Voltage with the breaker off. Should I be concerned?

guvnahApril 27, 2010

I was replacing an outlet today and double checked the circuit after turning off the breaker. To my surprise, it showed about 6-7 volts. I traced the wire back to a junction box and checked it from there with the same results. The wire feeding the junction box is a 12/3 and it appears 2 circuits share a neutral. What could be going on here and should i be concerned?

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Bet you are using a distal meter.

The input impedance of digital meters is so high they can read voltage that is capacitively coupled to a conductor in proximity to a hot conductor.

Plug a light into the receptacle and turn it on.

The filament will provide a path for the coupled voltage to ground and you will now measure 9 volts.

The effective source impedance for the coupled voltage is very high, but the multi mega-ohm input of a digital meter can read it.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 10:09PM
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Ron Natalie

Distal meters? I always use proximal meters.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 7:01AM
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Thanks for the response brickeyee. Learning something new every day.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 10:03PM
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