Author Topic: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?  (Read 3589 times)

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Offline jmelson

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2018, 09:46:38 pm »
Live/neutral could be wired in reverse.
Since he said it was a (relatively) new house in the US, all outlets should be 3-prong.  You can get an "outlet tester" at the hardware store for about $10.  It will detect incorrect hot-neutral wiring.  Just plug into each outlet and observe the lights.  Everybody ought to have one of these, given the number of expensive electronic stuff we all have, now.

open neutral is serious stuff, and can burn out all the appliances in your house.  This is where the neutral wire from the utility service becomes disconnected.  Appliances that are supposed to get 120 V get anywhere from zero to 240 V, depending on other loads in the house.

Jon
 

Offline Addicted2AnalogTek

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2018, 10:25:44 pm »
Is your new house outside of city limits? Maybe in a "DRB" development?  (DRB = acronym for one of, if not the WORST-and largest- developers in the US)

If you're outside of city limits, more than likely the developer wasn't required to adhere to CODE and never had any inspections done during the building process.  ALL of DRB's developments in my area are strictly outside of city limits for this sole reason. They are then legally allowed to cut corners in every aspect of building. The most horrifying things I've seen in these houses were with the electrical systems. Literally NOTHING was done according to CODE, and most of the time they wouldn't even use OX-Guard on the aluminum electrical connections. Other examples include running lines diagonally through floor joists, failing to use nail plates (so no one accidentally screws/nails through a wire or water line), using dry-location boxes on the exterior, failing to use GFCI in 'wet rooms', etc.....


 I used to install HVAC systems in their houses, so I had the opportunity to see just how awful their homes really are.  I've also finished a few of their basements after the homes were purchased, and absolutely NOTHING is level, plumb, or square. Those issues aren't safety hazards, but goes to show just how little they care about their products and their customers. It baffles me that they've not had any class-action lawsuits filed against them.. yet.
 

Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2018, 05:06:22 am »
Definitely sounds like some bad grounding/bonding issue.   Here's a few tests you can do with a volt meter:

Probe between the neutral and ground of an outlet.  Neutral is the left side, and is a bit longer.    You should get 0. 

Probe between the hot and ground of an outlet . Hot is the other blade.  You should get 120v.

Now find an outlet that is relatively close to a water line or a known earth ground.  Even a gas line will do.  Probe between the outlet ground and that pipe.  You should get 0.

It may also be an open neutral as suggested, do you notice some lights are brighter than others or some things act weird depending on if you turn on/off other things?  With a floating neutral what happens is half your house will be in series with the other half.  (well not exactly half it really depends on how stuff is wired).  This can be a dangerous situation as it can cause near 240v to go to certain items.

This reminds me actually, I need to redo my main ground.  Got my water valve changed and the plumber used pex so it broke the ground connection.  Need to run a longer cable and reattach it where it's still copper.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2018, 06:56:31 am »
Ok, so that rules out a failure in your neutral - ground bond. also that your likely in the US based on the voltage. (you never actually said your region)

Next up would you be able to measure between say a metal tap and the ground of an outlet, this is to rule out that its not a break at a ground stake (if they are used there)

And finally, Is your laptop charger grounded or ungrounded? If grounded, with a break in a ground rod, I could forsee the AC coupling caps charging up the laptop chassis to 60VAC, (very low current, but enough to be felt as a zap)

Its very unlikely to be high frequency, So your multimeter should be just fine for the task.

This is something which can occur if the "chassis" of your device is not connected to ground, but there is a symmetrical low pass filter network connected at the Mains input.

These usually have inductors in series on both sides of the Mains & capacitors connected between both sides & chassis.
In this case, they form a capacitive voltage divider, & the chassis takes up a voltage of half the Active line voltage,w.r.t Neutral, & hence, Earth.

This happens fairly frequently when equipment which was designed to operate on the US "split phase" system ( 120v between either " hot" & Neutral, 240v between "hots") is used on the Australian style 230v (nominal) Active to Neutral system.

In the USA, the chassis is at "virtual" Earth, so there is no ( or very little) potential between chassis & Earth.
In Oz, the chassis will be at 115v( nominal,often a bit more) w.r.t Earth.
The capacitor impedance at Mains frequencies is high enough that you can't get a dangerous shock, but you can definitely feel it.

