Shock In Shower - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-06-2009, 07:23 AM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 17
Rewards Points: 10
Unhappy

shock in shower


HI,

I recently purchased a new place. For 1 year no problem. Just this weekend though, 2 people have gotten shocked in the shower when touching either the shower head or on/off handles. I've done a lot of checking and here is what I know:

I have continuity between the plumbing (shower head, valve) and the neutral bar in my electrical panel - where all white wires are attached. (10 feet away)

I put a volt meter between the shower head or valving and the floor drain in the shower stall floor. The piping is plastic but full of water. I get 22 to 50 volts AC.

The electrical panel is 10 feet from the shower. The unit is new 200 amp service and has a heavy copper line going from the panel to a grounding rod driven in the ground about 10 feet away.

I exhaustively went through my panel, disconnecting one circuit at a time. I found that when I remove the electric water heater breaker and grounding wire from the heater to the panel, the voltage drops to 4 or 5 volts between shower plumbing and floor drain. This is with every possible electrical device running. If I shut off big items like oven, and electric base board heaters, it still stays around 4 to 5 volts AC. I get the same voltage readings stated above between shower floor drain and the common bar in the electrical box. I guess this makes sense since I have continuity between shower faucet and electrical box common bar.

If I shut the main breaker, with water heater disconnected from the elextric box, I get 0 volts for all readings when the water heater is disconnected.

I have a well. The pipe from the well to the inside of the house is plastic.

I believe I have a water heater problem with the 22 t0 50 volts showing up and was going to call the manufacturer today.

Here are my questions:

1. Should I also be concerned about the 4 to 5 volts that is always present with the electric water heater disconnected?

2. There seems to be a major problem with the water heater. What can cause the 22-50 volts to be present? If this is a failed element, can i put some safety device in place to prevent this voltage from getting to the shower?

All of these devices are withing 20 feet of each other.

Any advice on grounding, etc.. to fix this problem is appreciated. What is bonding? Should I provide further ground my plumbing?

Thanks
tbwoods

Advertisement

tbwoods is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 07:25 AM   #2
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 17
Rewards Points: 10
Default

shock in shower


A quick clarification. My water supply lines are all copper. My drain lines are all plastic including the drain in the shower but it has a metal screen on top of it. I have a septic system.

Advertisement

tbwoods is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 10:47 AM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Dayton Ohio Area
Posts: 670
Rewards Points: 500
Default

shock in shower


Can you confirm that you have a ground coming from the ground bus bar of your panel to you water lines?

If you do not, you are required to have one.
__________________
-Andrew
DIY hobbiest
AndrewF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 11:08 AM   #4
My License Ain't 4 Sale..
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Atlanta, Ga/Hamilton, Al
Posts: 1,813
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

shock in shower


The 5 volts is likely a phantom due to the very presence of electricity when the main is on. The 50 V when the water heater is on is another problem entirely. It sounds like the metal plumbing of the house is not grounded properly. There should be solid electrical continuity between all metal parts of the plumbing system. The main metal water line should be connected to the neutral bus in the main panel, by code within 5 feet of where the pipe enters the house. The hot and cold pipes at the water heater should be jumped together with a conductor. Since your panel and water heater are so close together, you may be able to solve all the problems at once.

You can jump the hot and cold lines together with a piece of #4 copper and continue that to the panel. Also, you need to troubleshoot the elements of the heater to see which one is leaking current, and replace it.
InPhase277 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 11:31 AM   #5
Journeyman Wireman
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Missouri
Posts: 90
Rewards Points: 75
Default

shock in shower


Quote:
Originally Posted by tbwoods View Post
HI,

I have a well. The pipe from the well to the inside of the house is plastic.

tbwoods
Your water lines should not be grounded. Even if your lines in the house are copper. I'd say that is your problem. Ran into a problem like this a few years back. Only they had replace a small section of pipe outside with plastic. Took a lot of head scratching. They were getting shocked everytime they were in the shower and the phone rang.

