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Old 12-24-2010, 06:37 PM   #1
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Take a shower get zapped!

Hello all,Well this is the problem I noticed not too long ago when you're in the shower&touch something metal you will get shocked,same goes if you're wet&touch the washer hose spicket etc.I was recently changing my pressure switch for my well&touched one of the copper pipes&got shocked again.I thought maybe the pipes went grounded out correctly I cant seem to find a copper wire running off of the pipes anywhere but there are some coated wires running from below the ground up to a pipe cant remember if its PVC or copper.Well I was also wondering if it could be a broke heating element feeding electric into my water seeings one recently went out.Well I cut the electric off to my water heater&touched the pipes again downstairs&no shock.I haven't replaced the element yet because I'm getting ready to pull the water heater out&put new tile down&paint in there&figured Id do it then.So just wondering if that could be the problem?Well thanks in advance&sorry for my typing.


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Old 12-24-2010, 06:42 PM   #2
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IF cutting power to the water heater seems to stop the shocks, then you have the problem solved.

A bad element can inject electricity into the water, BUT this usually happens when the water heater or pipes are not properly grounded.

Replacing the bad element(s) or the entire thing is a good start. Make sure that the incoming circuit has a good grounding conductor, properly connected. Also, you might want to ensure that any metal piping in the house is also bonded to prevent differences in potential.

You might want to have a competent electrician check things out as well.



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Old 12-24-2010, 10:04 PM   #3
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Yeah I'm gonna try to change the elements&see what happens.I may have to have an electrician come out but I'm gonna try to figure it out my self first ,just had a baby so money is tight Ill get to it this week&go from there.
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:54 PM   #4
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Testing by hand could be much more expensive than an electrician could cost!
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Old 12-25-2010, 12:22 AM   #5
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Sure a quick way to wake up in the morning though!
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Old 12-25-2010, 07:52 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
Sure a quick way to wake up in the morning though!
It'd sure get the ol' heart going, huh?

....or stopping..... lol

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Old 12-25-2010, 09:41 AM   #7
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Turn off the power.

Get a short length of #6 bare wire, clamp one end to the hot water pipe exiting the water heater, and clamp the other end to the cold water inlet to the heater. If the water pipe exiting the house does not already have a ground wire, add one (#6 gauge) from a point within 5 feet of where the pipe exits the house and over to the ground wire between the breaker panel and ground rod. Note: If you have plastic plumbing, you must continue an additional length of wire up to the shower where that end is clamped to metal pipe that leads to the exposed faucets and/or nozzles, and also between the water heater and the ground wire to the breaker panel if applicable.

This should be done even after you solved the problem via other means such as replacing the water heater elements.

In the best case this eleminates the shock problem.
In an intermediate case this eliminates the shock problem but your electric bill goes up a bit because the leakage of electricity that is shunted to ground is non-trivial.
In the worst case your breaker trips. Leave the bare wire connected and have the water heater repaired (elements replaced) or replaced outright.

A single #10 bare wire from the shower head down to the ground wire emerging from the breaker panel will also do the trick but this is not an "official bonding to ground".


The good conscientious technician or serviceperson will carry extra oils and lubricants in case the new pump did not come with oil or the oil was accidentally spilled, so the service call can be completed without an extra visit.

Last edited by AllanJ; 12-25-2010 at 09:51 AM.
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