Electrical Wiring in the Home/Lamp with electrical leak?


QUESTION: I have a floor lamp with a metallic body that dates from the 1950s.  When the light is switched on, if I make contact with the metal on the lamp my hand gets a slight vibrating sensation.  I was wondering if this condition presents any special risk in terms of future shock or fire hazard.  If so, is it possible to repair the wiring in the lamp, or is it more feasible to just replace it?
Thank you for any information regarding this issue.


The slight vibration you feel is the presence of voltage and current on the metal frame of the lamp. So yes this is not a safe conditon and it needs to rectified before you continue to use it. The lamp could certainly be repaired if it is worth doing that but you have to be the judge of that.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I realize you can't specifically diagnose the problem without an inspection, but is there some general common cause for this leakage, like insulation deterioration, etc.?


That is generally the cause, "insulation break down" when it becomes hard and brittle over the years then starts to crack open exposing the wire. If you do have it rewired it should be done with 3 wire cable and a 3 wire plug because it is metal.

About Electrical Wiring in the Home
This site answers questions related to home electrical wiring, home wiring, general electrical help,and other electrical questions related to aleternating current (AC). You can find help on the National Electical Code, home electrical issues, wiring electrical outlets, installing lighting, electrical grounding, and general electrical help for do-it-yourself projects not require an electrician. If you do not see your home electrical wiring question answered in this area then please ask your electrical wiring question here

Electrical Wiring in the Home

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




Licensed Master Electrician (32 years) 6165B Contractor in Closter New Jersey with 40 years total experience in Residential - Commercial - Industrial work. Emergency Service - General trouble shooting and repair work - ONAN & GENERAC generator installation - Paddle fans - Kitchen & Bath exhaust fans - AC lines - Smoke detectors - Telephone lines - Cable TV lines - Computer network cabling - Exterior lighting - Recessed lighting - Security lighting - (200 - 150 - 100 amp service up grades) - Electric Heat - New circuits - New appliance hook ups - and more ! FREE ESTIMATES 201-358-1552 Fully Insured


Licensed contractor in Closter New Jersey.

"The Frank Williams School of Electrical Construction". My dear old boss is 100 ! and still going God Bless him. I started working for "Tenafly Electric" right out of high school at 19. He was tough but I learned more working for him in 8 and half years than most guys. We did mostly industrial work while doing some commercial and residential so I was fortunate to be exposed to all 3 areas of electrical construction. The guys I worked with were all good guys and I stay in touch with some of them still. Most of us went into our own buisness's which says something about the caliber of the guys I worked with. We had some interesting clients : Wella Corp. of shampoo fame, Farah Fawcett etc, I didn't buy shampoo for 10 years. It was a great place to work. Pan Am the former airline just before they went under, another great place to work, nice clean environment. C&C Metals, the largest button manufacturer in the US at that time, a not so clean environment but a very interesting place to work, lots of machine's cranking out buttons of all kinds but you had to be on your toes, it was a potentially dangerous place to be . All kinds of action going on around you.

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]