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Recently, My neighbor complained that she was getting a...

<< Back to: Electrical Wiring FAQ (Part 1 of 2)

Question by Rich
Submitted on 1/2/2004
Related FAQ: Electrical Wiring FAQ (Part 1 of 2)
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Recently, My neighbor complained that she was getting a shock when she touched her electric stove and her sink at the same time.  

I went there with my voltmeter and measured 120 between the sink and all surfaces of her stove. We pulled out the stove and uncovered the plate where the cord enters and I measured 240 between the neutral wire and the black and 0 between the neutral and red (no bare wire), and 120 between the neutral and sink.

We pushed the stove back and I then re-measured between the stove and sink and got 0. We pulled out the stove and re-measured the terminals getting 120 between the neutral and black and between neutral and red, and 0 between neutral and sink.

Why didn't a breaker trip? What was most likely problem?


Answer by twig
Submitted on 1/7/2004
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somewhere the hot conducter was touching the metal cabinet if the ground was properly connected the breaker would have tripped. if the ground was faulty the cabinet would become energized (hot) so then when you touch the cabinet to a ground source which is the sink you complete the circuit thus getting shocked.it sounds like when you moved the stove you cleared the hot from touching the cabinet. the problem could still happen again you need to find where the wire is touching the cabinet. shut off the power and inspect the wiring. you could have a cut in the insulation or worn insulation. also check for proper ground.


Answer by Louis
Submitted on 2/22/2004
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The feed cable should have a fourth conductor which is the bare grounding conductor that was called up. Without this grounded connection, the stove is unsafe since any of the internal wiring or heating elements could burn into contact with the stove's metallic structure with only one way to reach ground potential (0 volts)and that's thru someone's body fluids. Suggest cable be replaced with a "legal" connection, and while at it 1) put in a 4 prong plug/socket combo (one prong passes the required ground), and 2) check your clothes dryer for similar connection requirement (also operates on 240 volts)since your electrician may have forgot to connect up ground there too.
Be safe!


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