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JONINSACTO

05:59AM | 07/20/05
Member Since: 02/03/03
77 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
I am having a electrical/plumbing problem with our summer cabin. Last fall when I went to dissconnect some of the pipes underneath our cabin so they wouldn't freeze, I got a shock when I put both hands on a pipe. At first I could not tell that it was a shock and I thought I may have just pinched my finger with the wrench, but it happened again and it was a shock. I found a loose ground wire back by our electrical service and attached it to a rod and shoved it into the ground. This spring, when I went to hook up the pipes, I was still getting the shock. We did have to replace a section of pipe this spring that had froze and cracked and it was right near (actually touching)a electrical box and my dad said that this has been occasionally leaking for a number of years. The pipe was kinda rusty at the connection.

I have not checked yet to see if this has corrected it yet. Several people that I have spoken to cannot figure out why you would get a shock through a plumbing pipe but that it is not good. Any ideas ??

Billhart

07:10AM | 07/20/05
Member Since: 04/25/05
1918 lifetime posts
There are many possible reasons for this.

One of the common reasons is that in the past it was common practice that when installing new electrical equipment that required a ground in an older house that a ground wire was run to the nearest cold water pipe and that was used as a ground.

This is now outlawed (by code) just because of problems like yours.

You could have an electrical applicance that attaches to the water system and does not have a proper ground, garbage disposal, dishwasher, water heater, well pump all come to mind.

"We did have to replace a section of pipe this spring that had froze and cracked and it was right near (actually touching)a electrical box and my dad said that this has been occasionally leaking for a number of years."

You could have any number of faults between the electrical and plumbing systems.

"I found a loose ground wire back by our electrical service and attached it to a rod and shoved it into the ground. "

It needs at least an 8ft rod driven vertically into the ground and often a second ground rod.

Also the water pipe needs to be bonded to the ground electrode system within 5ft of where it enters the building.

It is also possible that the neutral connection from the power company is bad or a neighbor's ground is messed up and the water line is "hot".

The whole concept of modern Ground Electrode System and Equipment Grounding Conductors is that there is ONE POINT and only one point in the system, at the main disconnect, and that the ground system does not normally carry any current so that everything in the house is at the same potential.

WITHOUT ANY TEST EQUIPMENT OTHER THAN YOU HAND YOU SHOULD GET A PROFESSIONAL ELECTRICAN TO EVALUATE THE PROBLEMS.


JONINSACTO

11:47AM | 07/20/05
Member Since: 02/03/03
77 lifetime posts
I agree, that it should definitely be checked by a electrician. I have a call in to one now to try to get him to look at it soon. I think your first scenario is possibly likely since we had a tree go through it and had a contractor do all of the rebuild work. I plugged in one of those testers where it gives a different color combo on potential wiring errors recently to some of the new plugs and they showed errors. These are new plug outlets that the contractor installed and I do not think they wired them properly. I think they may have grounded these new gfi outlets to a water pipe. I noticed the shock when I dissconnect/hook up our pressure reducer from the supply (gravity fed spring)to the main supply into the cabin. it is an old place and does not have a garbage disposal or water pump and the dishwasher is a portable unit. Thanks for the ideas.
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