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Lightning prone space, copper or something else? & insulation  RSS feed

 
Pia Jensen
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The native made brick cement coated house I live in has some wire sunk into the cement in a couple spots but nothing official about grounding the house is apparent.

A friend dropped off a long, bent (u shape) rod (not copper) and said it would be good for grounding the house, but never followed up with me on that (all I know is copper works and that rod is rusting in my yard and I'll move and inspect it tomorrow...)

I wear rubber flip flops a lot and when I don't I can get a shock from the fridge on a foot if it goes under the base. Since rubber insulate shock possibility - what about, for now at least - on the ceramic floor, laying a thin layer of a "rubber mat" (type-source not yet known) to do two things - break the lightning connection and help insulate the floor...
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Pia,

Electric infrastructure of a house, especially in another country that has a different grid arrangement, perhaps voltage and other related challenges will be hard to address/diagnose over a post conversation. So be sure to vet well any advice I or others give for your own safety...

With that said, I am not sure what..."native made brick cement coated house"...with wire showing through (which is probably some form of OPC stucco metal lath) has to do with the electrical harness for the house not being properly grounded?

Yes, your house should be properly grounded, and no, the "U shaped metal" doesn't sound appropriate, yet that is hard to tell without photos and more understanding of what your friend intended. Rubber mats are neither the solution nor a safe alternative to this challenge. Properly grounding the structure is...

As a side note, I have a great deal of concern for the long term health and vitality of not only the occupants, but the structure itself, if the adobe bricks have been covered by a cement stucco. It should be removed, if you own this home and replaced with an appropriate render of clay, lime, and/or burnt gypsum or a blend there of...never OPC or other cement material...

Regards,

j
 
Pia Jensen
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:ohhh... this is the 'cemented' adobe house and two more fotos are here at my site
There's no traditional fuse boxes - the electric enters the house to a double switch/breaker of sorts then and goes directly to outlets... normal set up in cheap housing here. So, you think I should sand off the exterior cement? (inside and outside the house) The meter out front has trip function - if there's a fault in the system - it shuts off.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Pia,

ohhh... this is the 'cemented' adobe house and two more photos are here at my site...So, you think I should sand off the exterior cement? (inside and outside the house)...


Grant you, I am only getting a partial understanding from the photos, yet they seem to be exactly what I have seen whenever I have been to tropical zones in either Asia or South America. Cement has become a huge industry there. Lots of folks making money from it, just like here, with little regard for either the environmental damage it causes or the actual poor quality it gives in architecture made of it. One the critical issues with OPC stuccos on any structure, is what it blocks from view, and traps in the interstitial zones of walls. These buildings can last decades with these coverings of opc stucco, while large hollow voids and/or softening of the adobe bricks takes place, while some actually liquefy and wash out near the sill area. They simply loose what little structural integrity they ever had. Then a tectonic event takes place of either wind and/or seismic and the house roof comes crashing down on the occupants...

As for "sanding it off," only you can determine if that is warranted at this time. I would select "test sites" and do sampling within the walls. I personally would probably first assess the actual overall viability of the structure as it currently exists. Then would simply start rebuilding in a traditional/natural (t/n) method appropriate for a tropical biome, each section of the house as I could properly design and facilitate the work. Just removing the opc may not be enough if the house is generally not built well...as many modern structures seem to reflect.

There's no traditional fuse boxes - the electric enters the house to a double switch/breaker of sorts then and goes directly to outlets... normal set up in cheap housing here. The meter out front has trip function - if there's a fault in the system - it shuts off.


Again, I would probably do all my own upgrading to a safer electrical harness and breaker box for the entire house. Then again, just ground this..."as is"...could do a great deal. It is hard to tell. If your asking for a "gut feeling" from past experiences with homes in places like central and south America...I would start all over as I could afford it, rebuilding everything to a higher standard, and not bother trying to fix things that are of poor building technique to begin with...But thats me...

Regards,

j
 
Pia Jensen
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awesome, thanks for your thoughts - I added more photos to show the rod, a breaker, and more of the wall with wire and moved the adobe brick description page here to this page your suggestions are much appreciated - will have to do what I can with an income of $1016 (the house is a rental and I can rent it forever - landlord has few options and likes me)
Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Hello Pia,

ohhh... this is the 'cemented' adobe house and two more photos are here at my site...So, you think I should sand off the exterior cement? (inside and outside the house)...


