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I think I just got shocked, but I'm not sure what being shocked feels like!

 
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I'm talking about an electrical current, of course.

I rent an apartment. It's an old place and lots of things are broken. Now I think my stove is hot. No, not that kind of hot. Like, there's something wrong with it and it's live. Hot. Live. Not grounded?

Anyway, ever since we moved here over a year ago, I have had to flip the breaker switch to completely turn off the stove/oven. Otherwise, the oven stays on permanently, or goes on and off by itself. I'd worry that it was haunted if I worried about those things, but I don't, so I just try to remember to flip the switch and then I kick my own ass when my electric bill is through the roof.

But yesterday. I dunno. I'm actually pretty scared to use my stove now. Which isn't good because I have three hungry kids to feed three times per day, and I cook. A lot.

I think I got shocked last night. But...I've never been shocked before, so I don't know what it feels like. I was washing the top of the stove with a wet wash cloth, and right as I slid the washcloth by the actual burner itself (the coiled electrical burner ring thingy), I felt a severe sharp pain in the side of my thumb, and I thought I sliced my thumb open.

Now. I've never gotten shocked by electricity before, but I *have* sliced numerous fingers/thumbs open, and I do know what that feels like. And that's what it felt like. So I grabbed my thumb, applied intense pressure and frantically asked my daughter to get me a bandaid.

But when I got brave enough to remove the pressure and inspect the wound, there was...nothing there. Just a tiny red spot. No blood. No broken skin.

Then my thumb started hurting every time I moved it. Not horribly painful. Just, like, aching? Like a sore joint or a sore muscle in there. It still hurts the same way this morning.

I quickly flipped the breaker switch off after it happened because I thought the only thing it could have been was an electrical shock, but like I said, I've lived here over a year and I use that stove/oven every single day and this has never happened before.

Maybe it really is a poltergeist.

What do y'all think it was? Is there some way to find out (besides waiting to get shocked again) if the stove is unsafe?
 
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Hi Isabella;
Call your landlord!  That is unsafe!   Having to flip a breaker to turnoff the stove is bad bad bad.
Having an electrician look at your stove to see if it is fixable is a good idea. BUT I think you are going to need a new used stove pronto!
The cost of a replacement stove should come off your rent. A used one should not be very expensive.
 
pollinator
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Your stove runs off 220V ac.  110 hurts.  220 is enough to do serious damage to a person.  There is an issue with the ground wiring, either in the appliance or in the house wiring.  Don't use the stove until an electrician sorts it out.  Not being an alarmist, but 220 is something you don't play with.
 
pollinator
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Could it be a tiny sliver of metal or something similar that was on the dishcloth? I've had something similar happen more than once - no blood just a red spot that got more and more achy and then painful and then went away - there was always a 'lump' there and when I had a go at it months later, a sliver of something popped out. I've popped out various metal and plant spikes over the years.

I have had two shocks though. Doing some wiring I felt a 'wobble' pass through me. On another occasion, I cut through a live wire and that gave me a belt.

I totally second thomas' reply whether you got a shock or not your stove is dangerous. The landlord by law must fix this. Easy to say, so I hope you have a good landlord.

Hopefully someone more qualified in electrics than me can advise you.

best of luck!
 
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thomas rubino wrote:Hi Isabella;
Call your landlord!  That is unsafe!   Having to flip a breaker to turnoff the stove is bad bad bad.



Yes, PLEASE call your landlord. If you are experiencing physical pain because you touched your stove, this is becoming a SERIOUS safety issue.
It might be that your stove's control panel has gone bad, in which case it might possibly be repaired. But if it's an older model, the parts might not be manufactured anymore. In which case, a new stove is necessary.

I'd also politely suggest to your landlord that the control panel in your apartment be inspected by an electrician. Because if it's not a stove problem and you get a new stove, you haven't solved the underlying issue.

Please post back when you get this resolved.
 
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Many years ago I was in a similar position.  The landlord failed to act, so I moved. It was that simple.  The posts above have all said what needs to be said.  There may be another option depending upon where you live. It may be possible to get the ele tric company or the building inspector involved.

My thinking is that is the landlord fails to act, I would not want to live there.  If I called the electric company or inspector, I would probably make a bad situation worse.  So, that becomes an option only if the landlord fails to act and  i cant move. I am sure there is more to consider.

No one has said this yet.... I would stop using the stove immediately and leave the breaker off.
Best of luck.
 
