Good morning, I purchased a home last month and have been in the process of updating/renovating. My first night in the home was Saturday night. I went to take a shower, turned the water on and got in. I went to adjust the showerhead and felt a slight "shock" I thought I was going crazy, so I of course being the genius I am grabbed the shower head and yep, sure enough it had an electrical current going thru it. After going thru the process of elimination I found the circuit that was causing the issue, however its a circuit feeding the other end of the home.

What could cause this? Its a single story home, the plumbing should be coming from ground up and the wiring should be going up thru the attic to feed the house. The bathroom is probably about 5 feet from the breaker box (thru a wall) both bathrooms and the laundry room are clustered in one area and the breaker box is in the laundry room.

I had someone suggest its a grounding issue. I'm thinking its more of an exposed wire issue. The current didn't feel like it was 110 (I've taken that hit a few times) it was slightly more intense than a static shock. I left the breaker off overnight as I didn't need it to be on (its the breaker that feeds the den lights and receps). I turned it on midday on Sunday and went back and checked and there was no current at that time. I even went thru the motions of taking my shoes and socks off and turning the water on to try and duplicate the original circumstances.

As far as wiring goes, I haven't messed with anything in the house other than change out a couple receps and eliminate some piggy backed track lights in the kitchen.

  • Is there any nonmetallic plumbing in the home? Is the plumbing grounded near where it enters the building? Is there a bonding jumper between the hot and cold plumbing at the water heater? Are you handy/comfortable enough to open up the receptacles and lights on the offending circuit, and have a look at the wiring (with the power off of course)? Where there any different things plugged in/turned on between the time you felt the shock, and the time you did not?
    – Tester101
    Feb 27, 2017 at 14:24
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    Is this shower head a hot water generator type? It sounds like the plumbing is not bonded to the system grounding electrode and may be picking up some induced currents if not a powered model.
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 27, 2017 at 14:25
  • Its not the electric heating showerhead deal. Just a play old fashioned type. Feb 27, 2017 at 15:14
  • The reason I reason I turned the breaker back on is the cable/internet was being setup and installed in the den and needed power to those boxes to make sure they worked. So there are things now plugged in on that circuit. Saturday evening when it happened, there was nothing plugged in/turned on- on that circuit but there was on Sunday when I checked it. After thinking that thru it seems it would be more of a grounding issue? I will check the plumbing out when I get home to see if its PVC or metal. The house was built in 86 so I guess it could be a toss up? Feb 27, 2017 at 15:22
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    You need to trace all the circuits controlled with that breaker until you find the one that's either improperly grounded, has neutral tied to ground, or some other disaster. Fix the problem at the source rather than attempting a kludge with the plumbing system. Feb 27, 2017 at 17:08

1 Answer 1


This is how some of our troops got killed overseas. Simply taking a shower delivered lethal doses of electricity.

The problem is grounding. It is certainly possible that the ground in the breaker box has become separated from a real earth ground.

So first, the breaker box ground needs to be fixed at the very least.
Even if it requires driving in a new ground rod and new wiring. Then make sure all ground connections are tight.

Highly recommend a qualified electrician to look at this one.


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