HELP! - got electrical shock touching stove chassis when off

fasola-shapenoteJune 4, 2010

Hey all-

I've got an older (1980s perhaps) Whirlpool electric stove. I just got shocked by it, touching the chassis. It was not on at the time.

I was standing over the stove, cracking open a pistachio nut, and dropped part of the shell on one of the burner coils. When I reached down to pick it up, I got a shock (the kind that feels like your arm is jiggling really fast, like when you're wiring a light switch and accidentally touch something you shouldn't).

So I grabbed my non-contact voltage sensor (one of those green-and-yellow ones that looks like a pen, which beeps and flashes a red light when brought near a live current), and sure enough it goes off anywhere within about 10 inches of the stove.

It's nothing obvious to me, like a frayed cord from a nearby appliance brushing against the stove.

What caused this, and how do I fix it? I don't have the money for even a used stove off of Craigslist, so I've got to be able to fix this thing.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your stove is probably connected with a 3 prong/ 3 wire cord which is grandfathered in from older days. A neutral connection may of came lose in the stove, wall receptacle, service panel, or any junction boxes (if any) on the way to the service panel. A lose neutral would put part of the current carrying components (clock, light, etc) in path with the chassis and create a shock hazard. It could also be that the grounding strap to the neutral from the appliance cord never was connected (leaving the appliance ungrounded) Have to open the cover where the cord comes in and check for tight connections and that a strap or jumper from the chassis to the neutral terminal is intact.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 12:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, it is a 3-wire plug (all the 240v in this house - stove, hot water heater, clothes dryer, and wall A/C unit - is 3-wire).

So you're telling me that in order to create a 120v circuit for the oven light, clock, etc., it uses one of the two 120v legs, plus the ground as its neutral?

And that there is a break in that circuit along the ground/neutral line, so it's using the metal chassis of the stove as its ground/neutral in order to complete the circuit?

The internal wiring of the stove with regard to the clock and oven light and what-not is way too involved for me. I'd rather just disable all those 120v features and do without them; I don't ever use them anyhow. How do I go about doing that? I just want the simplest, fastest, easiest way to get my stove to quit shocking me.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 10:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You want to have a qualified repairmen take a look at this and get it repaired. Even if you could "disable" the 120V features, it wouldn't mean that there wasn't a shock hazard remaining. And until you can get this fixed, it remains very dangerous (i.e., it can kill you), so turn off the breaker for the stove until it's repaired properly.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 1:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You understand the suggested diagnosis correctly.

You can't easily just "disable all those 120v features and do without them". It can be done, sometimes, but why? The real problem here isn't "the oven has extra features". The problem is "the house wiring is screwed up, there's no neutral to this outlet". The latter is what you should be fixing, not just juryrigging the stove to compensate.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 1:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I doubt it is an outlet problem, though it would not hurt to check. Rather, I bet some of the insulation on the wiring internal to the stove has degraded and is now touching something. You're going to have to pull the stove away from the wall and check the state of the pigtail and wiring. Pay particular attention to the wiring to the coil tops. That wiring gets really hot and flexes when you move the coils for cleaning.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2010 at 2:09PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Badly done multi-wire circuits (previous owner strikes again..)
I bought a 1940-ish house last year, for which the...
Inspection Report
Had a gorgeous 1909 house inspected yesterday and don't...
Can I electrify battery-operated lights?
Hi all. Is there a way to electrify a battery operated...
Need to Understand GFCI Requirements.
I posted this in the remodeling section, but I think...
Confused & need help please
I know just about zero when it comes to electricity....
Sponsored Products
Woodbridge Lighting Champlaign 6-light Washed Gold Chandelier
Masiero Lighting | Dropop PL25 Ceiling Light
$423.00 | YLighting
Red Cedar Blue Mountain Fanback Glider Collection
Progress Lighting Outdoor Lighting. Greenridge LED Outdoor Antique Bronze Post L
$36.45 | Home Depot
Owens modern sectional sofa
Interior Define
Boxus One-Light - Black Brass with Off - White Silk String Shade - Wall Sconce
$177.95 | Bellacor
Turner Leather Chair - Brighton Polinesia Blue
Joybird Furniture
20-Piece Zaffiro Flatware Service - FUCHSIA
$160.00 | Horchow
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™