Electrical Overload Problem or short?

Hi all, I have an electrical overload problem so I think. I posted this in another alt.home forum, but just got people arguing with each
other and no real help other than to say “Call an electrician” which I may do, but I have a lot of time invested in this so far. In a room in my basement, next to the furnace on the wall, is a junction box that has 115v dedicated power coming into it with ground, neutral and black. The black and neutral tie into another black and neutral that runs into a conduit down to the switch on the furnace (115v) for power and the ground is clamped to the junction box. The problem I is I have a ganged 20amp breaker at the box (2 20amp breakers that are hooked together) that run the kitchen and the garage outlets. I also have a portable hot tub in the garage that requires 120v 20amp. I use the hot tub only when I am not using anything else in the garage to avoid overload, however I just noticed when I turn the hot tub heater on, the conduit going to the furnace gets hot and starts to buzz. The conduit also gets hot if I use too many appliances is the kitchen. I opened up the junction box next to the furnace (with power off of course) and un-tied the incoming black and neutral from the black and neutral going into the conduit that is getting hot and with my meter measured the voltage and read 0, I then flipped on the power to the furnace and measured the live exposed wires and have 115v so I was sure the furnace breaker was the only source of power here. I turn on the power to the hot tub and to my surprise the conduit started getting hot, but if the black and neutral where not connected to the conduit anymore, how could this be? I turned off the ganged breaker and furnace attempted to start to unscrew the conduit from the junction box and got a spark. I measured again and everything reads 0 volts. I then measured the neutral and ground and found it to have a 2.4v reading. I then used the ohm side of the meter and found it to have continuity. I am good at wiring and electrical in many applications, but this is stumping me. The only other thing I could think is the junction box was screwed right into other wires in the wall causing a short. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
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You're losing the main neutral from the pole. If you have an overhead service it is likely that the neutral lug inside the meter socket is rusted and corroded. The reason you're getting power flowing through the conduit going to the furnace is that the furnace is connected to your water system. Since the water system is ground, it is supplementing the loss of the neutral in the house.
Hi all, I have an electrical overload problem so I think. I posted this in another alt.home forum, but just got people arguing with each other and no real help other than to say “Call an electrician” which I may do, but I have a lot of time invested in this so far. In a room in my basement, next to the furnace on the wall, is a junction box that has 115v dedicated power coming into it with ground, neutral and black. The black and neutral tie into another black and neutral that runs into a conduit down to the switch on the furnace (115v) for power and the ground is clamped to the junction box. The problem I is I have a ganged 20amp breaker at the box (2 20amp breakers that are hooked together) that run the kitchen and the garage outlets. I also have a portable hot tub in the garage that requires 120v 20amp. I use the hot tub only when I am not using anything else in the garage to avoid overload, however I just noticed when I turn the hot tub heater on, the conduit going to the furnace gets hot and starts to buzz. The conduit also gets hot if I use too many appliances is the kitchen. I opened up the junction box next to the furnace (with power off of course) and un-tied the incoming black and neutral from the black and neutral going into the conduit that is getting hot and with my meter measured the voltage and read 0, I then flipped on the power to the furnace and measured the live exposed wires and have 115v so I was sure the furnace breaker was the only source of power here. I turn on the power to the hot tub and to my surprise the conduit started getting hot, but if the black and neutral where not connected to the conduit anymore, how could this be? I turned off the ganged breaker and furnace attempted to start to unscrew the conduit from the junction box and got a spark. I measured again and everything reads 0 volts. I then measured the neutral and ground and found it to have a 2.4v reading. I then used the ohm side of the meter and found it to have continuity. I am good at wiring and electrical in many applications, but this is stumping me. The only other thing I could think is the junction box was screwed right into other wires in the wall causing a short. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
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fzbuilder wrote:

The best advice you have gotten so far is to call an electrician. You have a safety problem that cannot be delayed.
--
Joe Leikhim K4SAT
"The RFI-EMI-GUY"©
  Click to see the full signature.
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On Sat, 26 Dec 2009 23:46:02 -0800 (PST), fzbuilder

Just out of curiosity, take a tester and measure the voltage between the double pole breaker. I too suspect that it might be a piggyback breaker instead. You should have 240V. If it is a piggyback breaker you will have 0V (bad).
You may have an overloaded neutral.
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Had an electrician out today....the problem was a hot and a ground were fused together inside the panel and a bad breaker. looks like the panel was getting some water in it and making some wires rot. Thanks guys
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