code at a clear location at the base of the main electrical panel and run the new ground wire to the main panel ground terminal.
- An additional ground wire should be run to bond any remaining metallic water pipes and to the metal gas pipe as required by your local code.
- A tubing connector cannot provide electrical continuity when the tubing is non conductive.
- Grounded Neutral Wire
There may be wiring where a neutral is tied to a ground wire which could cause voltage to back feed the ground system, and this will definitely be a problem if the ground system is not properly connected throughout the home electrical wiring circuits.
- If the problem still persists then each circuit will need to be isolated until the source is identified, then every connection and device on the problem circuit must be inspected for the cause of the voltage leak to ground.
IMPORTANT: Electrical shocks can also be caused by improper electrical wiring or a fault within electrical equipment.
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