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Old 09-19-2011, 07:49 PM   #1
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Gutters and Coaxial cable energized!!


Here's what I know: First I got shocked on my gutters. Voltmeter reads about 70ish volts. I was able to isolate the circuit (which happens to serve most of the old part of my house: 7 outlets and 4 ceiling lights). A week later I was shocked by the metal end of my coaxial cable: voltmeter reads about 120V. It gets better.
Outlets have only 2 wire, but have 3-prong outlet with jumper wire from neutral to ground screw. I can control when the gutters are energized by plugging in (woodburning stove blower) through any of these outlets; the blower doesn't need to be running, just plugged in and the gutters show voltage. When I take the jumper wire from neutral to ground off and plug the blower in the gutters are NOT energized.

And finally, I found two outlets wired backwards that contained the jumpers which really made me happy. All jumpers have been removed and I cannot seem to energize the gutters again.

Can someone please explain what's going on here?!?
Options to replace outlets with only 2 wire in a non-grounded box?
Thanks,

Buckman

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Old 09-19-2011, 08:16 PM   #2
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Gutters and Coaxial cable energized!!


You have problems.

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Old 09-19-2011, 08:29 PM   #3
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Gutters and Coaxial cable energized!!


The jumper you described is called a bootleg ground and can create very dangerous conditions as you have found out. Metal parts that should never have carried voltage were carrying all or part of the neutral current.

You can use 2 prong receptacles or install 3 prong with GFI protection and label them "No equipment ground".
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:43 PM   #4
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Gutters and Coaxial cable energized!!


Glad to hear you didn’t get hurt, or worse, and that the gutters aren’t being energized anymore, along with other things that may have been energized that you may not have known about, ie. the furnace, duct work, water heater, etc. Things like what happened to you are why it’s a serious no-no to bootleg a ground.
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Old 09-19-2011, 08:52 PM   #5
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Gutters and Coaxial cable energized!!


Thanks for the replies! Is it safe to assume that my gutter issues are directly related to the bootleg-grounds?
Can anyone explain how exactly this happens?

Thanks very much!

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Old 09-19-2011, 09:21 PM   #6
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Gutters and Coaxial cable energized!!


IMO yes, I would say the gutters were energized by the bootleg, or possibly by the ‘two outlets wired backwards that contained the jumpers’, (but you didn’t describe how those were actually wired). When you plugged the woodburner into the bootlegged receptacle, some of the neutral current was transferred to the ground prong of the plug, back into the woodburner, to the woodburner case, the woodburner chimney, and then any other metal that is connected to any of those parts. It may be a long path, but electricity doesn’t care, and will use it.

Electricity will use any and all available paths to get back to the transformer it came from. When you bootleg, you can make a unintentional connection to the grounded parts in the house, ie. woodburner, furnace, ducts, water pipes, in your case, the gutters, etc. When you touched the gutter, it was using you to try to complete the circuit, and to get to ‘ground’ (back to the transformer). Thankfully your body resistance was great enough to only get a shock. It could have been much worse.



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Old 09-20-2011, 06:31 PM   #7
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Gutters and Coaxial cable energized!!


Reading this thread reminded me of this recent news article : http://stcatharinesstandard.ca/Artic...true&e=3290742 and followup at: http://stcatharinesstandard.ca/Artic...true&e=3292682
It certainly reminds one of why there are codes, and, most importantly, inspections.
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:34 PM   #8
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Gutters and Coaxial cable energized!!


Continuing to allow the Coax to stay energized, you will end up with the catv company showing up on your door step, and handing you a letter of disconnect. In turn, they will not hook back up your catv service, until you show them proof that a electrician straightened out the problem.
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:08 PM   #9
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Gutters and Coaxial cable energized!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Continuing to allow the Coax to stay energized, you will end up with the catv company showing up on your door step, and handing you a letter of disconnect. In turn, they will not hook back up your catv service, until you show them proof that a electrician straightened out the problem.
Hmmm.. Let me see: I do not like my CATV company, watch little TV, and am an electrician.....wonder if I should zap one of the little weenie techs...J/K
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:46 PM   #10
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Gutters and Coaxial cable energized!!


I don't know if I would. Of course back in the day, dad said that they would take two coffee cans and charge them up with a Growler. He always said that the fun part, was when they would do it with a new guy. Dad said that he had never seen a person jump so high, until they knocked the cans together. That of course, would be what I would picture the cable tech doing, when he found a live drop on a house.
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:50 PM   #11
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Gutters and Coaxial cable energized!!


I was going to say cuHead, that it used to be common practice back in the day, to use the home wiring to be a part of the antenna for the household radio or tv.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:18 PM   #12
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Gutters and Coaxial cable energized!!


The Coax was running through a converter box which was plugged into one of the outlets with the jumpers. The converter box has been removed along with all jumpers. Coax is normal again along with the gutters.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:25 PM   #13
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The Coax was running through a converter box which was plugged into one of the outlets with the jumpers. The converter box has been removed along with all jumpers. Coax is normal again along with the gutters.
That still means somewhere you have a ground issue. If you want, you can set up a tech appointment with your catv company and also I would suggest to contact your power company and an electrician. Only way that you could backfeed voltage on the coax, is that the house electrical system is messed up. There have been instances, that the catv tech has shown up at a residence or apartment, unhooked the coax, and next thing you know, the house catches on fire.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:37 PM   #14
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Gutters and Coaxial cable energized!!


I have an electrician coming this week. I've checked and rechecked any voltage coming through any coaxial cable in my house along with any other electrical conductor and have not been able to reproduce my previous problems since the jumper wires have been removed and the two outlets that were wired backwards were rewired correctly.
I do appreciate all the feedback. Thanks!
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:44 PM   #15
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Gutters and Coaxial cable energized!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
I don't know if I would. Of course back in the day, dad said that they would take two coffee cans and charge them up with a Growler. He always said that the fun part, was when they would do it with a new guy. Dad said that he had never seen a person jump so high, until they knocked the cans together. That of course, would be what I would picture the cable tech doing, when he found a live drop on a house.
Yeah, I know: I will behave myself.

"Course way back in school many years ago, we used to charge capacitors and leave them laying the class room in hopes some newbie would pick them up and play with them. Terrible, but we were young and dumb.

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