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Live current in my ground wires

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  • Live current in my ground wires

    Yesterday I was installing new conduit outside my house and after the job I checked for stray voltage. Sure enough the conduit was hot. I back tracked this problem all the way through my house back to the main box. 1 outlet on the line has current in the ground. I checked 3 other outlets on the line and those are ok. Long story short.... somehow live current is getting into the ground wires. I tried turning off each other circuit breaker - 1 at a time to try to figure out where the stray current is coming from. That idea didnt work. I don't know where to start with this. Should I just call in a profesional or is there anything else I can do??Thanks for any help you can share.

  • #2
    Re: Live current in my ground wires

    sounds like their is a possibility that one or more of the receptacles may be wired wrong (reverse polarity?) if that is the case and u happen to have a motor like a washing machine or dishwasher, etc and they are plugged in to a reverse polarity receptacle the hot wire will run through the casing of the motor instead of the windings thus energizing the ground. check all the receptacles to see if they are wired correctly. also sounds like u either lost the ground or don't have a ground. it might be a job for an electrician this kind of problem can be a bear to find at times.

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    • #3
      Re: Live current in my ground wires

      If you have a continuous ground from the load center (panel) to the first device with the problem and you have current in the grounded wires it should be tripping the breaker. How are you taking your measurements? Hot to ground will give you 120 volts as will hot to neutral when tested with a meter. Is the conduit grounded all the way back to the panel? We need more info here. Please don't take this the wrong way but, if you are confused or uncertain about how to diagnose this it would be better and safer to seek professional help.

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      • #4
        Re: Live current in my ground wires

        Sounds like stray voltage reading to me. Attach a ground wire to the conduit and watch the voltage disappear.
        info for all: http://www.hoistman.com http://www.freeyabb.com/phpbb/index....wwtoolinfoforu --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."

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        • #5
          Re: Live current in my ground wires

          I started out by using a tester with 2 probes. 1 probe on the hot and 1 on the nuetral. Works fine. Then I put 1 probe on the nuetral and 1 probe on the ground- still got 120 volts. I then started checking the recepticles on the line with a tester that has 3 lights and depending on which lights go on, the chart tells you the problem. This tester lit up for hot/ neutral reverse. So I opened up the recepticle to check but it was wired correctly. white where the white belongs and black where the black belongs. I checked the panel to see if the wires were reversed in there but those were correct also. Should I just reverse the 2 wires at the recepticle? If it's wrong it will just trip the breaker right? I'm running out of options to check. i may have it narrowed down to a ceiling fan/ light that bugged out a few months ago. I'm in the process of by passing this device to see if everything goes back to normal. Trust me, if I can't figure this out I will definately call an electrician. Only problem is, the last electrician that did work in my bathroom, didn't ground the light switches and spliced 2 wires in a wall with electrical tape- no junction box or wire nuts. I had to fix it myself. So I'm concerned about calling another so-called pro-electrician. Thanks again

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          • #6
            Re: Live current in my ground wires

            Forgot to answer 1 question- No motors on the line except the ceiling fan. Not sure if that counts as a motor.

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            • #7
              Re: Live current in my ground wires

              since the receptacle is wired correctly and the tester shows reverse polarity then the problem lies some where between the receptacle and the panel on that circuit some how the polarity got crossed.is the light/fan between the recept and the panel? are there other recepts in the circuit between the panel and the recept u checked? if the fan motor went bad that might be your problem, disconnect the fan and recheck with tester.
              as far as your past experience with an electrician sounds like he is not a true electrician,doing such work as you describe is not professional,just because u happen to have found one that obviously doesn't care about his work or you the home owners safety and well being . dont give up on the rest of us that do care!

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              • #8
                Re: Live current in my ground wires

                Wow, finally got it figured out. The recepticle that was reading reversed on the tester was in fact reversed. Somewhere the white became hot and the black is neutral. - go figure. So now there is no more current in my ground by that metal conduit outside!!! This job was botched by the electrician that originally wired the house in 1984. The same guy that used all white wires on 220 lines. But anyway, problem solved. Now I will mark these wires appropriately so in the future we know what we're dealing with. And I won't give up on you qualified electricians, it's just that in my area (northeast Penna) there is no licensing so anyone can be an electrician. I work in NYC and they have very stringent licensing for electricians and my line of work (fire protection) and we still have shiesters running around. Eventually they go away. Thanks again everyone and Happy easter.

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                • #9
                  Re: Live current in my ground wires

                  glad to hear problem solved. good news for a change! filed this one , time for my nap! hagd

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                  • #10
                    Re: Live current in my ground wires

                    using a neon light tester, may or may not give you accurate readings, as one can hold one of the probes and touch a hot wire and many times it will light up, even if you have high humidity, some times, so a neon tester is not that reliable in figuring out how much voltage is in a circuit, it may and more than likely hot if it lights, but as to if it is induced or line voltage, it does not necessarily give one clear indication,

                    I would suggest a true volt meter, if possible.

                    but I am glad that you figured it out, if the neutral and ground are connected down from the main box you can some times have the ground carrying power if you have a neutral that is lose or corroded as well,
                    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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                    • #11
                      Re: Live current in my ground wires

                      Originally posted by jebj1 View Post
                      I started out by using a tester with 2 probes. 1 probe on the hot and 1 on the nuetral. Works fine. Then I put 1 probe on the nuetral and 1 probe on the ground- still got 120 volts. I then started checking the recepticles on the line with a tester that has 3 lights and depending on which lights go on, the chart tells you the problem. This tester lit up for hot/ neutral reverse. So I opened up the recepticle to check but it was wired correctly. white where the white belongs and black where the black belongs. I checked the panel to see if the wires were reversed in there but those were correct also. Should I just reverse the 2 wires at the recepticle? If it's wrong it will just trip the breaker right? I'm running out of options to check. i may have it narrowed down to a ceiling fan/ light that bugged out a few months ago. I'm in the process of by passing this device to see if everything goes back to normal. Trust me, if I can't figure this out I will definately call an electrician. Only problem is, the last electrician that did work in my bathroom, didn't ground the light switches and spliced 2 wires in a wall with electrical tape- no junction box or wire nuts. I had to fix it myself. So I'm concerned about calling another so-called pro-electrician. Thanks again
                      That idiot was not a LICENSED ELESTRICIAN!
                      I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Live current in my ground wires

                        Have You bonded the water heater?
                        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Live current in my ground wires

                          Probably not. What does that involve?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Live current in my ground wires

                            i n 1984 it was wired BUT did someone else come in to co some thing .I am a plumber and did house 10 15 years ago and then called back for something wrong that some one else touched

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