You are here:

Electrical Wiring in the Home/Stray voltage to ground in lighting circuit



My house is 47 yrs old with copper wiring. There is a circuit in the basement with a light over the wash sink. This morning the black side melted the wire nut and burned the insulation. I cut back to flexible wires (3) and reconnected. I turned on the power and all worked as before. There are multiple lights and a few outlets on this 20 amp circuit. As I was finishing up I happened to touch the box and an adjacent water pipe at the same time and got a pretty good tingle. It measures 70 volts and throws a weak spark when shorted with a screw driver but not enough to pop the breaker. I don't have an ammeter.

The loads on this circuit include two computers with UPS's, several fluorescent ceiling lights on a three way circuit and a few wall outlets with things like desk lamps plugged in.

What are your thoughts?



I see you sent this 6 days ago but I just received notification that there was a question.

A few things come to mind: That circuit may not be properly grounded and or something on that circuit or another circuit may be illegally utilizing the ground return of that circuit as a "neutral". Or the voltage may be coming from the water pipe.

I recomend you get a qualified professional there to determine where this rouge voltage is coming from. The sooner the better.

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 All rights reserved.