Electrical Wiring in the Home/stray voltage through a wire nut
Expert: Robert Tomasulo - 3/14/2015
Question I'm in the process of doing some re-wiring in our local Museum (I'm the President of the Museum). I have done some electrical wiring in the past as a hobby, and I certainly do not know everything. This evening I was removing an old 12-2 cable from a junction box that was installed in the late 1980's. I felt a _very_ slight tingle as I rubbed a finger on the wire nut that covered the hot wires. I was standing on a metal step ladder that was on an old cement floor in the basement about 10 feet from the panel box. Is it possible the wire nut is bad? I've never encountered a bad wire nut before. The junction box is a brown plastic box, probably Bakelite. Could it be the former electrician used a plastic junction box because he also felt stray voltage when he installed the junction box and cable in the late 1980's? There are two other 12-2 cables in the box. I plan on installing a new metal junction box.
Answer Hello David?
My name is Robert and ill be helping you today and in response to your question
Im pretty sure that the box you speak of is not bakelite now on the other handnif you told me the 1940's i would most likely say yes it is that being said its probably just a NM (Non Metallic) plastic box commonly used in romex applications now is there romex in the box if so than thats what it is, As far as the shock your feeling check and see if you see ANY nicks the cable whatsoever than take a good look at the insulation,there's a GOOD possibility that the insulation is starting to break down and putting in a metal box would take that stray voltage and bring it to ground and not to you :) next take an electrical meter set it to Volts(AC) and put 1 lead to the armor of the cable and the other to a known ground YOU SHOULD GET ZERO VOLTS if you do we have a problem and need to further troubleshoot and the first step would be putting in a metal box however we would still jeed to track down the source of that stray voltage also did you try changing the wire nut? If not Definitely try that first it could be cracked.Let me know if you need any further help.In the mean time please fill out the survey if you feel i was helpful thank you. :) Robert
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