It would seem unusual for a 120v device to have such a symmetrical filter, but the "60v to Earth" result points that way, rather than just a single cap from "hot" to chassis.
 

Offline Beamin

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #29 on: March 09, 2018, 08:13:31 pm »
how you can make PVC safe when the dangerous part is the C in PVC is beyond me.
Oy vey, that’s not how chemistry works. You do know that table salt (the stuff you need to live) is sodium chloride, right?

The thing to remember about reactive elements is that the more reactive they are, the less reactive compounds made from them are, because the reactivity is from the strong bonds it wants to form, and those strong bonds don’t want to release once made.

Aluminum metal objects resist ordinary corrosion because aluminum is so reactive, it instantly oxidizes, and as it happens, aluminum oxide is very non-reactive. Fluorine is spectacularly reactive, which is why fluorinated compounds are so extraordinarily non-reactive (Teflon, Fluorinert, etc etc etc).

Back to PVC. The chlorine in PVC is released only when PVC is broken down, most commonly through incineration. Flexible PVC (“vinyl”) objects have an entirely unrelated health issue, the phthalate plasticizers, but that’s not relevant to rigid PVC pipe since they don’t use plasticizers.

Yes biochem is incredibly complex with interaction of compounds on proteins. Hemoglobin has one Fe atom and an atomic weight of around 50,000 so saying Fe reacts with O2 is way over simplified. Dioxin is actually not that dangerous but its analogs like used in industry are incredibly dangerous. The difference in dangerous terrible meth and your kids helpful friendly Adderall molecule is just a CH3 instead of H. When you add DNA into the mix it becomes very hard. The plastic industry has a terrible track record of changing laws to make things "safe". Leaded gas wasn't completely phased out until the 1990's in NY and it was poisoning EVERY American.



So that feeling of electricity went away? As I don't control this house I have no idea what changed but it must have been a bad SMPS power supply? Is that the consensus of the thread? One person moved out but I can't say for sure when I felt this change as my lap top was down for a while. I'm running my arms around it now which are completely smooth which would normally shock me.
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Offline Rerouter

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #30 on: March 09, 2018, 09:42:49 pm »
Did it rain recently?

If your ground is intact other noisy SMPS's in the house should have had there noise shunted, however if your grounding isnt quite perfect it may have made the problem more apparent by shunting more current.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #31 on: March 09, 2018, 10:49:49 pm »
And for the final one, a normal extension lead is at best able to withstand 1000V, with most high pressure sodium lamps running on the order of 2500V, I can understand it arcing.

Most high pressure sodium lamps have an operating voltage of around 100V, with the current limited by the ballast. In 120V countries there are 55V versions of the 100W and smaller HPS lamps for use on 120V circuits with simple choke ballasts. The large 1kW HPS lamps are a bit unique, operating at 250V due to the long arc tube. Perhaps you are thinking of the HV ignition pulse required to get the lamps started? Due to the constraints resulting from the extremely reactive nature of molten sodium metal, HPS lamps lack the starting probes used in mercury and earlier metal halide lamps so they have always required an electronic igniter to get them going.
 

Online Rick Law

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #32 on: March 10, 2018, 02:23:38 am »
So I moved into a new house built in the US in the 2000's. My lap top which has a metal case around the keyboard my iPhone and my ecig all things that have metal "feel" like they have electricity in them when you run your hand down them.
...
...

Another possibility - this may be a shot in the dark...  Did you moved from a more humid place to the USA?  It may be that you are still very sensitive to static electricity.  Year 2000 (when you build your house) is a long time ago, but if you did not grow up with it, it is a possibility.

I had a visitor from Hong Kong and he was shocked to be shocked.  That was one thing he had never experienced in his life before.  He actually called the hotel front desk multiple times to "fix the door knob" - this predates the electronic door knobs.  That door knob was just a plan old key-lock door knob on a wood door.  He was not alone.  With some of my "growing up humid" friends, a few just retained their sensitivity decades later.

May be you are still very sensitive to the static?  Does it happen the second time (post static discharge) you put the laptop on your lap?
 

Offline Beamin

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #33 on: March 10, 2018, 07:37:06 am »
Tis was a 250W HPS and the one that arced was a 1000W HPS and when it would start the cord would keep arcing to the housing with the light flashing alternately between the sparks. Once the light ran warmed up for a minute the arcing stopped. It had a huge metal cap (2"X6"X6") next to the huge transformer.