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Getting shocked can feel a bunch of different ways. I've only been shocked with 110 (that's the electricity in normal looking outlets that are used for 90% of things).  It depends on a lot of different things.  You're basically completing a circuit between the hot thing and the ground.  If you're not very well grounded it doesn't hurt as bad.  Once I was touching something hot and it just made my arm feel a little numb but didn't hurt at all.  Another time I touched an old toaster with one hand while my other hand was on the kitchen stove.  I assume the stove was grounded and the toaster was hot and it shocked the hell out of me.

I think the big question is if the burner was turned on when you touched it and the stove body?  Any time an electric burner is on, it's "hot".  

Next question...  You say the oven comes on and off on its own, do the burners do the same?  Either is bad but that could explain how you got the shock.  

And regardless of all that, if the oven is running when it's not supposed to be, get rid of that stove.  The Habitat for Humanity Restore by me (and maybe by you?) has ovens and so do other places.  People are always getting rid of working ovens when they upgrade so they can usually be picked up for $50-100.  Just get another electric one and it should plug right in.  No fancy installation needed.  Do check the style of plug on the old oven before you buy the new one to make sure it plugs in.
 
Isabella Love
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Thank you so much, everyone, for such great responses!

Management replaced the stove immediately. I'm feeling very grateful right now.

Happy New Year!
 
John F Dean
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Give management lots of credit ... I am amazed at how fast the response was.
 
Isabella Love
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John F Dean wrote:Give management lots of credit ... I am amazed at how fast the response was.



You are right. I absolutely thanked them for their timely attention to this issue. And then I boiled water on the new stove top and made myself a wonderful cup of coffee. :)
 
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Isabella Love wrote:Management replaced the stove immediately. I'm feeling very grateful right now.



I am so glad you told them and that they replaced that immediately. You were in a dangerous situation imo.

 
John F Dean
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I just re-read your original post.  Keep an eye on that thumb. It was used to complete a circuit. I have no doubt some tissue was damaged.  
 
Isabella Love
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John F Dean wrote:I just re-read your original post.  Keep an eye on that thumb. It was used to complete a circuit. I have no doubt some tissue was damaged.  



I'm embarrassed to admit this, as I'm a healthcare worker (but hey, I catch babies, not electricity!)...but, what should I keep an eye out for? I mean, the thumb is sore. There's a small red spot that looks like some kind of strange circular burn, but it doesn't hurt when I touch it. My thumb feels sore when I move it, though, especially in the joint area. Will we have to amputate?! j/k obviously, but I can't help but feel a little nervous now, lol.
 
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Great outcome.

But looking from Australia I am surprised to read that the stove may not have been repaired or replaced as a matter of fact.
Here we have strict laws that even allow the tenant to have emergency repairs up to about $1500 carried out if nobody is available to deal with it.
IE Hot water, electrical issue, burst plumbing.
 
John F Dean
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If you have concerns, get checked out.  From a practical  standpoint, I think you are waiting for it to heal. I am an RN, but I am on the mental health side of things. If I was concerned, I would check with a doctor; it sounds line you may know a few

You are probably dealing with a burn. It may be relatively superficial, or it could have traveled through your body. If it traveled through your body, then I am left wondering what route it took and how many organs are involved. Because you were not certain you were shocked, it does not sound that serious. But. On the flip side, I have been shocked too many times to recall ... with 110.  I have never had any level of discomfort afterward. 220v can be splendidly  exciting and do serious damage.
 
Jack Edmondson
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Isabella Love wrote:
...but, what should I keep an eye out for? I mean, the thumb is sore. There's a small red spot that looks like some kind of strange circular burn, but it doesn't hurt when I touch it. My thumb feels sore when I move it, though, especially in the joint area.



You have a low voltage electrical burn more than likely.  Electric burns (current burns not arc burns) are different from thermal burns.  They damage tissue deep than the surface where thermal burns are most severe at the surface.  Current burns are "inside out" affairs.  From what you described earlier, I would say you had a small jolt of 220volts, not a full dose (or you would not have been typing on the internet.)  If the ground wire was damaged by corrosion or a short, some of the power to your stove, even with the burner off it is energized, found a path to ground faster through you than through the wire.  Think of an pouring a bucket out that has a hole in the bottom.  Even as you pour from the top, the hole will drain, not all at once or even a majority; but the water will seek the path of least resistance.  How much current you took is not possible to tell, but enough that it hurt is plenty.

