Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 06-18-2013, 09:28 AM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 9
Share |
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


Already fixed, just thought I'd share this one.

My wife and I recently purchased a house in Saginaw, MI.

The house is fairly old, and was rented as a duplex for ~50 years.

In the stairwell going upstairs, there was originally a 3-way switch, with 1 switch at the base of the stairs, and 1 at the top.

Apparently somewhere along the way, someone with very limited electrical knowledge decided to replace one of the switches. The lights would only come on, if both switches were in the "up" position.

This was pretty obvious to me, that there was some serious wiring issues; or that one of the switches was broken.

When I finally got around to opening them; I found that, in the previous owner's infinite wisdom, replaced the 3-way switch at the top of the stairs, with a normal switch, and connected the "spare" wire to the ground, on the switch.

So, to make a long story short, when the switch at the bottom of the stairs was in the down position, the chassis of the switch at the top of the stairs was hot.

This just makes me wonder how many other surprises this house has in store for me.

V/r,
Mike

Conjur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2013, 09:30 AM   #2
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 7,528
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


How come the breaker didn't trip when the switch at the bottom was flipped? The ground must not be connected back to the panel.

__________________
Do not PM with questions that can be asked in a forum. I will not respond.
joed is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-18-2013, 04:04 PM   #3
Resi EC
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Kansas
Posts: 479
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Conjur View Post
Already fixed, just thought I'd share this one.

My wife and I recently purchased a house in Saginaw, MI.

The house is fairly old, and was rented as a duplex for ~50 years.

In the stairwell going upstairs, there was originally a 3-way switch, with 1 switch at the base of the stairs, and 1 at the top.

Apparently somewhere along the way, someone with very limited electrical knowledge decided to replace one of the switches. The lights would only come on, if both switches were in the "up" position.

This was pretty obvious to me, that there was some serious wiring issues; or that one of the switches was broken.

When I finally got around to opening them; I found that, in the previous owner's infinite wisdom, replaced the 3-way switch at the top of the stairs, with a normal switch, and connected the "spare" wire to the ground, on the switch.

So, to make a long story short, when the switch at the bottom of the stairs was in the down position, the chassis of the switch at the top of the stairs was hot.

This just makes me wonder how many other surprises this house has in store for me.

V/r,
Mike
So one of the travelers went to the ground screw on the switch yoke?
That old of a house I'm sure it had metal boxes, so they would have been hot also.
Must be an ungrounded system (no ground wires) other wise the breaker may have tripped as Joed suggests.

Glad you got it fixed
__________________
If at first you don't succeed .... do not work on live electrical
Gac66610 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2013, 01:32 AM   #4
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 9
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


Most of this house is not grounded; the only grounded circuits seem to be the kitchens and bathrooms.

I have the wiring and panels to replace the entire system, but can't afford the permit yet :/

V/r,
Mike
Conjur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2013, 06:19 AM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 126
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Conjur
Already fixed, just thought I'd share this one.

My wife and I recently purchased a house in Saginaw, MI.

The house is fairly old, and was rented as a duplex for ~50 years.

In the stairwell going upstairs, there was originally a 3-way switch, with 1 switch at the base of the stairs, and 1 at the top.

Apparently somewhere along the way, someone with very limited electrical knowledge decided to replace one of the switches. The lights would only come on, if both switches were in the "up" position.

This was pretty obvious to me, that there was some serious wiring issues; or that one of the switches was broken.

When I finally got around to opening them; I found that, in the previous owner's infinite wisdom, replaced the 3-way switch at the top of the stairs, with a normal switch, and connected the "spare" wire to the ground, on the switch.

So, to make a long story short, when the switch at the bottom of the stairs was in the down position, the chassis of the switch at the top of the stairs was hot.

This just makes me wonder how many other surprises this house has in store for me.

