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SilverBullit 01-01-2010 08:15 AM

electrical issue
 
Hi Guys and Happy New year!

I have a perplexing electrical issue. Several years ago, I renovated a bathroom and knowing I was going to, eventually, renovate a nearby master bathroom, I left a dead, so I remembered, 12 gauge length of cable in the wall that I could use to continue the ckt. to, potentially, add a GFI receptacle in the new bathroom.
Fast forward 3-5 years. Yesterday, I retrieved that cable and proceeded to cut for the correct length to add a GFI recpt. (connected the ca. to the "line" side of the GFI.) in the new bathroom. I new the moment I cut it, it was hot! This, I just did without thinking and something I had long since forgotten. In doing this, I had lost power to the lighting and GFI ckt. in the adjoining (aforementioned renovated bathroom) and the ceiling light in the adjoining laundry room.
No problem, I'll finish the addition and reset the breaker. Wrong!
So, I go to the panel and reset several suspect breakers, as none appeared to be fully tripped. I return to the bathroom and still no lights or power to it's GFI recpt., and laundry room, as well. Hmmm! I removed the GFI in the affected B/R and it was connected as a "stand alone" recpt. The cable I was working with was part of the lighting ckt.
I go to the breaker panel with my ckt tester (rated to 440) and proceeded to test the breakers (20As) I thought were the culprits. I tested their operation by grounding (neutral bar) one side of my tester and touching the red to the breaker ckt. screw, then, flipped the breaker switch, they had power when "ON" and none when "OFF" all worked as designed. Hmmm!
To add to the confusion these two rooms were never really described clearly on the panel record...sound familiar? I then, proceeded to test every breaker in the panel this way. They all tested as working as designed.
How could something so simple create such a issue? Prior to cutting that ca. there were no know issues in the house.
Any thoughts were to look for the loss of power?
Thanks for any replies.

Ken
Severna Park, MD

wirenut1110 01-01-2010 08:27 AM

Without going into how this circuit is a code violation, I'll just stick to the issue.

Is it possible that there is another GFCI somewhere else on this circuit?

If any of the other switches/receptacles are back stabbed, the short may have cause that connection to open. I don't back stab so I'm not sure if devices can be stabbed with #12.

SilverBullit 01-01-2010 08:40 AM

Hi,

Thanks for the reply. I do realize it was code violation to leave an unprotected live ckt. in the wall the way I did. But, as I stated, had long since forgotten it was a live wire, as I thought it was a disconnected ckt "lying in wait" in a gang box in the attic. I checked "all" known GFIs for any tripping and none had done so.
What do you mean by "back stabbed"?
Thanks for getting back.

wirenut1110 01-01-2010 08:46 AM

The wires are just stuck into the back of receptacles/switches instead of being secured with the screws.

The violation I was speaking of is that bath circuits can only serve bath receptacles unless it's a single bathroom.

Edit: I would definately check other places for another GFCI, outside, other bathrooms, etc. maybe even in the crawl space.

oberkc 01-01-2010 08:58 AM

Backstabbed are those types of receptacles where you push the expose wire into a similar sized hole in the back of the receptacle, as opposed to attaching via screw terminals.

I missed the part where you described where it was you tapped into to feed this formerly "lying in wait" cable. Have you checked that location for voltage or failed connections? Do you believe you have identified all devices which are affected by this failed circuit.

Like wirenut, I suspect the short has caused some connection to fail and can think of no other way to find it other than open them up and inspect. Be careful, it sounds like you have the possibility of live voltage in there.

SilverBullit 01-01-2010 09:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wirenut1110 (Post 374725)
The wires are just stuck into the back of receptacles/switches instead of being secured with the screws.

(I would not "knowingly do this", but, I'm going to check any switches and boxes for this.)

The violation I was speaking of is that bath circuits can only serve bath receptacles unless it's a single bathroom.

(so, I cannot serve another bathroom by continuing the existing GFI ckt.?, I should run a new single ckt. in the new bathroom?) I'm just trying to understand the violation.

Edit: I would definately check other places for another GFCI, outside, other bathrooms, etc. maybe even in the crawl space.

(I checked all other know GFIs and none were tripped. What should I look for?.Should I verify they are connected only on the "line" side, if at the end of the run?)