The deep tissue under the burn is damaged.  It does not sound like a second degree burn, so is not likely serious; but you should have it checked out, especially if not noticeably better in a few days.  The joint is sore due to swelling.  You 'energized' that joint that was not designed to flow current.  It will be sore like you hit it with a hammer (mechanical energy) for a few days.  Likely no permanent damage, but if you can have a doctor take a look to be safe.  A full dose of 220 can damage organs and stop a heart; but you likely did not get that level of current.  Be aware of the energy event and if you feel other symptoms or feel off, it would be a really good idea to get check out.  If not terribly inconvenient, you may want to touch base with a medical provider just for peace of mind.

Something to be aware of is an 'exit wound'.  That current entered through your thumb in a very localized area and dispersed through your body on the way to ground.  It will be most sore at the point of entry, but that current went somewhere.  Where it left your body may also be sore.  Most often this is the feet, but can be a knee or another part of the leg that was in contact with the ground.  Just be aware you may find a sore spot or two that you may not think associated; but may be where the current jumped to ground.  (lighting strike victims will sometimes have their shoes blown off.)

Overall I would not worry (not a medical professional) but be aware and on the look out for anything out of the ordinary.  If the red spot starts to turn other colors or gets more painful, seek medical care.  If the joint is not better in a few days, see a doctor.  If you discover other 'spots', get them checked.  In a week if you still have numbness in your hand you may have some nerve damage.  Get someone to give you advise on that.
 
Isabella Love
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You all are wonderful. Thank you!
 
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220V may be enough to make an adult say bad words most of the time but for children its especially dangerous. Particularly since children tend be touching multiple objects at the same time, its very easy for them to create a ground across their chest which is frequently fatal even in adults.  

If you are getting shocked touching the stove this means that the metal skin of the stove is being energized with 220V and 30 to 50 amps.  Think about this.  That's enough electricity to broil a roast at 500F.  Do you really want that much power passing through you?Or one of your children?

Worse yet, you could easily wake up to a nice house fire.  If it starts inside the wall, by the time it breaks through the drywall you will not have long to get out of the house.  Don't start 2021 in a burn ward or minus a family member.

I am so glad to hear that the landlord took care of it.  That was more dangerous than I think you realize.
 
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Hi,
For what it is worth...

IF your stove does run on 220v it may be powered by two different breakers.

This may not be to code any more but, it may still have some power gong to it especially with older places.

It may not run on a single breaker but it still could be energized.

Had that happen 30 years ago with a small furnace / forge unit. Someone tripped the wrong breaker so, It was only getting 110v. The timers still ran but it would not power up with the reduced voltage.

IF you have an electric stove your dryer might be 220v also...
Look at the cord on your dryer if it something small (like an extension cord) it will be 110v. If it is much thicker it is definitely 220v.

The landlord should also have the dryer looked at too when he / the repairman comes to look at the stove.

Many appliance stores now sell the cord separately because "not all 220v outlets" are the same.

I use to think this was a cop-out but, now not so much.

If that cord has outlived several appliances what are the odds that decades old and is near the end of its life?
 
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I'm an electrician by trade & training. I have been shocked many times by many forms of electricity.

What your experience sounds like, to me, is an unbalanced neutral burn. An AC current shock doesn't feel like a cut; it feels similar to how your cell phone feels in your pocket when it rings on vibrate, but with pain. What an unbalanced neutral burn means is that the white/return wire in your apartment is broken somewhere, and the unbalanced voltage is finding it's "home" via a grounded surface (the oven cover) through your body.  However, if this happened when you touched a cool electric stove-top burner, that implies that the stove top burner is either 120 volts (which is possible, even with a 240 volt oven) or one of the two breakers for the oven was still on.  Either way, it's a major public safety issue and a code violation. 240 volt devices, such as an electric oven, are required to have a double breaker that trips both "hot" wires at the same time.  And a broken neutral is, at a minimum, a huge fire hazard; because current finds a way.

Call your city's code enforcement, or renters advocacy department. There's a high chance you will need to move soon.

EDIT: An electrical burn is mostly an internal thing, but there will be an entrance and exit wound. So your thumb will be sore until it recovers from being partially cooked on the inside. Somewhere else, probably somewhere on the same hand will be an entrance burn, but that could be spread across much more surface area.  When I was an electrical apprentice, we used to cook hot dogs this way.  It took about 6 seconds to fully cook a hot dog.
 
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