V/r,
Mike
Yikes!!! Hey! It happens!! Get this... When I bought my 1936 Tudor on LI ny I ventured into the attic to check out the insulation or lack there of. When I was crawling around I stumbled upon an old bx cable lying on top of the paper backed old insulation. Best part? The ends were exposed AND LIVE! One spark and poof!!!
JohnC20 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2013, 06:23 AM   #6
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 126
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Conjur
Most of this house is not grounded; the only grounded circuits seem to be the kitchens and bathrooms.

I have the wiring and panels to replace the entire system, but can't afford the permit yet :/

V/r,
Mike
When I was working on the three way switches last wknd (posted a q about it too) I also uncovered that the kitchen wasn't grounded. My colored plug in tester said so! Lol. While the wall was opened up I ran a shielded ground wire to each box and wrapped it around a water pipe. Waaa laaa grounded circuit.
JohnC20 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2013, 06:34 AM   #7
Licensed Electrician
 
k_buz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 4,340
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnC20 View Post
When I was working on the three way switches last wknd (posted a q about it too) I also uncovered that the kitchen wasn't grounded. My colored plug in tester said so! Lol. While the wall was opened up I ran a shielded ground wire to each box and wrapped it around a water pipe. Waaa laaa grounded circuit.

1) What is a "shielded ground wire"?
2) If that is truly how you did it, then Waaa laaa...code violation.
3) Since the walls were open, did you bring the kitchen up to code? 2 counter top circuits, GFI's, correct outlet spacing, tamper resistant receptacles
__________________
__________________________________________________ ______________
Answers based on the National Electric Code. Always check local amendments.


k_buz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2013, 06:43 AM   #8
Electrical Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 725
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


Quote:
Originally Posted by k_buz

1) What is a "shielded ground wire"?
Insulated maybe?
Kyle_in_rure is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2013, 11:52 AM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 126
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


Quote:
Originally Posted by k_buz

1) What is a "shielded ground wire"?
2) If that is truly how you did it, then Waaa laaa...code violation.
3) Since the walls were open, did you bring the kitchen up to code? 2 counter top circuits, GFI's, correct outlet spacing, tamper resistant receptacles
K_buz... I get you may be a certified electrician and I'm not but yes, I replaced the old with TR receptacles all branched from a GFI. The ground I ran was a 12g green insulated wire between each box. Right? Wrong? How should I have done it??
JohnC20 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2013, 12:45 PM   #10
Licensed Electrician
 
k_buz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 4,340
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


You would run a #12 from each box to either the grounding electrode system or the ground bar in the panel the circuit originates from. These connections would have to be made with listed connectors and remain accessible.
__________________
__________________________________________________ ______________
Answers based on the National Electric Code. Always check local amendments.


k_buz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-19-2013, 06:20 PM   #11
E2 Electrician
 
stickboy1375's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Litchfield, CT
Posts: 5,071
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


Should we start another thread about idiots and grounding devices?
stickboy1375 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2013, 06:12 AM   #12
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 126
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stickboy1375
Should we start another thread about idiots and grounding devices?
Sure! Lead the way!
JohnC20 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2013, 07:56 PM   #13
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: western Ny
Posts: 1,243
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnC20 View Post
Sure! Lead the way!
Oh, boy. Let me get my popcorn
danpik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2013, 07:57 PM   #14
E2 Electrician
 
stickboy1375's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Litchfield, CT
Posts: 5,071
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


Quote:
Originally Posted by danpik View Post
Oh, boy. Let me get my popcorn
Don't bother, movie ended.
stickboy1375 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2013, 09:05 PM   #15
" Euro " electrician
 
frenchelectrican's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: WI & France { in France for now }
Posts: 5,369
Default

Idiots and 3-way switches.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stickboy1375 View Post
Don't bother, movie ended.

Yeah but we haven't see the bounus section yet.,,


Merci,
Marc

__________________
The answer will be based on NEC ( National Electrical code ) or CEC ( Cananda Electrical code ) or ECF ( Electrique Code France )
frenchelectrican is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Who posts here? or My Soapbox Minute CplDevilDog Off Topic 194 11-15-2011 06:09 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.