ouch - shocked when touching range and micro

rslmtDecember 14, 2011

Hi -

I've also posted this message in Kitchens and Appliances! Our electrician left today after finishing the electrical work on our kitchen. The strange thing is that when we touch the range and the OTR microwave (GE Advantium 120V) at the same time, we get a shock. Our house isn't exceptionally dry -- haven't received shocks anywhere else. It has happened to my daughter, my husband and myself.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!

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Billl

Yeah - one of the appliances are being energized somehow. You need to get the electrician back out to fix it ASAP.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 8:18AM
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rslmt

The electrician is coming this afternoon. What exactly does energized mean and what should I expect him to do?

Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:09AM
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brickeyee

"What exactly does energized mean and what should I expect him to do? "

It means the frame of the item has voltage present on it.

The frame is supposed to be solidly grounded to prevent this and trip a breaker; though that requires enough current to both be available and flow.

It is likely that the stove has an older 3-wire setup or the ground wire in a 4-wire setup is not connected, or that the microwave has a bad ground and a defect that is allowing a hot wore to touch the chassis.

The first step I would take is to gain access to a known good ground and measure the voltage on the chassis of each appliance to determine what appliance is electrically 'hot' (AKA energized).

The next step would be to figure out HOW the appliance became 'hot' and why the grounding is not working correctly.

The ground connection should be holding the chassis of the appliance so close in voltage you cannot detect anything when touching both.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:48AM
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brickeyee

If a plug is accessible for the microwave you can try unplugging it.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 1:46PM
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Samantha111

My microwave was hooked up by a contractor who hooked up the range poorly. I saw a loose wire in the wall for the mw. I assume those had to be hooked up to the unit. Is there any way to tell if he grounded the microwave without reinstalling it? If the microwave is working fine, is there any way he could have messed things up otherwise anyway?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 2:48PM
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rslmt

Just wanted to follow up - the electrician came out and noticed that one of the lights on the range was slightly lit. I had noticed it, but because it's a new range, hadn't really thought much about it. It didn't look really lit, just different. One of the wires had come disconnected from the board inside the range. Maybe it got disconnected during transport or installation? He reconnected it and there is no longer a 120 volt shock (ouch!) when you touch the 2 appliances.

Thanks for your speedy response!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 4:13PM
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Ron Natalie

That's nice that he reconnected it, but the fact that it shocked you without tripping the breaker lends us to believe that there are further grounding issues in the frame of the range.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 4:27PM
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bus_driver

I still suspect that the range is not properly grounded.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 4:28PM
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brickeyee

"I still suspect that the range is not properly grounded."

Something is still wrong.

the safety ground of the range should have prevented ANY voltage from being present.

Unless enough current flowed it might not have tripped the breaker, but there NEVER should have been enough voltage on the range you could feel a shock.

PERIOD. EVER.
Just because it works does NOT mean it is wired correctly or safely.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:00PM
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Samantha111

Same subject if it's alright to add situations?

I used to get a shock when I used a stainless electric wok on my old electric range. Is this same situation where there might have been a grounding problem with the range? Sometimes when I would touch the wok, I'd get a buzz shock.
As I recall, the plastic plug piece on that wok might have been wobbly. It probably needed its screws tightened.

I leaned on an outlet without a cover months back and got a slight buzz. Contractor said it was from the metal part and that he would fix it. What would cause that? Its ground wire maybe not connected?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 11:46PM
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bus_driver

Sam, the problem you describe could well be a problem with the wok.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 9:02AM
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brickeyee

"I used to get a shock when I used a stainless electric wok on my old electric range."

The problem could be either the range or the wok.

One of them has a fault allowing the device to become electrically 'live' and there IS a ground present that is allowing YOU to complete the circuit.

Without some further testing there is no real way to decide what device has the fault.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 9:51AM
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weedmeister

Note to self: If the appliance has a dimly lit light on all the time, it is a sign that something is wrong.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 3:37PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

Maybe, just maybe, it was a 12v tap off a transformer for the lamp. If your hands are damp, you can feel 12v. Not enough juice to trip a breaker, either.
120vAC you can feel with dry hands ;)
And an electric fence jolt feels like an invisible baseball bat connected. DAMHIKT
Casey

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 7:59PM
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bus_driver

My fencer had 5000 volts, pulsing and of very low amperage. But it hurt so bad that I had to look to see if I was bleeding.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 9:36PM
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brickeyee

"My fencer had 5000 volts, pulsing and of very low amperage."

Older fence chargers often use a 12 V blinker module and an ignition coil to generate the high voltage. They depended on the earth for the return.

Every time the blinker opened the circuit the coil generated a high voltage pulse (just like the points in a distributor, remember those?).

They did not to be powerful enough to clear weeds that grew near the wire and would then short out the high voltage.

If you saw a 'tunnel' of weeds around a fence wire you new it was hot (if you ignored the insulators on the posts).

Convincing 1000+ pounds animals to respect the fence took a pretty good jolt.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 9:34AM
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brickeyee

"They did not to be powerful enough"

Should be 'They did have to be powerful enough...'

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 10:34PM
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groundrod

Talk about a shock, do not urinate on said weed cutter fence when you are dared by your twelve year old buddies. Don't ask. You will look like you have been tased thirty years before it's invention.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 11:35AM
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Ron Natalie

You obviously never spent any time on a farm. The trick to peeing on the electric fence (handy to get your friends to do so as well) is to never allow a continuous stream to hit pass from your body to the fence....you need to interrupt it while doing your demonstration. Of course, you don't tell your bodies that trick when encourage them to try.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 8:07AM
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brickeyee

"never allow a continuous stream to hit pass from your body to the fence.."

Stand far enough back the stream breaks up.

Urge them to get close so no one can see what they are doing.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 10:16AM
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countryboymo

I remember the old 'tick tock' mechanical fencers that were mediocre 12v fencers compared to 120v weedburner units. We purchased a new zealand style fencer designed for sheep that would put out 7000 volts and that put the end to the occasional cow that would push through it. I witnessed a kid lick this fence in a dumb moment trying to one up the kid who peed on it and almost cried. The kid ended up with wet jeans...priceless.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 12:31PM
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