Thanks!
Thanks for the clarification.

wirenut1110 01-01-2010 09:18 AM

You can extend the bath receptacles but, you said there are lights on this circuit too. That's the violation unless this circuit is only serving one bathroom. This is just an FYI.

With the GFI's you checked and none were tripped still doesn't mean they have voltage on the load side if they are feeding this circuit.

210.11(C)(3) In addition to the number of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, at least one 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to supply bathroom receptacle outlet(s). Such circuits shall have no other outlets.
Exception: Where the 20 ampere circuit supplies a single bathroom, outlets for other equipment within the same bathroom shall be permitted in accordance with 210.23(A)(1) and (A)(2)



Scuba_Dave 01-01-2010 09:27 AM

The live wire in the wall is more then just a code violation, dangerous
You never leave a live wire in the wall
But as I read on you said you left it in a gang box ? - which is acceptable
Provided the ends are wire nutted to prevent shorting
A wire must always be in an accessible box
I will usually mark a cable with red tape to indicate it is live & mark it with where it goes/originates
More for me when I go back to connect or work on that circuit

Very possible by working (cutting wire) on this live you fried the GFCI

Is the Laundry room part of the bathroom ?
A Laundry area also requires a dedicated 20a circuit

You would be far better off running a dedicated run to the Master bathroom
We have 3 bathrooms (one just a shower/sink) & I have a dedicated 20a outlet run to each bathroom

wirenut1110 01-01-2010 12:11 PM

So have you made any progress?

SilverBullit 01-01-2010 01:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wirenut1110 (Post 374805)
So have you made any progress?

Hi,
Not really. I'm in the process of separating and identifying switch wires from hot wires and what controls what. Usually, I black tape the neutral of the sw wire on both ends, so as to identify them, but, for whatever reasons, I only did one side. That's an amateur for you! It's just inconceivable cutting that wire led to all of this. All was working fine. I'm trying to locate the pwr source of the lead I cut, as well.
Thanks for checking back.

Ken

SilverBullit 01-02-2010 08:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SilverBullit (Post 374852)
Hi,
Not really. I'm in the process of separating and identifying switch wires from hot wires and what controls what. Usually, I black tape the neutral of the sw wire on both ends, so as to identify them, but, for whatever reasons, I only did one side. That's an amateur for you! It's just inconceivable cutting that wire led to all of this. All was working fine. I'm trying to locate the pwr source of the lead I cut, as well.
Thanks for checking back.

Ken

Hey Wirenut,
An up-data, sorta. I'm going to remove a section of the back wall , wherein, I had stored that cut cable that started this whole mess. I want to trace it's origin of power. I had pics of some of the basic ca. routing , but, none was really helpful. I usually take pics of plumbing, electrical and wall studding to help later with any issues or attaching external accessories. I'm going to remove a pocket door, which will allow me access to the where I have the wall SW.'s that control the fan and lighting ckts.

In the meant time, In the new bathroom, I have a dedicated 20A ckt. for a GFI recpt. There were non previously. My question is, since my vanity wall cabinet has a built-in facility with elect. receptacles, should I first run the 20A pwr. supply to the line side of the GFI and, then, the "loaded" side to pwr. these receptacles, thus, protecting them? Also, what's the code height of a GFI in the sink area?
Thanks!
Ken

wirenut1110 01-02-2010 08:50 AM

Yes, from the panel to the line side of the GFI and load out to the others.

I usually mount them to the sides of vanities to allow for mirrors and what not. If not, about 44" to the top of the box will allow for clearance of the back splash and allow for mirrors or cabinets.

SilverBullit 01-08-2010 07:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wirenut1110 (Post 375194)
Yes, from the panel to the line side of the GFI and load out to the others.

I usually mount them to the sides of vanities to allow for mirrors and what not. If not, about 44" to the top of the box will allow for clearance of the back splash and allow for mirrors or cabinets.

Hi Wirenut,

FYI, I ran new ckts, ( one 15A for lights, and one 20A for the GFI) for this bathroom and laundry issue, as all of the powered "hot" (?) cables were now dead.
Would best practices have me terminate these "dead" cables in boxes with the hot side nutted? I was going to label them and the box, as well.
Never did find the cause. Did I mention some of these dead cables were aluminum? So, I really don't miss them.
Thanks for your continued interest.


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