TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Is it Possible to Get a Shock From POTS/DSL

Re: Is it Possible to Get a Shock From POTS/DSL
19 Apr 2006 10:59:40 -0700

SD wrote:

> My brother says he is occasionally getting a shock when using his wired
> phone (ATT Trimline) with DSL filter on a SBC POTS/DSL line. Is the
> phone shorted?

As others mentioned, it is unlikely to get a shock through the plastic
housing of a phone. However, if the phone is defective it is
possible, especially during ringing. If someone is wet or sweating
(sweat, being salty, is an especially good conductor of electricity)
it is more possible.

It is also possible (and rather dangerous) if the telephone wires are
near or touching house current wires and picking that up. Or another
unit (ie answering machine, computer modem) connected to the phone
line is defective.

If the problem is only on one particular telephone set and no others,
simply discard the particular telephone set (as others suggested).
But if the problem is on multiple telephone sets, you should have an
electrician or the phone company check the telephone lines and other
units connected to it.

You should perform a visual check of phone wires and jacks and boxes
to make sure none of the wires or boxes you can see are broken, and
that house current electrical lines are also in good shape.

If the phone or power lines serving a house are more than 40 years
old, the insulation may be defective and wiring needs replacement. If
there was any remodeling done on the house it's possible wiring was
damaged in the process.

It is also possible, though unlikely, that there is a wiring problem
outside the house where the phone lines might be too close to power
lines. The phone company would have to test for this. There have
been reports that communiation lines have gotten too congested on
utility poles and have become too close to each other.

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