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  • Electricians: What is your most interesting experience with electricity?

    I am looking for unusual problems that you were able to solve, and how you found the problem.

    For example, one interesting thing that happened with me several years ago involved the fire department. They were called to a house that had aluminum siding, and the residents were getting shocked anywhere around the house whenever they touched the siding, or when they touched the storm door to go into the house.

    I was called to the scene to figure out the problem. I used my voltmeter, stuck one prong in the ground (earth) and the other to the aluminum siding. The voltmeter read anywhere from 25 to 100 volts, depending on when or where I checked. Upon closer observation, some places in the siding was becoming a dull red as if they were getting warm. I used lineman's gloves (tested for high voltage) to protect myself to enter the house, and then turned off one breaker at a time until the voltage went away. The breaker fed a house circuit, which in turn had a non-metallic sheathed cable (romex) plugged in as an extension cord. This cable was running through a window to another building or shed. When the residents shut their window, the outer jacket and inner insulation to the cable eventually was damaged and made contact to the metal storm window, and thus everything else metal on the outside of the house that was interconnected became energized. Since the metal siding was not effectively bonded to the grounding rod or other grounds, the breaker never tripped due to a short or overload. Even though the residents were receiving shocks, nobody was ever hurt.

    What is your experience? Please limit this to no higher than 120/240 single phase voltage.

    4 AnswersMaintenance & Repairs1 decade ago