Yesterday I replaced a power socket in my home. Before hand, I plugged a light into the socket, switched it on, then flipped the relevant switch in the fuse box and verified the light was out.

When replacing the socket, two strange things happened:

1) When I wired in the ground wire to the new plug, it tripped one of the two RCD switches in the fuse box, resulting in half the sockets/lights in my home going off.

2) I left the RCD switch tripped and carried on. When screwing the new socket in, I swear I got a tingling sensation in my arm, like a very mild electric shock. I was sitting on a sofa the whole time so not really in contact with much.

Do these things sound normal? The new plug works but it's metallic and I'm now terrified to touch the thing!

  • 4
    Definitely not normal. Call in an electrician who will have advanced equipment to determine the problem. Honestly: do not do anything further yourself. Could be an insulation failure somewhere along the line, e.g. power cable/fittings etc etc. Could be some sort of slightly conductive substance (grease, moisture, sweat, you name it) somewhere. Or an intermittent short by metal debris etc, or defective parts. Could be an earth fault. Ideally, isolate it on the fuse board in the mean time. (i.e. Switch it off). Be careful with other sub circuits as well. Get it sorted ASAP.
    – Jodes
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 8:34
  • 1
    Also: Even your pipes may become energized. Seriously, seriously seriously, call in an electrician ASAP. Depending on the problem, the isolation switches and RCDs may not even protect you.
    – Jodes
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 8:39
  • Thanks, was going to call someone in but thought I'd get some opinions first just in case that wasn't necessary.
    – Dan
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 11:45

1 Answer 1


Sounds like there is indeed some sort of insulation problem along the line, causing both problems you describe. As Jodes said, call in a professional electrician to find the source of the problem before trying to fix anything.

When you have some sort of 'leakage electricity' while connecting the ground, it will trip the rcd (that's the very reason for having the rcds).

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