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Good with residential electrical ? - help/answers needed /appreciated....

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  • Good with residential electrical ? - help/answers needed /appreciated....

    Hi gents ! (& ladies)

    I'm looking to do some basic electrical work around the house and my shop garage - being changing switches, and outlets - pretty simple stuff that I've done before. I do have one issue though - I bought this house a year ago (in Ontario) and there's something I'm not sure about :

    - I turn of the single circuit breaker to the line I need to (not the main breaker for the whole house) , which should be okay, and the lights all go off on this line as you'd expect, but when I use a Klein tester I still get a faint charge registering. In the green NCVT 2 mode - 40V or higher, it registers nothing is ok, but in the blue NCVT 1 mode - which is far more sensitive and registers everything from 12 to 40V ,it keep bleeping red here and there. Its odd because its not the solid red flashing you get when the wires are running strong current, its the odd beep, and only in blue mode. From what I can see this means there is a faint current but not enough to be dangerous to touch ?? My friend who worked here and there with electrical in his house said it was fine and only a concern when it illuminates in green NCVT 2 mode - not in blue - but I'm naturally concerned and eering on caution.

    - Also, when I turn off the main breaker to the house, then everthing is perfect and the circuit goes completely dead with no readings from the Klein tester in any mode. This is obviously a pain as nobody in the house can do anything involving power and I shouldn't have to do this - I should be able to just turn the breaker to that individual line off and that whole line be completely dead in my mind.

    What do you guys think? Is the low / faint reading I'm getting from the tester in NCVT 1 mode normal ? Why am I getting a faint reading from an individual line in this situation?

    Also FYI - I find this is the case on all lines in the house, not just this particular line.


    Please help or let me know - all advice appreciated ! Thank you!
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  • #2

    Re: Good with residential electrical ? - help/answers needed /appreciated....

    I wonder if you are getting an induced voltage in the line you are testing from an adjacent live circuit. Try shutting off a couple of nearby circuits and see if anything changes. Can't comment on whether what you are seeing is dangerous.

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    • #3

      Re: Good with residential electrical ? - help/answers needed /appreciated....

      Sounds like induced voltage, check to see if the wire runs along side another wire that has a heavy current load ie A/C, oven, hot tub, electric water heater.
      Last edited by Glen Black; 07-20-2018, 09:48 PM.

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      • #4

        Re: Good with residential electrical ? - help/answers needed /appreciated....

        Cheers Glen....is induced voltage an issue in terms of it being dangerous to touch though or is it that voltage low that you'd barely feel it ?
        Egon likes this.

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        • #5

          Re: Good with residential electrical ? - help/answers needed /appreciated....

          Remove the face of the breaker panel and snap out the breaker that feeds affected circuit. It should kill the line.
          BTW... 20 milliamperes is enough to kill you under the right conditions, but typically 50 volts or more.
          Last edited by Mike in Waubaushene; 07-21-2018, 06:55 AM.

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          • #6

            Re: Good with residential electrical ? - help/answers needed /appreciated....

            ...being cautious with electricity is always a good thing. In line with comments above, have you measured the actual voltage with a multimetre? I use my Klein as first level detection and then the multimetre for « precision ». By the way, you may still get non-zero readings, but they will be quantified.

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            • Thread Continues Below...

            • #7

              Re: Good with residential electrical ? - help/answers needed /appreciated....

              Thanks gents ! Points heeded.

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              • #8

                Re: Good with residential electrical ? - help/answers needed /appreciated....

                Originally posted by Jacques Gagnon View Post
                ...being cautious with electricity is always a good thing. In line with comments above, have you measured the actual voltage with a multimetre? I use my Klein as first level detection and then the multimetre for « precision ». By the way, you may still get non-zero readings, but they will be quantified.
                The above is the correct way to test.

                Measuring using a meter is dangerous as you're extending the circuit out into your personal space. The correct method is to use a non contact voltage detector as the first test, if it indicates that the circuit is dead, then measure it with a meter.

                In both cases you use the 3 step method;

                1) test the instrument on a known live circuit

                2) test the circuit you're going to work on

                3) test the instrument again with a known live circuit.

                If the instrument worked before and after you measured your circuit, it probably worked while you were using it. Don't bet your life on anything else............Rod.
                Work is the curse of the riding class.

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                • #9

                  Re: Good with residential electrical ? - help/answers needed /appreciated....

                  my current house was built during the big housing boom where they were sort of people to build so I am going to assume they pulled people off the street with little knowlege of code and handed them a pair of wirecutters and a hard hat and set them to work.

                  I went through my whole house and replaced all the switches and recepticals, not just to give me a better looking finish, but to correct the mistakes that were made. We had more than one where they had the black wire from two different breakers connected together. We had lights switched off the white and one bathroom where they strung the light off another bathrooms GFI protected line, but the sink outlet had no GFI protection. Just because the house was built, does not mean it was ever inspected or even remotely built to code. You have to check every circuit you plan to work on twice as you really don't know.
                  Matt

                  People are like a box of chocolates. It's hard to tell initially which ones are nuts.

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                  • #10

                    Re: Good with residential electrical ? - help/answers needed /appreciated....

                    I have something similar in my house. On some circuits the non-contact Klein tester beeps as if it detects low voltage. But it also beeps like that when I move around and make static electricity with my clothes and such.

                    Unless you've got something really seriously weird about your wiring - there's nothing to worry about. I've touched those wires a hundred times and didn't feel a thing.
                    Andrew Smith

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