Electrical Wiring Problems

Ground wire has become hot, any idea where to start looking? Problem is between the Service Panel and the first receptacle.

Robnoxious SoCal

December 23, 20040 found this helpful

For a ground wire to get hot, you have to pass a lot of power through it. Unless you get free electricity, fix that fast!

If it is not a plugged in appliance that is causing it, (easy enough to check by unplugging whatever is plugged in there) the first step would be to turn the breaker off and replace the receptacle. The black wire goes to the brass terminals, the white wire goes to the silver terminals, and the ground wire goes to the sixor eight sided green ground terminal.

If that does not cure the problem, then please replace the cable between the breaker box and the receptacle before the house burns down. If you can't fix it today, turn the breaker off until it can be fixed. Also top off your insurance and keep some FULL fire extinguishers handy. The problem you have is not a joking matter, but very serious!

Because the possibility exists that a nail or screw penetrated the cable, don't touch any picture frames or nails or screws in the wall until the problem has been fixed. That could be a very shocking experience.

If you think that cutting the wall open to replace that wire is messy, consider the alternative: a burned down house. That is a LOT messier.

Before cutting the wall open or doing anything with wall board, move your computers as far away as possible and cover them with plastic. Dust from Gypsum, wall-board, sheet-rock, etc. WILL HURT your CD drives.

Next attach a no-slip drop-sheet or piece of old carpet to the wall ABOVE the baseboard with ducktape or masking tape.

With the breaker off, use a small wall board saw or box cutter and cut a slit wide enough to see the cable. Where you see the cable attached with staples, cut some extra to get at the staple and pull it. Also cut the cable there and pull out the section of cable that has been freed up to that point. Once you have all the pieces of cable out, lay them end to end and measure their length, so that you know how much new cable you need.

Before pushing in the new cable, push in a single wire or haywire. You can guide it along by reaching into the slit in the wall with needle-nose pliers. Then use that wire to pull in the cable. Don't try it alone. Have one person pushing and one person pulling.

Once the new cable is connected to a new receptacle and everything is working fine, get some cheap hemp or sisal rope the same length as the cable that you bought and about the thickness of the slot in the wall. Cut the rope into foot long pieces, Soak pieces of the rope in thin wall-board mud and stuff them into the slit so that they don't stick out farther than the surface. That rope trick will save you hours and money and frustration.

Let the rope dry overnight and then finish the wall like you would for surface scratches.

Don't uncover or bring back the computer(s) until all the dust has been vacumed up and the wall sealed with paint.

If you can't do it now, turn the breaker off and take it out, so that nobody can turn it on. A hot ground wire means you have an almost burning house.

Good Luck!



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March 26, 20050 found this helpful

half of my circuit is fine... on the other half I have the 120vac from black to ground but only about 7 vac positive to neutral and 0 neutral to ground. just bought this hose and this is one of the few remaining problems Im haveing. any ideas on an easy way to isolate the problem?

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September 18, 20050 found this helpful

Old house, remodeling bathroom. Feed from panel to light in ceiling. From there 2 separate wires spliced at ceiling fixture....1 to wall light and 1 to switch on wall that operates both lights. Is this safe? I changed out the ceiling fixture to a bath fan and connected the wires back. Now, when the switch is in OFF position, the light and fan both work. When you flip the switch to ON, the circuit trips? Any advice?

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April 29, 20060 found this helpful

I recently removed a three way switch with the hopes of replacing with a new one, however everytine I try to hook it up I blow the breaker. Any idea's on what is causing this? The old switch seemed to be wired wrong because it would only work if the other switch was in the correct position.

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June 18, 20080 found this helpful

I have five garage light sockets wired using one switch. When the switch is flipped one light is fully illuminated- the other four are considerably dimmer. This is on a new wiring project. what could be wrong?

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