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Some of our light switches are giving light shocks and sometimes you can see a spark. What

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    Kathleen, are you talking about static discharges or a real electrical shock? – Keith Hoffman Mar 5 '14 at 5:53
  • It's a light shock. It feels like a strong static. Sometimes you can see a blue spark. The house has been insanely dry. – Kathleen Mar 5 '14 at 12:03
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    Try not wearing wool sweaters, not dragging your feet across the carpet, and not rubbing balloons on your head. Also, a humidifier will probably help. – Tester101 Mar 5 '14 at 12:19
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Could be static - kinda depends on the nature of the shock/spark. Not uncommon in the winter (dry inside the house) to get a static discharge to the grounded screws - try touching a doorknob or some other metal thing before touching the switch - if the other metal thing has the shock then, and the switch does not, that might be it. If you still get a shock from the switch, move on to:

If it's more than just static, call an electrician ASAP...

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As others have said, it's most likely just static-shock. In my experience, this happens a lot in houses in which the switches aren't grounded.

The solution would be to add a ground-wire to ground the switches, but to do that you typically need to replace the wiring for the entire circuit. Given that this is a relatively minor problem, and the solution is very time- and work-intensive, it's probably not worth it (though, adding a ground does have other safety-benefits...)

  • I'll point out that in the case of light switches, the ground is often present but the devices of the era did not have grounds. It may be a relatively fast and easy job for an electrician to swap out the light switches for grounded switches, if they are indeed ungrounded. Are her outlets grounded (not just three prong but actually grounded)? If so, probably the ground wire is present in the switch box. – Keith Hoffman Mar 12 '14 at 3:25

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