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    Problem with voltage on kitchen sink

    Hello so a friend of mine has been having some problems with his kitchen electrical. They get shocked occasionally on the sink and the hoses hanging from their faucets will arc out on nearby pipes occasionally. They've also had problems getting shocked by the washing machine. When the kitchen feed is on you can read 120v to the water in the sink. So I imagine when the old owners remodeled the kitchen something must have penetrated the water lines and is allowing voltage through them? I mostly do commercial stuff so the way these residential houses are wired seem pretty terrible. Wanted to know if anyone else had a similar problem before or a better idea than mine which is to take off devices one by one until I find the run that is the culprit. Thank you

    #2
    Originally posted by ElPuma07 View Post
    Hello so a friend of mine has been having some problems with his kitchen electrical. They get shocked occasionally on the sink and the hoses hanging from their faucets will arc out on nearby pipes occasionally. They've also had problems getting shocked by the washing machine. When the kitchen feed is on you can read 120v to the water in the sink. So I imagine when the old owners remodeled the kitchen something must have penetrated the water lines and is allowing voltage through them? I mostly do commercial stuff so the way these residential houses are wired seem pretty terrible. Wanted to know if anyone else had a similar problem before or a better idea than mine which is to take off devices one by one until I find the run that is the culprit. Thank you
    Quick off the cuff guess...
    See if the outlets are wired correctly.
    i think you have no choice but to go the way your thinking...
    maybe check them to the ground prong receptacle to verify they are wired correctly?
    That would keep you from having to remove the,.

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      #3
      Hire a qualified electrician - immediately!
      Master Electrician
      Electrical Contractor
      Richmond, VA

      Comment


        #4
        Copper water lines? They should be bonded to ground at the service so what you have can't happen. If they are not they could become energized. Check that out first.

        Are the hoses you speak of flexible braided stainless steel risers under the sink that connect the faucet with the supply lines? And they arc when they hit the drain line?

        Yeah, sounds like you have two problems- plumbing isn't bonded and there is a fault someplace that is putting voltage on the plumbing. Fix the first problem and see what breaker trips.

        -Hal

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          #5
          Turn off individual breakers and see if the voltage goes away, that should narrow the hunt down a little bit.
          If Billy Idol is on your playlist go reevaluate your life.

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            #6
            Originally posted by ElPuma07 View Post
            When the kitchen feed is on you can read 120v to the water in the sink.
            I see he already said which breaker. That would indicate the kitchen breaker and whatever is in that circuit.

            What I'm wondering about is you are reading 120v from the water to where? Ground on a receptacle? Kind of unusual for water to be that conductive.

            -Hal
            Last edited by charlie b; 09-27-19, 10:24 AM. Reason: Repaired the quotation

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              #7
              A small comment on terminology. It is very unlikely that anything "penetrated the water lines" to energize them. Much more likely something penetrated the insulation of a wire and it touched a water pipe (which was not properly bonded!)

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                #8
                Unless this is PEX and he thinks something is putting voltage on the water. That's why I asked if this was copper and the question about the water in the sink.

                -Hal

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by hbiss View Post
                  Unless this is PEX and he thinks something is putting voltage on the water. That's why I asked if this was copper and the question about the water in the sink.

                  -Hal
                  IMHO a penetration of PEX is very unlikely to be leak free, which would raise a whole 'nother problem.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by hbiss View Post
                    Copper water lines? They should be bonded to ground at the service so what you have can't happen. If they are not they could become energized. Check that out first.

                    Are the hoses you speak of flexible braided stainless steel risers under the sink that connect the faucet with the supply lines? And they arc when they hit the drain line?

                    Yeah, sounds like you have two problems- plumbing isn't bonded and there is a fault someplace that is putting voltage on the plumbing. Fix the first problem and see what breaker trips.

                    -Hal

                    Yeah the hoses are the braided stainless and they would arc when they hit the drain line. The plumbing bond should be near the service if I'm imagining correctly?

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                      #11
                      It has been a while since I've tested this issue at his home but now I'm thinking the water lines aren't properly bonded either which would definitely be an issue.

                      When reading from ground to kitchen faucet/water in the sink I'd read 120v which would drop slowly as the water exited the sink.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by ElPuma07 View Post


                        Yeah the hoses are the braided stainless and they would arc when they hit the drain line. The plumbing bond should be near the service if I'm imagining correctly?
                        Is the drain piping metallic? If so have you check for voltage between drain piping and water piping?

                        If it is relatively low voltage then one is not bonded and you are probably just measuring voltage drop on the service neutral for the most part. If it is at/near full 120 volts one of them is apparently faulted to an ungrounded conductor but is not bonded.
                        I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

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                          #13
                          Or some DIYer has connected an outlet to a hot and a ground to a pipe as the neutral, so whenever anything is plugged into that receptacle, the pipes become hot.
                          __________________________________________________ ____________________________
                          Many people are shocked when they discover I am not a good electrician...

                          I'm in California, ergo I am still stuck on the 2014 NEC... We'll get around to the 2017 code in around 2021.

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                            #14
                            Maybe some EMF wacko like from another thread's video disconnected the bonding to the water lines so he would be safer.

                            -Hal

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by ElPuma07 View Post


                              Yeah the hoses are the braided stainless and they would arc when they hit the drain line.
                              All you know is that there is a voltage difference between two points. You need to know which is improperly hot relative to earth.

                              Remember, you're dealing with a lethal situation here!

                              I would plug a cord into an unrelated receptacle (which should itself be tested with a solenoid or other low-impedance tester) such as laundry, and separately check the sink and the plumbing against each cord slot with the above tester. One of the two will test as hot to the cords ground, and will show either 240v or 0v relative to the cord's hot.

                              Also, the tests to the cord's neutral slot should mirror those to the cord's ground. You'll be affirming the house's neutral-ground bond by confirming that the laundry receptacle itself tests correctly, as well as the cord's neutral and ground are at the same potential, i.e., 0v to whatever true earth reference you can confirm.
                              Master Electrician
                              Electrical Contractor
                              Richmond, VA

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