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Thread: Shocking Water

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Default Shocking Water

    I recently remodeled my family vacation home and update the whole house. The fixtures and elements were from the 70's so it needed much updating. We have had some plumbing issues in the bathroom and kitchen. In the bathroom, the water will carry an electric charge and shock you while washing your hands, or while in the shower. I have had someone tell me they think the water is moving at such a fast and larger rate that it is now carrying an electric charge. The old shower was old and did not have great water pressure so not a lot of water was coming through. The new shower has the rain head on the ceiling. Also we seem to run through hot water very quickly..a 60 gallon water tank and showers can only last 15-20 minutes at most. It is possible for the water to carry an electric charge from the high speed movement and what can be done to stop it. Does running out of hot water so quickly have something to do with it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Default Re: Shocking Water

    Im not aware of any condition in which water itself would build up a charge. Most grounding connections are bonded to plumbing pipes so you could have two conditions here.

    1. There may be stray voltage reaching the copper pipes either by a hot wire touching the pipe
    2. Some appliance could have a fault causing voltage to leak to the ground.

    Additionally if the house is bonded to plumbing and the recent work replaced some of the copper with pvc the ground may no longer have a path to the outside by water supply. Call in an electrician!
    My advice and opinions come from hands on knowledge...and This Old House Hidden Content

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Pacific Northwet

    Default Re: Shocking Water

    Absolutely, call an electrician. You have a hazardous condition that could result in electrocution.

    For some reason you have stray voltage in your plumbing. There are many potential causes, too many to speculate on here.

    You may also have a faulty electric water heater. It may be possible that one of the elements has ruptured, allowing the water to become energized. If the lower element has failed in this manner, only the top element may be working, resulting in only a few gallons of hot water. Turn off the water heater and see if the "shocking" problem goes away. If so, inspect the elements and replace if necessary. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, consider replacing the entire unit.
    Last edited by Fencepost; 06-12-2012 at 04:22 PM.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Shocking Water

    I tend to think the same way as Fencepost - if you have an electric water heater, it could be defective.

    If you have gas WH, call an electrician to diagnose your risky condition.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Re: Shocking Water

    Sound's like if electric water heater the lead's may be reversed I have seen this happen in a commercial setting and the electrical was reversed and/or in correctly installed.

    Benjamin Franklin Plumbing
    153 Garden Park
    Orem, Utah
    (801) 960-1565

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Fayette County, Ohio

    Default Re: Shocking Water

    I agree with Fencepost you need to get this fixed. Most likely cause is a breakdown in the grounding system.

    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

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