So I moved into a new house built in the US in the 2000's. My lap top which has a metal case around the keyboard my iPhone and my ecig all things that have metal "feel" like they have electricity in them when you run your hand down them.
...
...

Another possibility - this may be a shot in the dark...  Did you moved from a more humid place to the USA?  It may be that you are still very sensitive to static electricity.  Year 2000 (when you build your house) is a long time ago, but if you did not grow up with it, it is a possibility.

I had a visitor from Hong Kong and he was shocked to be shocked.  That was one thing he had never experienced in his life before.  He actually called the hotel front desk multiple times to "fix the door knob" - this predates the electronic door knobs.  That door knob was just a plan old key-lock door knob on a wood door.  He was not alone.  With some of my "growing up humid" friends, a few just retained their sensitivity decades later.

May be you are still very sensitive to the static?  Does it happen the second time (post static discharge) you put the laptop on your lap?

No its not static. Feels like a plasma lamp glass with dry hands but much stronger. Its been around freezing here and hasn't really rained much. Electricity feeling is constant. Like high pitched buzzing.
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Online richnormand

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2018, 08:24:53 pm »
"it feels just like when you run your finger down a plasma globe and your finger kind of sticks I guess. But realized everything plugged in does it."

Going to buy stuff today reminded me of your posting! 8)
It was not mentioned in the thread but are you close to powerlines at all?

The parking lot is located just under a high voltage transmission line. Over the years I noticed that if I pass my hand gently across the car I get that 60Hz tingling sticky/prickly sensation. Particularly using the back hand or wrist. If someone else is touch the car it goes away (they ground it).

I then brought a live line detector (shown in pic). It is meant to detect live circuits but, in essence, is an E field detector. Pointing it upward under to power-line sets it off strong.

So I would suggest to get a that gismo with LEDs to check the electrical system in your house for the hot-neutral-ground issues and check all the receptacles in your house first with it.
Then get the E field detector and use it on the suspect equipment. Both are about $10-15.

Finally remember that many older, cheaper, "double-insulated", whatever devices that only use a two prong connector are suspect.
Some older HiFi, radios, TV with two prongs (some had a wider spade to polarize assuming the socket was wired properly)  have a small cap on the "neutral" side of the line and the metal chassis will have a small leakage.
Rotating the two-pronged connector will solve the problem. In older HiFi setups getting them all right and grounding the lot to a copper pipe used to work to eliminate hum and ground loops.

The point is testing each was easy by passing your hand gently on the metal front panel (or the tip of your nose) just as you mentioned.
Some people were very sensitive to the feeling and others completely oblivious.

Finally invest in a good high impedance DMM to really trace the issue.

Hope that helps.

« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 08:56:06 pm by richnormand »
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Offline Beamin

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #35 on: March 19, 2018, 08:48:01 am »
"it feels just like when you run your finger down a plasma globe and your finger kind of sticks I guess. But realized everything plugged in does it."

Going to buy stuff today reminded me of your posting! 8)
It was not mentioned in the thread but are you close to powerlines at all?

The parking lot is located just under a high voltage transmission line. Over the years I noticed that if I pass my hand gently across the car I get that 60Hz tingling sticky/prickly sensation. Particularly using the back hand or wrist. If someone else is touch the car it goes away (they ground it).

I then brought a live line detector (shown in pic). It is meant to detect live circuits but, in essence, is an E field detector. Pointing it upward under to power-line sets it off strong.

So I would suggest to get a that gismo with LEDs to check the electrical system in your house for the hot-neutral-ground issues and check all the receptacles in your house first with it.
Then get the E field detector and use it on the suspect equipment. Both are about $10-15.

Finally remember that many older, cheaper, "double-insulated", whatever devices that only use a two prong connector are suspect.
Some older HiFi, radios, TV with two prongs (some had a wider spade to polarize assuming the socket was wired properly)  have a small cap on the "neutral" side of the line and the metal chassis will have a small leakage.
Rotating the two-pronged connector will solve the problem. In older HiFi setups getting them all right and grounding the lot to a copper pipe used to work to eliminate hum and ground loops.

