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There is something wrong with the electrical wiring in my house.

A few LED lamps stay on (but dim, with the intensity depending on the location of the lamp) even when off.

In addition, I sometimes get shocked by my laptop case. The shocks seem to start every day at 7 PM. When my laptop case starts "leaking" electricity (that's how I interpret the shocks), the LEDs seem to be completely off. There is no equipment that I can think of in the house that would automatically turn on or off at 7 PM.

There's also a CFL that sometimes flashes with the switch off, if all this wasn't weird enough.

Can anyone explain what's going on and help fix it?

The ground rod was changed recently, I had the grounding tested and it works fine (though I'll admit I only tested one socket, so it's possible that the socket the laptop is usually connected to is not grounded properly).

Edit

I borrowed a socket tester earlier today and I found some interesting things. The socket I plug my laptop in has >20V between the ground and live. To get rid of that voltage and back to around 2/3V, I have to turn off the socket's breaker and that room's lights, which are on a different breaker! Turning just one off I still get the voltage (my tester can't be more precise when over 20V). Also the tester can't get the RCD to break on that socket. It works with other circuits in the house.

In the rest of the house I've measured between 2V and 4V between ground and live in most sockets, one had 10V. These measurements were made with all breakers switched on.

The grid provides 230V at 50hz if it matters.

Edit 2

An electrician will try to fix the issue with the two circuits being mixed up today.

However I've made a discovery. I used a tool that trips RCDs and measures the reaction time. During the day, it works fine around the house (except the above mentioned circuits, but that's a different matter). After 7 pm and until the morning, I cannot trip any RCD in the house with this tool. It's like there's no grounding at all, but only at night!

  • Do you have a lighted switch? Or a smart switch that requires a neutral? – Ed Beal Nov 28 '18 at 14:56
  • Are you in the Philippines? When did these troubles begin, what changed around that time? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Nov 28 '18 at 16:42
  • Not in the Philippines. The LED thing is new since something was rewired in that room but the laptop issue started before that. I'm way more concerned about that problem than the LEDs right now. – jd. Nov 28 '18 at 17:50
  • @EdBeal no smart switch that I'm aware of and no lighted switch. There are some power strips with those lighted switches in other rooms though, do you think that could have something to do with the LED issue? I read in another thread that can be the case, but I'd expect it has to be connected to the lamps. – jd. Nov 28 '18 at 17:52
  • The lighted switch would have to be on the same circuit to cause the problem. I just re read the post >20 volts neutral to ground is huge. I am wondering if the neutral for this lighting / outlet was incorrectly tapped from another circuit (where there were multiple circuits comming into a box 1 hot was used with the wrong neutral) this could be the root of both problems. To find if this is the case start turning off 1 breaker at a time and checking your neutral to ground voltage. If it disappears with 1 breaker turned off that is probably the cause. Finding where that tap was made next. – Ed Beal Nov 28 '18 at 18:18
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The tingling is lethal. What saved you was high resistance on the rest of the circuit back to source. This needs to be fixed ASAP.

It might be a leaking, faulty appliance. Plug the appliance into a RCD protected outlet and next time it shocks you, it will instantly trip. Into the trash the appliance goes. If it's a PC, the problem is the power supply or power brick.

I wouldn't worry about the external RCD tester not tripping, that is the normal/correct behavior if the circuit does not have a wired ground. An RCD protected circuit doesn't really need a ground to protect you, just equipment.

Give your grounding system a very thorough once-over

It seems like you are doing everything right and still getting shocks, so the first place I go in that case is the grounding system. It has 3 parts:

  • the grounding electrode system from the panel to the actual earth. This consists of a fairly hefty ground wire from the panel's ground bar/bus/case to ground rods, Ufer or water pipe connection into the soil. We Americans are fond of two ground rods.

  • The neutral-ground bond, which connects the ground bus inside the panel to the neutral bus also inside the panel. In America this is often done whimsically, by just landing all the neutrals and grounds on the same busbar. But whatever. It's more useful to have a distinct neutral-ground bond that you can put a clamp meter around.

  • the equipment safety grounds, which are the "third" ground wires from the panel's ground bus to all your sockets and equipment.

Search all of those, most especially the first two.

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I think you need to contact a qualified electrician, someone other than the person or persons who installed the grounding rod and tested one socket.

LED lamps glowing dimly is often just a sign of using something like an old dimmer that is not LED compatible.

Getting electric shocks at 7pm is a sign that your heating is on a timer that starts it up at 7pm and maybe has a wiring fault.

Getting any kind of shock from the outside of a laptop plugged into a mains socket is a sure sign of some sort of fault. Maybe a cheap or faulty charger that doesn't isolate the DC side properly.

All together it seems serious enough tp call in an expert. In the UK you could maybe ask an electrician to test all the fixed wiring and provide an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) - there may be something equivalent in your part of the world.

  • Unfortunately finding a qualified electrician is no easy task around here, but I may have to try in the end. Also there are no heating devices, I'm in a tropical country. I can't think of a single electrical appliance with a timer in the house, but something could be happening with the electrical supply from the grid. Regarding the LEDs, there's no dimmer AFAICT, but I can explore more. – jd. Nov 28 '18 at 12:50
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Let's start with some basic electrical instruction. If you are experiencing tingling, that means that your body has become part of an electrical system and electricity is traveling through your body and into the ground trying to complete a circuit back to your source. This is called a shock hazard and even though it is only tingling right now, under certain conditions it could cause and injury or even become deadly.

In electrical circuitry you have parallel circuits and series circuits. If you want to keep the voltage constant you wire in parallel. If you want to keep the amperage constant you wire in series. Residential wiring is wired in parallel.

Because of the dimming of the circuits, the 7:00PM phenomena, and the fact that your grounding was recently altered. I would say that right now there is some piece of equipment or appliance that comes on and it lacks a return conductor. Thus feeding back on another conductor and creating a series circuit in your system (this causes the voltage to fluctuate thus the dimming). One thing that is certain is that your laptop at this time does not have a ground or return except through your body.

I would recommend first located the defective piece of equipment or appliance, and revisit your grounding as I believe that is where your problem lies. Only testing one socket won't do it. Someone with experience should assist you in your trouble shooting and should have the proper test equipment (not just a socket tester or non-contact voltage detector).

By the way did you notice where I said it could cause a serious injury or worse? This is a safety issue. You need to resolve this problem immediately.

Hope this helps and good luck.

  • Thank you for your reply and for the safety warning. Just to clarify, there is no dimming or fluctuation in lighting intensity. Three LEDs glow dimly when switched off and they glow as expected when on. – jd. Nov 28 '18 at 14:23

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