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-   -   Electrical current in shower drain - Weird (http://www.diychatroom.com/f7/electrical-current-shower-drain-weird-22550/)

CaptHanky 06-20-2008 02:25 PM

Electrical current in shower drain - Weird
 
I have posted about this on the "electrical" topic however since I have located the source I am posting here.

I purchased a house about a month ago. After showering a couple times I realized that there was electrical current running through my shower while the water was on. It was a couple volts so I could feel it in my fingers when I touched my shower head or faucet. I hired two separate electricians. The first re-grounded the house and it did not help. The second isolated the problem to coming from my shower drain.

My home inspection states that my drain system is PVC and my water supply is copper.

I am calling a plumber now (after spending $500 on electricians) but was wondering if I could get some input from everyone about this issue.

Termite 06-20-2008 04:16 PM

I'm betting something's loose in the service. I've seen a loose service neutral cause this exact problem.

It is a BIG hazard and it could potentially kill you in the right conditions. Even an imperceivable amount of electricity can stop your heart if it travels through it, let alone a shock you can feel. I'd suggest contacting a master electrician, not a big outfit in the phonebook that has multiple less-educated electricians working under one guy's masters license. If someone is a master electrician, they're normally very, very competent. Just because someone works for an electrical company doesn't mean that they even understand fault current and such...It just means that they know how to make the lights come on. When dealing with electricity, just because something works does not mean it is safe, as you can probably attest every time that you take a shower.

CaptHanky 06-20-2008 04:36 PM

Why would it be isolated to only one shower drain though? I have tested all the other drains in my house...?

CaptHanky 06-20-2008 07:55 PM

So this is been eating me up. I grabbed my multimeter and went around my house to all the water faucets. It turns out the the hot water lines under every sink have a couple volts in them, it goes up when the water is on. I went up to the attic and looked at the water heater...

The hot water "OUT" line has a considerable amount of corrosion. So I tested that line against the gas line going into the water heater. Here are some pictures...

Here is a line of me testing the base of the hot water OUT line below the corrosion...

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL144.../322125104.jpg

Here is a picture of me testing the house leaving the water heater...
http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL144.../322125103.jpg

There is a plastic separator between the house itself and its female connector. This is a gas heater.

Could the grounded problem be fixed by replacing the hose maybe?

billie_t 06-20-2008 10:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CaptHanky (Post 132282)
So this is been eating me up. I grabbed my multimeter and went around my house to all the water faucets. It turns out the the hot water lines under every sink have a couple volts in them, it goes up when the water is on. I went up to the attic and looked at the water heater...

The hot water "OUT" line has a considerable amount of corrosion. So I tested that line against the gas line going into the water heater. Here are some pictures...

Here is a line of me testing the base of the hot water OUT line below the corrosion...

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL144.../322125104.jpg

Here is a picture of me testing the house leaving the water heater...
http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL144.../322125103.jpg

There is a plastic separator between the house itself and its female connector. This is a gas heater.

Could the grounded problem be fixed by replacing the hose maybe?

although your hot water heater is gas...i am assuming it takes electricity to run something on it...power vent?..thermostat?..something
if you are reading any voltage from your tank to ground first thing to try is shutting off the breaker to the water tank..then retest..if you get no reading of voltage..you know your problem is with the tank...
i dont think you need to reground the tank itself...you need to find out what is wrong with the existing wiring and looking at the tank first is a good place to start

i am not an electrician by trade and but just adding my 2 cents ..your problem needs immediate attention

Termite 06-21-2008 11:13 PM

It isn't the water tank...I'd take that to Las Vegas and bet on it.

biggles 06-22-2008 06:21 AM

did you think about calling your phone company...they always need a true ground (copper water line) at their termination from the pole?thats a low voltage that they send down the lines to run the network disconnect the phone line at the junction on the side of the house see if the voltage drops off the tank and pipes.

8 Ball 06-22-2008 09:58 AM

WOW...thats dangerous. So when the trap fills with water it completes a circuit. Have you turned off the electrical main to the house and showered? Are you measuring AC or DC voltage? Trace out your gas line and see if there are any ground wires connected to it, there shouldnt be. What is the devise to the right of your meter?

That pressure relief should be piped with copper.

BillyD 06-22-2008 12:15 PM

If you cut off the power to the house and the voltage stops no need to call the phone company. Phone company was a good thought.

biggles 06-22-2008 05:40 PM

the way your using the meter at the HWH try it at the main circuit breaker panel.shut the main from the at the top of the panel get your copper pipe again with the one probe...and hit all the blacks out of all the breakers going up into the house.if you have a TRUE electrical ground you should see "infinity"if any thing is "mechanically grounded" you will pick up a meter reading in ohms.check your neutral block of whites stacked might get a ground there?

mstplumber 06-22-2008 10:21 PM

I would agree with KCTERMITE that it is probably not your water heater. Even if it was the water heater, a qualified electrician should have been able to find the problem. It sounds like the water piping is being used for a ground and there is a problem with the electrical or phone system. I would find out if the electricians installed a ground rod and, if so, if they moved any existing ground wires from your piping to the ground rod.

This is something, obviously, that needs to be addressed because it has the potential to be extremely dangerous.

CaptHanky 06-23-2008 06:43 AM

I shut the main off this morning and tested it. There is still electrical current in the water pipes...

Termite 06-23-2008 09:28 AM

Have you followed my suggestion and checked the service wire conductors in the panel and in the meter can? That can't be checked in the meter can without pulling the meter...

CaptHanky 06-23-2008 09:56 AM

Quote:

Have you followed my suggestion and checked the service wire conductors in the panel and in the meter can? That can't be checked in the meter can without pulling the meter...
No I have not because I am not sure which wire that is...

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL144.../322459101.jpg

CaptHanky 06-24-2008 07:37 PM

Son of a B#@ch. I found the problem.

I shut off my electrical main, disconnected my phone and cable, and walked out and tested the water lines coming into my house against my neighbors.

Approximately 3 weeks ago when we first moved into this house, the City of Houston decided to install new wireless transmitters on all of the water meters. This allows them to read meters without ever stopping a van.

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL144.../322647208.jpg

While these wireless "iTron" transmitters were being installed, someone must have improperly sealed one of the wires.


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