Last edited by jbberns; 07-06-2009 at 11:36 AM.
jbberns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 11:58 AM   #6
Member
 
Code05's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Easton MD
Posts: 1,841
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

shock in shower


Quote:
Originally Posted by jbberns View Post
Your water lines should not be grounded.
What about 250.104? It seems to say otherwise.
Code05 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 12:04 PM   #7
Journeyman Wireman
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Missouri
Posts: 90
Rewards Points: 75
Default

shock in shower


Ok, I looked. Didn't see enough to justify. More specific, please.
jbberns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 12:11 PM   #8
Member
 
Code05's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Easton MD
Posts: 1,841
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

shock in shower


Quote:
Originally Posted by jbberns View Post
Ok, I looked. Didn't see enough to justify. More specific, please.
" Shall be bonded" Seems pretty clear.
Code05 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 12:41 PM   #9
Journeyman Wireman
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Missouri
Posts: 90
Rewards Points: 75
Default

shock in shower


Ok, where does it say water lines that are fed with plastic have to be grounded?
jbberns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 12:44 PM   #10
Journeyman Wireman
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Missouri
Posts: 90
Rewards Points: 75
Default

shock in shower


Is your panel grounded? Did the wire to the ground rod get broken?

The water lines can't be considered a ground, because they don't have continuity with the earth.
jbberns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 12:51 PM   #11
Member
 
Code05's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Easton MD
Posts: 1,841
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

shock in shower


Quote:
Originally Posted by tbwoods View Post
A quick clarification. My water supply lines are all copper.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbberns View Post
Ok, where does it say water lines that are fed with plastic have to be grounded?
Who said anything about bonding plastic? Metal piping is what is being bonded. The feed into the copper lines need only be bonded if metal, and then it would become part of GEC system.
Code05 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 01:07 PM   #12
Journeyman Wireman
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Missouri
Posts: 90
Rewards Points: 75
Default

shock in shower


Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewF View Post
Can you confirm that you have a ground coming from the ground bus bar of your panel to you water lines?

If you do not, you are required to have one.
Here it says that
jbberns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 01:12 PM   #13
Journeyman Wireman
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Missouri
Posts: 90
Rewards Points: 75
Default

shock in shower


Quote:
Originally Posted by Code05 View Post
What about 250.104? It seems to say otherwise.
That is talking about bonding not grounding.
jbberns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 01:13 PM   #14
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 17
Rewards Points: 10
Default

shock in shower


There is a ground wire from the panel to a rod outside the house. And just to confirm, the feed piping from the well is plastic into the house then goes to copper.

I'll have to remove some panneling to see if the water pipes are grounded to the electrical panel. I see continuity between the shower head and electrical panel ground but can't see a heavy ground wire exiting the box to anywhere but the outside grounding rod.

Also - Here are some more measurements I took. Without the water heater connected (white, black or ground), I measure voltage from the electrical box ground bar to the shower drain and get about 5 Volts. It does not go up even with other items turned on such as the electric stove, base board heaters, etc..

But when I hook up the water heater, now the voltage between the shower water supply plumbing (faucet/head) and shower drain goes up as additional electrical items are turned on. For example, the electric heater may cause a rise of 25 volts, then the stove is turned on and it voltage goes up more, then the well pump kicks on and goes up even more. With everything on, I can see up to 50 volts AC. But totally disconnect the water heater (white, black, and ground) and I only get 5 or 6 volts no matter what else is turned on. I see no rise or fall with other items on or off.
tbwoods is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2009, 01:17 PM   #15
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 17
Rewards Points: 10
Default

shock in shower


To answer an earlier question, I checked and the ground wire from the panel to the grounding rod outside and the wire is in tact. I removed both ends and reconnected them.

Advertisement

tbwoods is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Plumbing in the shower head obeans Plumbing 3 03-11-2009 04:08 PM
Honey, I'm going to re-caulk the shower... homebound Remodeling 1 02-10-2009 10:11 AM
Shower Pan Liner Problem Hottrod33 Plumbing 9 02-02-2009 02:02 PM
Backerboard under Fiberglass Shower Pan? BillyDIY Plumbing 2 12-17-2008 02:47 PM
redoing basement shower - basic questions (relocating drain/options I have) mslide Plumbing 5 10-28-2008 11:42 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts