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CaptHanky 06-18-2008 05:06 PM

Bizarre Electrical Problems - Grounding?
Hello Everyone,

I just purchased a home on May 10th and have had some bizarre issues since I have moved in.

Issue 1: I have electrical current running through my shower head. I have had an electrician from my home warranty come and check it out and he thought that the plumping had not been ground so he grounded them to our ground rod via an outdoor water faucet. This did not fix the problem and he then said "I dunno".

Issue 2: I had High speed internet and cable installed via Comcast immediately after moving in. About a week later my internet started going up and down every thirty seconds or and my Digital TV stations stopped working. Comcast was nice enough to send someone out to replace my outside cable line going into the house. The technician stated that the line had been "fried". Everything worked fine for a couple weeks bu yesterday the problem repeated itself. The cable line does go into my breaker box for what I assume to be grounding.

Issue 3: My evaporator coils (AC) had to be replaced after a major leak. The first visit the AC repairman recharged my freon. It leaked out in about 2 weeks, he came out again and recharged my freon again so I would have AC until the part (evaporator coil) arrived two days later. The leak accelerated and the freon was out in about 2 or 3 hours.

Are all these issues related to the same grounding problem? The evaporator coil's tubing is made from copper so I am concerned about electrolysis causing the leak. My plumping is copper (as reported on my home inspection) and since my bathroom was renovated a couple years ago I am assuming the shower head has PVC going to it. So the head is not earthed while the drain would be earth via the copper pipe.

I do have a Master Electrician coming out on Friday however I would like to point him in the right direction. I don't want to pay for 6 hours of his time to tell me "I dunno". :no:

Any help is appreciated...

HandyPete 06-18-2008 05:27 PM

Hey Capt.....nice problems. :eek:

You have something wrong for sure.

Can you explain "I have current running through my shower head"? How do you know that? feel shocks? Weak or strong? Tile or plastic shower? Are your feet on the drain or they can be anywhere? Did anyone use a voltmeter yet? Continuity meter? Shocks while the water is running or all the time? What kind of materials are used?

The AC...I'll bet it has nothing to do with the problem, I can't see where an electrical circuit could be established. Galvanometric corrosion usually takes months or years, not days.

If your having a reputable contractor come out, your going to be in good shape. I could probably find that problem in minutes, not hours (well maybe close to an hour).

- pete

CaptHanky 06-18-2008 05:43 PM

Thanks for the quick reply!

I can answer those question, I just didn't want to make my initial post too long and scare people off. :laughing:

The electrical current in my shower:

I believe I feel the electrical current regardless of where I stand. I am not going to jump back in though and find out:wink:. The multimeter showed 1.4 volts I think, not really sure how to read this thing. I was in the shower and bumped my head against the shower head when I discovered the problem. It was enough to make my vision blurry, but thats it. After that I ceased using it.

The floor of the shower is tile. And I only get shocked while the water is running.

This bathroom was renovated in 2003. The house plumbing is copper as per my home inspection however when I look under the bathroom sink I see PVC pipe so I am assuming that is what is going to my shower head.

The electrician my home warranty sent out was horrible. Spent several hours on the problem before he realized my pipes were not grounded. I had to pay him to ground them because that is not covered by home warranty. He grounded the pipes for a total of $200. Afterwards he said, "I dunno, that didn't fix the problem, I can spend a couple more hours on it though and find it." I decided against using him again and am having a more professional company come out.

HandyPete 06-18-2008 06:06 PM

Grounding or not grounding the piping is not the source of your problems. :no:

Is your house built on a slab?

- pete

CaptHanky 06-18-2008 06:08 PM

Yea it is on a slab. Don't say something scary about a problem under the slab :(.

HandyPete 06-18-2008 06:17 PM

No no..aint that bad.

Im trying to write down the circuit on paper and I needed a return path through the wet floor and that could only be through concrete.

My first b guess? check your water heater. If theres an insulation breakdown and that water heater has a bad bond (bare wire) then it could be the source for energizing your piping...

- pete

CaptHanky 06-18-2008 06:20 PM

I will check it when I get home and let you know. I had to go to a coffee shop down the street because I have not internet at home :/.

Could this be what is frying my coaxial cable also?

HandyPete 06-18-2008 06:35 PM

I have a hard time imaging enough current to fry the ground wire on a suspended coax. Even if the neutral was open any unbalanced current wouldnt be that high. That, and I can't understand why everything else in the house seems to be working just fine.


Wheres Silk when you need him??????lololol (that guys good)

HandyPete 06-18-2008 06:44 PM

My only other guess is if the main neutral on the panel is completely open. All unbalanced loads would go back to the transformer via the coax cable

Or, through the piping, your body, the slab, earth and finally the transformer. In order for that to happen your neutral needs to be open AND the bare ground from the panel would have to be connected to your pipes but somehow insulated from the main underground supply.

like I said,....nice problem.


boomer0369swife 06-18-2008 07:36 PM

:(And then what happened????

CaptHanky 06-18-2008 08:09 PM

I don't see any wires going in or out of my water heater... just the gas, steam, hot water, and cold water line...

wire_twister 06-18-2008 08:21 PM

Capt. is everything else in the house working normally? Are the lights at a normal brightness? Does the brightness change when another appliance turns on? Do you have a well or are you on a municipal water system?

CaptHanky 06-18-2008 10:01 PM

When my AC or vacuum cleaner is turned on, the lights do dim a bit.

jrclen 06-20-2008 09:24 AM

I think your master electrician is going to check your service neutral connection and check for current flow on the grounding electrode conductor.

Be sure to post back what he finds.

Termite 06-20-2008 10:04 AM


Originally Posted by jrclen (Post 132066)
I think your master electrician is going to check your service neutral connection and check for current flow on the grounding electrode conductor.

Be sure to post back what he finds.

I've encountered this...A guy got a tingling feeling in his feet when using the shower. It ended up being a very loose neutral in the meter can.

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