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Town Drunk
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I may have to spread this out over a few posts, to avoid timing out.

I was sent to a house our company wired today. (different crew)

The GC met me and told me what happened. He had been there Thursday for an unrelated problem, and had noticed a leak in the ceiling. He went up to the roof to check, especially around the chimney, which was close by.

The fireplace is a pre-built model (I call the "mechanical"), wood burner, no gas. Blower underneath, switch controlled.

Chimney is glue-on "stone", rest of house is vinyl siding.

He is checking around the chimney, and gets shocked when he touches the fireplace flue!

Friday he tarps the chimney (still leaking) and gets rapped a few more times even though he is being cautious.

Monday, I get sent there to - get this - "check the building ground" :blink:
Luckily, the GC was there to let me in, and I got the story from him direct.

To be continued.....
 

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we had something similar to this happen:

fake stone put on lower portion of house, siding above
when watering grass, homeowner got shocked. turns out that under the stone the lath is metal lath. a long screw went thru a piece of romex and energized the side of the house. hose bib (metal) was either contacting the lath or the side of the house was wet and conducting (not sure). we found source by process of elimination.
 

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Town Drunk
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The rest of the story


I check the fireplace - every connection tight. No voltage on ground. Check with an extension cord ran to the panel. Climb in the attic and look around the flue- no wires within 3 feet.

Use ampmeter - no current on EGC
OK, I don't like roofs, especially sloped, most especially in the rain. But I gotta find this.

30 volts from the stone mortar to the flue! And 25 to 28 from the shingles to the flue!
Had my helper flip breakers until in went away. It was a bedroom circuit - with no AFCI. :001_huh:
The GC then told me that the HO had complained that breaker had tripped occasionally, but only when it rained. So whoever came and "troubleshot" it couldn't find a problem, he took the AFCI off and put a standard breaker on. :censored:

Once I knew what circuit it was it took 20 minutes with the trusty megger to find the bad wire, isolate both ends, and bypass it with a piece of romex jumping the 2 receptacles.
Back on roof, check again, no voltage, fish in new wire, replace AFCI breaker.

Evidently, the wire got hit by a siding nail, or a flashing nail. It only became evident when there was rain.

I am furious that someone (who is still employed there - for now) would do something so stupid.


Also, I wanted to share this story, in case someone ever runs into something similar.
 

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Town Drunk
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Neat story. I like to hear of oddball stuff like this, it helps a ton when finding this stuff in the future.
What I thought of partway through looking at this was a story a friend of mine told me about being shocked from the brick on the front of a house.

Turns out a wire had been hit by one of the brick bracing nails. Thinking of this made me realize I would have to get on the roof and measure this for myself.

These oddball stories are the things that, as well as being somewhat entertaining, can help someone else when they run into a strange one down the road.
 

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What I thought of partway through looking at this was a story a friend of mine told me about being shocked from the brick on the front of a house.

Turns out a wire had been hit by one of the brick bracing nails. Thinking of this made me realize I would have to get on the roof and measure this for myself.

These oddball stories are the things that, as well as being somewhat entertaining, can help someone else when they run into a strange one down the road.

Finding and repairing the actual problem is also what seperates the men from the boys. Good story and I'm sure all hearing it would say good solution.
 

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What I thought of partway through looking at this was a story a friend of mine told me about being shocked from the brick on the front of a house.

Turns out a wire had been hit by one of the brick bracing nails. Thinking of this made me realize I would have to get on the roof and measure this for myself.

These oddball stories are the things that, as well as being somewhat entertaining, can help someone else when they run into a strange one down the road.
My first service call ever. I was 18, been in the trade a year and a GC my (very small) company did a lot of work for called and said every time his wife touched the outside water spigot, she was shocked. My boss handled all the service work, but he was out of town so I went instead.

As it turns out, there had been a lightning storm the day before and the house was struck. The intercom system was literately blown out of the wall in several places. I drove a small ground rod and checked from the outside water spigot to ground...60 VAC. Inside waterlines to ground, somewhat less. I crawled under the house and was shocked by an anchor bolt coming out of a footing.

I shut off all the mains, and the meter still spun like a pinwheel in a windstorm. :blink: I looked for shorted wires, etc. Nothing. After about 3 hours of frustrated head scratching, :censored: I happened to open a 30 A disconnect that fed the water well. Viola! Turns out lightning had hit the well (a big groung rod) and the inside of the box was a glob of melted copper.
The disco handle linkage had been melted, and the knife blades were melted together as well. Molten copper had bypassed one leg's fuse effectively providing a permanent conductor. So the disco looked like it was turned off, but voltage was heading right through the disco on one leg.

The water well company came out, dug up the line and found where the wire to the well was blown in half and touching the metal water line. New cable, some new pipe, and all was well. Talk about a baptism by fire! I learned to never take anything for granted. Just because it looks like its off, doesn't mean it is. :thumbsup:
 

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I find discos on RTU equipment have issues either disengaging or engaging very often. I always open them to see knife position. I have been wrong by looking at handle position way too often. I have tried to narrow failure down to a couple specific brands but haven't been able to. I think the proximity to the ocean air is the biggest factor. I like the ones with the pressure cups that hold the blades together that the clips corrode right off the bar that they are supposed to be attached too.
 
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