Grant you, I am only getting a partial understanding from the photos, yet they seem to be exactly what I have seen whenever I have been to tropical zones in either Asia or South America. Cement has become a huge industry there. Lots of folks making money from it, just like here, with little regard for either the environmental damage it causes or the actual poor quality it gives in architecture made of it. One the critical issues with OPC stuccos on any structure, is what it blocks from view, and traps in the interstitial zones of walls. These buildings can last decades with these coverings of opc stucco, while large hollow voids and/or softening of the adobe bricks takes place, while some actually liquefy and wash out near the sill area. They simply loose what little structural integrity they ever had. Then a tectonic event takes place of either wind and/or seismic and the house roof comes crashing down on the occupants...

As for "sanding it off," only you can determine if that is warranted at this time. I would select "test sites" and do sampling within the walls. I personally would probably first assess the actual overall viability of the structure as it currently exists. Then would simply start rebuilding in a traditional/natural (t/n) method appropriate for a tropical biome, each section of the house as I could properly design and facilitate the work. Just removing the opc may not be enough if the house is generally not built well...as many modern structures seem to reflect.

There's no traditional fuse boxes - the electric enters the house to a double switch/breaker of sorts then and goes directly to outlets... normal set up in cheap housing here. The meter out front has trip function - if there's a fault in the system - it shuts off.


Again, I would probably do all my own upgrading to a safer electrical harness and breaker box for the entire house. Then again, just ground this..."as is"...could do a great deal. It is hard to tell. If your asking for a "gut feeling" from past experiences with homes in places like central and south America...I would start all over as I could afford it, rebuilding everything to a higher standard, and not bother trying to fix things that are of poor building technique to begin with...But thats me...

Regards,

j
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Pia, if this is a rental then just get your wiring grounded in some fashion...and...Buy some land and build for yourself... Look forward to reading more about your adventures down there...

Regards,

j
 
Pia Jensen
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good advice, but - I'm not planning on investing in anything else - no bankroll here - and - I like my barrio and this house has potential with some repairs, not too extensive but enough to make it comfortable for a hostel. If there is anything from my father's estate - I'll use that to do more repairs I'll probably die digging a hugelbed when I'm 60 ...lol

Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Pia, if this is a rental then just get your wiring grounded in some fashion...and...Buy some land and build for yourself... Look forward to reading more about your adventures down there...

Regards,

j
 
Bill Bradbury
pollinator
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Location: Richmond, Utah
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Hi Pia,

Very few people understand that electricity comes from the earth.

We think that a generator creates electricity, but that is not really how it works. The generator(or other source) creates a magnetic field that excites the electrons in the wire; this pulls electrons from the earth and then they dance through our devices and return back to the earth. We call that dance electricity.

Your system receives the excited electrons from the power generation source, then they run through your devices and must find a way back to the earth. If your system is not properly grounded, the electrons will look for other paths to return by, like your structure.

Here in the states, we ground and ground again. This is not necessary, you just need to have the common wire grounded. Open your panel and there should be a wire that does not go to the breaker. This is the common wire and should be bonded to an 8' copper coated ground rod buried in the earth.

It sounds daunting, but this is simple. Post more photos and we can narrow the advice.

All Blessings,
Bill
 
Pia Jensen
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great description, Bill - there is no panel - there's the utility owned meter with fault protection box outside (maybe that is all I need and the young man who dumped off the rod was full of ideas not grounded? lol) and two breakers without the usual "trappings" one in my bedroom and one in the bathroom - this:



Bill Bradbury wrote:Hi Pia,

Very few people understand that electricity comes from the earth.

We think that a generator creates electricity, but that is not really how it works. The generator(or other source) creates a magnetic field that excites the electrons in the wire; this pulls electrons from the earth and then they dance through our devices and return back to the earth. We call that dance electricity.

Your system receives the excited electrons from the power generation source, then they run through your devices and must find a way back to the earth. If your system is not properly grounded, the electrons will look for other paths to return by, like your structure.

Here in the states, we ground and ground again. This is not necessary, you just need to have the common wire grounded. Open your panel and there should be a wire that does not go to the breaker. This is the common wire and should be bonded to an 8' copper coated ground rod buried in the earth.

It sounds daunting, but this is simple. Post more photos and we can narrow the advice.

All Blessings,
Bill
 
Bill Bradbury
pollinator
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Location: Richmond, Utah
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Hi Pia,

I think that wire in the wall is the grounding for the house; it very possibly ties into some rebar in the wall,but that is inadequate since the electrons have no clear path they can wander into the floor.

