Is it normal to have voltage between shower faucet and drain?

I measured 2 volts between shower faucet and drain when water heater is off, and 11-12 volts when it is on?

  • 3
    I have to ask...what prompted you to make this measurement? May 25 '21 at 14:08
  • 1
    Nigth before, I felt stinging electricity when I touch shower faucet with my finger. Even though, the skin of part finger is slightly damaged, I decided to make a measurement.
    – mh_09
    May 25 '21 at 14:33
  • What kind of water heater is this, and where (bathroom vs. other side of the house, etc.) is it installed? May 25 '21 at 14:40
  • It is electric water heater and it is in other part of the house, other room. @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact
    – mh_09
    May 25 '21 at 14:49
  • How did you measure? Just a voltmeter would read floating voltage, which is meaningless. 2 or 12 volts would also not leave any visible damage to your skin
    – Jeffrey
    May 25 '21 at 15:21

No, this is not normal and dangerous. I suggest that you hire an electrician or least favorable option (ground is like crazy science to regular person and there are a lot of gotcha ya), do your own research. It looks like there is insufficient grounding and your heater or some other appliance has a ground fault. All of the electrical circuits and appliances must be grounded and all metallic piping must be bonded.

  • Wouldn't you consider asking here at least part of "do your own research"?
    – FreeMan
    May 25 '21 at 16:52

Damaged skin reduces your body’s natural resistance so you felt the shock.

This low voltage can be generated in many ways and at that low of a voltage is not dangerous.

the National electric code article 411 low voltage lighting: think swimming pools hot tubs where this lighting is normally used allows 15 volts ac where wet contact is likely.

I regularly bond the hot water pipe to the cold water pipe if metallic many jurisdictions require this as the NEC if likely to become energized it shall be bonded to the grounding electrode system.

Another possibility is an imbalanced electrical system. A heavy imbalance can cause a voltage to be present on the neutral & grounding system that a well balanced system will not have.

No one likes getting shocked so taking steps to eliminate the cause (other than broken skin) like making sure the water piping is grounded both hot and cold. Getting the home balanced L1 to L2 I have seen 50 amp imbalances cause much higher neutral voltages and once the system was balanced no voltage on the grounded or grounding conductors (moving breakers to even out loading for each leg.)

The good thing is this is not considered hazardous but I would be at least adding additional grounding to eliminate it.

  • Not sure why the down vote other than that those that don’t know code values.
    – Ed Beal
    May 26 '21 at 12:26

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