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I’m renting an older house that has wiring with no ground. I have a paper shredder and a fan plugged into the same receptacle and when the shredder is running the fan runs. The fan is not turned on.

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    And the question is? – JACK Aug 23 '20 at 18:21
  • Is the fan switch clearly marked on/off? Or are you expected to infer what is on vs off? (like a lot of table lamps). – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 23 '20 at 18:37
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I would be guessing that you have non polarized receptacles and the return is creating this issue. Flip the plug for the fan over just the fan and see if that fixes the issue.

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You could always replace the receptacle and, in the process, confirm that the wiring is correct, in good shape, and not worn though and in contact with the box. Also, make sure that the old wiring jacket is in good shape. I've lived in 1910 houses for decades. People do all kinds of crazy things with these receptacles and their boxes, if it even has one. Old knob and tube often just ran directly from the wall, through a small board or similar, and into the lights. This receptacle might not be safe.

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    Non polarized receptacles can put the hot on the frame depending on how the fan is wired could be the problem , I remember getting shocked by the toaster as a kid my grandmother flipped the plug over and no more shocks. – Ed Beal Aug 23 '20 at 22:24
  • My uncle would get shocked and then tell me to touch it.... lol +1,+1 – JACK Aug 24 '20 at 12:52

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