I would contact the utility company as they should have a ground at the meter. If this is not acceptable, then I suggest that you pound the ground rod that you have in the earth and tie a wire to it and the frame of the fridge, since this seems to be the trouble spot. Just back off one of the bolts on the frame, wrap the wire around it and tighten. Use as heavy of a copper wire as you can find(#4 is great) and connect with a brass ground clamp.

The OPC render is not so good, but since it is only the base coat, I think it can be remediated. Find a rubbing block and rub the whole thing down real good, then apply a nice coat of lime stabilized clay or lime plaster. If you can find a good source for clay and sand, you will only need about 100 lbs of hydrated lime.

All Blessings,
Bill
 
Pia Jensen
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awesome direction, Bill- heading to the store for the greenhouse roofing and walls today anyway, and will get some copper just in case the utility co. is not in tune with the idea. though, I am going to get the service separated from the other side of this duplex and perhaps they will find it easy enough to resolve the electric fridge issue then! Suppose I should go pay the bill, and pay for separating the service and request better grounding by them before I buy copper.... hmmm, yeah, Thanks, Bill! and this will be next month's expensive project: "lime stabilized clay or lime plaster" + - You just helped me prioritize a few things (been grappling with a variety of project priorities partially determined by weather and a bunch of stuff is pushing up to the top now....)
Bill Bradbury wrote:Hi Pia,

I think that wire in the wall is the grounding for the house; it very possibly ties into some rebar in the wall,but that is inadequate since the electrons have no clear path they can wander into the floor.

I would contact the utility company as they should have a ground at the meter. If this is not acceptable, then I suggest that you pound the ground rod that you have in the earth and tie a wire to it and the frame of the fridge, since this seems to be the trouble spot. Just back off one of the bolts on the frame, wrap the wire around it and tighten. Use as heavy of a copper wire as you can find(#4 is great) and connect with a brass ground clamp.

The OPC render is not so good, but since it is only the base coat, I think it can be remediated. Find a rubbing block and rub the whole thing down real good, then apply a nice coat of lime stabilized clay or lime plaster. If you can find a good source for clay and sand, you will only need about 100 lbs of hydrated lime.

All Blessings,
Bill
 
chad Christopher
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Location: Pittsburgh PA
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You may be looking too deep into the situation. It could be something wrong with the refrigerator. To rule out static electricity, when you get shocked, touch it again. Do you get the same shock? If yes, something is wrong with the wiring of the fridge. Anyone familiar with electric, can do a continuity test on the unplugged refrigerator to see if there is an improper ground or short to the metal casing. I only see two wires in your picture. So chances are theres no designated ground per say. Run an extension cord from a different outlet, put a pole from one side of a meter in the hot side of the cord, and touch the fridge where it shocks you, with the other pole. If there is a positive number on the meter, its the fridge. If not, i have no clue. The only other thing i can think of, is if you have an icemaker, the water line maybe improperly grounded, but your faucet would probably give you a zap too. Either way, an electric meter will give you a reading.

P.s. try this while idle, and when the compressor is running, as well with the door open. The short may be in a place that only receives power at particular moments. I.e. the bulb may have a short, and only shock you when the door is open, and the circuit is open.
 
Pia Jensen
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great point, chad ... it's pretty cold today which saps my energy enuff to say - yeah, I'll do that tomorrow, was doing insulation earlier - and @ the fridge I was even thinking of just putting rubber "booties" on the fridge feet...lol... tiny fridge, no bulb, no ice maker equipment .. never cared for it and as one person without a kitchen for the moment, all I need is a "courtesy" fridge - and - it came from GE, which, may be the issue in a house constructed on the cheap side... quite possibly some incompatibility issues - for example, I have not encountered issues with the Italian clothes washer. hmmm - Thank You
chad Christopher wrote:You may be looking too deep into the situation. It could be something wrong with the refrigerator. To rule out static electricity, when you get shocked, touch it again. Do you get the same shock? If yes, something is wrong with the wiring of the fridge. Anyone familiar with electric, can do a continuity test on the unplugged refrigerator to see if there is an improper ground or short to the metal casing. I only see two wires in your picture. So chances are theres no designated ground per say. Run an extension cord from a different outlet, put a pole from one side of a meter in the hot side of the cord, and touch the fridge where it shocks you, with the other pole. If there is a positive number on the meter, its the fridge. If not, i have no clue. The only other thing i can think of, is if you have an icemaker, the water line maybe improperly grounded, but your faucet would probably give you a zap too. Either way, an electric meter will give you a reading.
 
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