Static electricity in wiring?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by rburt5, Mar 29, 2021.

  1. rburt5

    rburt5 Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Canton, Ohio
    I changed a ceiling light fixture today. Had the power shut off at the breaker. As I was putting the new fixture in place I saw it spark 3-4 different times a tiny little zap like static electricity. I didn’t feel any shock it was so small and there wasn’t any power to the fixture. What would cause this? Is it something to worry about?
  2. breplum

    breplum Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Plumbing and heating contractor
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I would certainly measure the voltage when the power is "shut off".
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Do you remember which wire or wires produced the spark? I'd take a meter and see what I could see, but that can be confusing if you aren't well versed in its use. When cables are run in parallel and touching (I'm not saying shorted together, but the cable bundle touching for some distance, i.e., stacked), you can get an induced voltage in a cable, but normally, it can't support much current. It could be an unbalanced shared neutral, but that should have had a dual breaker to shut off both sides.

    If it was on a ground lead, you may have a ground fault situation, and if you had a GFCI on that circuit, it might trip. It doesn't take much current (0.005A or more) to trip a GFCI, and if it was just on the edge, you may or may not have seen much effect...then, it may be okay.

    Sorry to not be able to give you a definitive answer...sometimes, you have to be there or at least have a bit more information.
  5. fitter30

    fitter30 Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2020
    Retired service tech
    Peace valley missouri
    Wires running in conduct can pick up electro motor force from the other wires can pick up voltage but really don't have much energy/ amperage.
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