After we use our shower, our ceiling makes a buzzing noise (sounds like a bug stuck up there). When my husband moved the drop ceiling tiles he noticed one rail is carrying current (it was throwing off a continues spark when it touched another metal). We turned off the breaker in our apartment and the apartment above ours and it was still carrying a current, not as strong as it was before we turned the breakers off but still enough to notice. Any ideas as to what it could be? is it possible that who ever installed the drop ceiling drove a nail into a wire in the wall?

  • Is there any emergency lighting in the ceiling?
    – Jeff Meden
    Mar 17, 2016 at 17:31
  • 1
    Do you own or rent the apartment? Do to the possibility of damage and unknown electrical current (in something that should not be carrying current) I'd get the landlord/super/etc involved in this. Mar 17, 2016 at 17:40
  • We are renting the apartment and have informed the lanlord. I don't believe there is an emergency light in the ceiling and there are no visible wires that are touching the actual railings, from what we can see. Mar 17, 2016 at 17:46
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    It is very possible a nail was driven into the wiring. This is why the National Electric Code is pushing for arc fault breakers in new construction.
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 17, 2016 at 18:21
  • If it isn't already obvious, this is a bad situation. Be careful. Mar 17, 2016 at 20:19

1 Answer 1


Switching just the 2 apartment's breakers off was a good try, but now you need to switch other breakers until the current is gone. Then, leave that circuit off even if someone needs to run an extension cord or 2 until the repair is completed.

Once it's gone, then nails can be extracted & reinserted until the offender is found in the ceiling & walls, the token (hopefully) long nail or screw would be the likely culprit. If the Landlord doesn't act immediately & filing a complaint with Local Officials has an estimate of weeks, months, a year or never.

Then, you can still protect yourselves by insulating the drop's grid, perimeter rail ends & bottoms & the hanging wires. Rails with, bicycle inner tube chunks, plastic L's like the clear clips that come with mini-blinds to secure the blind's bottom (stores sell them in bulk packs), or anything similar in shape & material. Hanging wires can be removed & wrapped with electrical tape & reinstalled or at the ceiling you may be able to slip on small rubber tubes.

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