help with energized water.

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electricblue

Senior Member
Location
Largo, Florida
Customer says she feels current in the water. I put my meter on faucet and outlet ground and I have 20volts. When I shut the breakers one at a time. One circuit kills the 20 volts. Now, I noticed the water heater had some pvc. If I rebond the copper water lines will this go away?
 

Rewire

Senior Member
Find the problem dont try to mask it. Had a similar issue when I found the brreaker that stopped the bleed off I started tracing the lines in the unfinished basement I found a pomex ran between a joist and the ductwirk . The wire was pinched and a small nick developed as I was tracing the ductwork to find how it transfered to the plumbing I found the humidistate connected to the ductwork and then to the water limes. Trace the circuit that is causing the issue and find out how the voltage is making it to the water line. Happy hunting
 

Rick Christopherson

Senior Member
I disagree. Everything can be working perfectly fine, and you can still have 20 volts from inductive/capacitive coupling on a floating conductor (the pipe). I would place a temporary grounding jumper to the pipe, and then check to verify if the voltage dropped to zero. Then put an ammeter around your jumper and confirm that the amperage is negligable. If that is the case, then make a permanent grounding jumper for the pipe. On the other hand, if the amperage through the jumper is not negligable, then you do have a physical short that needs to be repaired.
 

Fulthrotl

~~Please excuse the mess. Sig under construction~~
Customer says she feels current in the water. I put my meter on faucet and outlet ground and I have 20volts. When I shut the breakers one at a time. One circuit kills the 20 volts. Now, I noticed the water heater had some pvc. If I rebond the copper water lines will this go away?
what kind of meter are you measuring with?

some DMM's have such a high ohm/volt ratio they will read static as if
it's real power.

one i use is a fluke 12.... it puts a 2k shunt across the circuit under test,
like a wiggie might do, and then reads the voltage.

20 volts, as in one hand in water, other on plumbing fixture grounded to a
different potential, is approaching levels where it can do real harm.
you most likely will be going hand to hand.

if you can feel it, it's probably not static.... this is one where full code
compliance is an absolute. time to find out where it's coming from.
a good circuit tracer that can inject a signal might be helpful, or it could
just make you crazy. :rant:
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I would fix the problem. You already isolated the circuit so go from there. Start disconnecting wires in that circuit till you find which one it is.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I disagree. Everything can be working perfectly fine, and you can still have 20 volts from inductive/capacitive coupling on a floating conductor (the pipe). I would place a temporary grounding jumper to the pipe, and then check to verify if the voltage dropped to zero. Then put an ammeter around your jumper and confirm that the amperage is negligable. If that is the case, then make a permanent grounding jumper for the pipe. On the other hand, if the amperage through the jumper is not negligable, then you do have a physical short that needs to be repaired.
I disagree with your disagreement;) There could be capacitive coupling going on there, but it will not have sufficient source for sustainment and when touching it will short out the weak source and drop the voltage to a very low level - the person in contact will not feel the current flow as it will be very weak. There is more than just capacitive coupling if the user is feeling a shock.

It is more likely a neutral/grounding issue someplace, if it were an ungrounded conductor in contact with the water pipe then we would likely be reading full 120 volts instead of 20.

If she can feel it, it's real.
:thumbsup:
 

electricblue

Senior Member
Location
Largo, Florida
What's up with this? I was testing to a grounded outlet. Turns out there are no grounds. Old house with no grounds but there was a three prong outlet that I was testing the water pipe to. So, when I ran a ground out to the panel and checked the voltage it was 0.
Why did I get 5 to 10 volts from faucet to ungrounded metal box? I'm almost certain that the tingling water was fixed when the Poco fixed the loose neutral.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
How does a bad neutral from poco create this problem. Is current leakage finding it's path back to ground through plumbing pipes?
What's up with this? I was testing to a grounded outlet. Turns out there are no grounds. Old house with no grounds but there was a three prong outlet that I was testing the water pipe to. So, when I ran a ground out to the panel and checked the voltage it was 0.
Why did I get 5 to 10 volts from faucet to ungrounded metal box? I'm almost certain that the tingling water was fixed when the Poco fixed the loose neutral.
Is water piping bonded to electrical service? Is this older home with metallic sewer piping, and if so is it bonded?

If POCO fixed a loose neutral I am not one bit suprised the tingling water went away. Because that neutral was loose the voltage on everything on load side was elevated above ground (earth) voltage. Chances are the water piping was bonded - but it was also at same elevated voltage - so something else that was at earth potential had to be in vicinity to be subjected to a voltage and feel the shock. Maybe an unbonded metal sewer system - seen this happen before - and nobody ever bonds those, or possibly you have a concrete floor on grade, there has to be something earthed to allow contact with two different potential surfaces.

The grounded outlet with no actual connection to ground measured voltage because of capacitve coupling. If you were to measure that with a low impedance meter or wiggy, or even just touching both points (but be careful - if is not actually capacitive coupling causing the voltage it will hammer you) will short out what is a relatively poor "capacitor" and the voltage will disappear.
 
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