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  1. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by timjimbob View Post
    Had an issue that electrified the water pipes, and cast iron pipes in a rent house. We could not bond or add enough grounding rods to eliminate the problem. Two more 6 foot rods, ties to underground copper pipe to back yard hydrant. All existing grounding was proper. Had to have tenants move out because of shocking shower.

    Problem was bad neutral at pole. power company says they are not liable for condition of power quality coming into the residence.

    I felt exposed to a law suit even though I had done everything I can to safeguard my tenants.

    How should I make this situation safer, in future situations.
    Grounding rods are completely useless for preventing shock and that was never their purpose anyway.
    -Marty

  2. #15
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    Thread Starter
    "Grounding rods are completely useless for preventing shock and that was never their purpose anyway. "


    Why are they required then, what is their role?

  3. #16
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    Lighting strikes

  4. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by timjimbob View Post
    Had an issue that electrified the water pipes, and cast Iron pipes in a rent house. We could not bond or add enough grounding rods to eliminate the problem. Two more 6 foot rods, ties to underground copper pipe to back yard hydrant. All existing grounding was proper. Had to have tenants move out because of shocking shower.

    Problem was bad neutral at pole. power company says they are not liable for condition of power quality coming into the residence.

    I felt exposed to a law suit even though I had done everything I can to safeguard my tenants.

    How should I make this situation safer, in future situations.

    Have the neutral repaired. Follow up with a call to the utility company ombudsman if the electrician says it is the utiliy's responsibility.
    [Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
    2 Tim 3:16-17

    RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist
    Member, IAEI

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  5. #18
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    Aug 2006
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    I knew someone who had a brand new fiberglass swimming pool they couldn't use, due to getting shocked. It even did this with the meter pulled. Lawsuit went on for over two years, because the utility wouldn't admit the problem was theirs. They finally had to run six miles of neutral wire. The damages trail was in the millions, LOL.
    Retired, after 43 Years

  6. #19
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    Jan 2017
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    Had to chime in on this old thread.When I worked for the Gas Company I had a Gas Supply line coming in from the Main to the House,was Hot as Hell.Put my volt stick to it,sure enough it was electrified.Was acting as some sort of Neutral or Ground.If you disconnected the Gas pipe,the lights in the House would go dull,and all electrical would start to buzz.Turns out other houses in the Neighborhood had some similar issues,but no one could figure where the problem originated from,untill now!Talk about a hair-raising experience!

  7. #20
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    Jun 2012
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    Requirement is a 25 ohm ground to rod. Do the math. That is a lot of current looking for a place to go if the neutral is defective on the utility or user side..... The farther you are from the substation, the larger the resistance and the greater the potential.

  8. Likes DavidDeBord liked this post
  9. #21
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    Apr 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by timjimbob View Post
    "Grounding rods are completely useless for preventing shock and that was never their purpose anyway. "


    Why are they required then, what is their role?
    Sorry for the very late reply. A PE at a local electrical utility told me that the purpose of a grounding rod is to make the potential at the service entrance to the same as the ground at the transformer. A ground rod is not a low impedance path back to the source and therefore generally will not trip a breaker.


    Mike Holt gives a good explanation starting just after 19:30 min

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vvvv5QVZoA
    -Marty

  10. #22
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    Oct 2002
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    Thread Starter
    In my case, pole transformer ground was nothing near zero volts so, in theory, my meter/ service entrance voltage should be jacked up to utility transformers' above zero value. Not buying that.

  11. #23
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    May 2006
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    Raleigh,NC.
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    had a case where I found there was just over 50 volts on neutral from power company after several hours of a "search and destroy" volt mission. The power co. was sympathetic but said could do nothing, because it was probably someone, up the line, for who knows how many miles, putting the volts on the line.
    remember, with electronics; when its brown,its cooking and when its black, its done!!!

  12. #24
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    Apr 2002
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    NW Indiana
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    I chased a shocking water issue once that only occurred when the wall furnace was on. I had no hair on my head from me pulling it out finding the issue. In the end a Fan wire in between the furnace cabinet that was buried you couldn't see was rubbing and grounding to the cabinet. When the fan would switch on voltage would bleed through the copper LP gas line passing to the water heater.
    "The Bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  13. #25
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    Oct 2002
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    Plano, TX
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    Thread Starter
    Had a long time customer call about an issue with the DISH installer. They had plugged their grounded receiver into the master bath plug. Shower of sparks blew from the plug. Wanted me to figure what was going on.

    DISH antenna coax was well grounded to the outside meter equipment. The house was 10 year old pier and beam with wood floors. I found a romex cable staple that had punctured the insulation and was tying hot to ground conductor in the attic.

    Well this can happen but should have tripped the breaker. That puzzled me. Opened the breaker panel and found the romex ground connector not connected to busbar.
    So all these years the electrical box screws were all 120 volts hot in the bathroom-lucky no one was killed.

    Thinking back, some "don't care" electrician probably kept having the breaker trip and found if he un-connected the ground the breaker would stay on.

  14. #26
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    Aug 2009
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    Beatrice, NE
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    I had a customer complaining about lights blinking when the compressor started on their heat pump, like that has never happened before right. I dig in to it, it has a start kit that is working properly, the voltage doesn't dip on start up, amp draw on start up was faster than my Fluke would capture at 100/sec recording value. I checked everything I could think of and came up blank at every turn. For some reason, out of desperation I guess, I stuck one probe on the ground wire and put the other probe in the ground, I had 60+ volts, what. How does this happen. I start checking connections all the way back to the panel and had the same results all the way. I called the city and explained the issue. They sent out a couple lineman. I told them what I found, they pulled the meter and checked line-line, line to neutral, line to ground neutral to ground, all readings normal. The guy said I don't see a problem. I said put one probe on ground and give me the other. So he did and I stuck the probe in the dirt. He said what did you do, so I showed him the probe in the dirt. He went WTF. I said that's what I thought. They dug for over an hour and finally found the ground plate was rotted off at the pole. They fixed that, the reading neutral to ground went away and so did the light flicker on compressor start.

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