The point is testing each was easy by passing your hand gently on the metal front panel (or the tip of your nose) just as you mentioned.
Some people were very sensitive to the feeling and others completely oblivious.

Finally invest in a good high impedance DMM to really trace the issue.

Hope that helps.

I know what you mean about power lines. I used to hit golf balls under some big transmission lines and you would get a painful shock when you would touch the metal ball buckets.

So this house is not around power lines and has under ground wiring on the street and most areas of this town. The owner is a complete idiot and I just rent part of the house so other then my own personal safety or fire I don't have much control. I seriously think the owner has some sort of brain problem because nobody is this stupid so it's pointless to ask him questions.

I have watched a bunch of videos on this and gave me more questions. Only variable I can rule out is when he moved his stuff to another bedroom it seemed to go away.

If the power brick to the lap top has a ground on the plug how far does that go? Is it tied to the neutral side of the transformer in the supply? Or is the ground just to dump RF noise? I can't see the path from the metal case to the body the body as being least esistance unless it is high frequency or high voltage/high frequency, low current.
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Offline Beamin

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #36 on: March 21, 2018, 08:40:50 pm »
OK so the electricity is back!!!!!

I have plugged in a 250W watt power conditioner box that is just a huge torroid.

Multimeter values soon to come and it has started raining so I don't know if that plays a factor.



And because someone asked what my legs looked like here is a teaser pic. I spend a lot of time making them look nice and can't have them getting zapped! You can also see my electronics spread around the back ground.
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Offline SG-1

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #37 on: March 24, 2018, 02:53:35 am »
The zero voltage between the neutral & earth is problematic.  Unless everything is turned off there should be some voltage there.  Somewhere between .5 & 2 volts. The heaver the loading the more voltage difference.  Zero volts may indicate the neutral & ground have been re-bonded after the service entrance.

Take a load like a heater or hair dryer, plug it into the outlet, turn it on & re-measure the neutral to earth connection (between the long slot & the U-shaped slot) in the same outlet or one you are sure is on the same branch circuit. You may need to lower the meter range.

I normally wear some 9mil nitrile gloves when measuring.  Any non-conductive gloves are better than none, including cotton.  A cheep meter's leads may allow your fingers to slip down the probe.
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Online Elasia

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #38 on: March 24, 2018, 03:32:26 am »
If you foot the power bill or maybe even if you don't you could complain to your utility and they will usually send a truck by just to have a look and make sure there is nothing dangerous.  Usually this is a free service since its usually part of their normal random inspection plan for people stealing power etc or just flat out doing really stupid shit like by passing main breakers etc.  That and they really do want people to be safe and not end up dead.
 
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Offline Beamin

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #39 on: March 24, 2018, 11:02:36 pm »
The zero voltage between the neutral & earth is problematic.  Unless everything is turned off there should be some voltage there.  Somewhere between .5 & 2 volts. The heaver the loading the more voltage difference.  Zero volts may indicate the neutral & ground have been re-bonded after the service entrance.

Take a load like a heater or hair dryer, plug it into the outlet, turn it on & re-measure the neutral to earth connection (between the long slot & the U-shaped slot) in the same outlet or one you are sure is on the same branch circuit. You may need to lower the meter range.

I normally wear some 9mil nitrile gloves when measuring.  Any non-conductive gloves are better than none, including cotton.  A cheep meter's leads may allow your fingers to slip down the probe.


Where does this voltage come from? capacitive coupling?
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Offline SG-1

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Re: Why do things in my house "feel" like they have electricity in them?
« Reply #40 on: March 25, 2018, 07:04:26 pm »
On a 120VAC circuit the ungrounded conductor (HOT) & the grounded conductor (usually called a NEUTRAL) form the circuit that delivers energy to the load.  Since copper/aluminum conductors are not perfect they have some resistance.  A small voltage drops across that resistance.

Lets say you are measuring a properly wired outlet with an attached load:

The HOT to Neutral measurement is the voltage applied to the load.

The HOT to Ground (earth) measurement is the available (or original) voltage at the panel. This is because the Equipment Grounding Conductor (green wire) does not carry any current under normal conditions. No current no volt drop.

The Neutral to Ground (earth) measurement is the volt drop caused by the load.

The difference between the HOT to Neutral measurement & the Hot to Ground measurement it is equal to the Neutral to Ground measurement.  Funny how things add up sometimes.
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