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Stubbie 01-30-2009 12:37 AM

Ignorant 3 way
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A realtor called me today to make a call on a home that was closing and there were some wiring issues that needed to be looked at and fixed. One issue was a 3 way in a owner remodel of the kitchen where one of the 3 ways would not turn the light off. I didn't get shocked (by sheer luck) but it was an accident waiting to happen. Take a look at what this home owner did...... I swear you never want to think someone isn't stupid enough to do it.
S1 would not turn the light off. All the wiring was modern nm with the ground wire cut off at the sheath. Boxes were blue carlons.

Magnettica 01-30-2009 12:43 AM

modern nm with the ground wire cut off at the sheath + boxes were blue carlons = nightmare that should be avoided or completely rewired.

Stubbie 01-30-2009 12:53 AM

Did you notice the guy powered both blacks of the 14/2's from a traveler at S1 then landed one of the blacks on S2's ground screw? I wanted to hunt the guy down and slap him....:furious:

InPhase277 01-30-2009 09:10 AM

Haha! Wow. He just randomly tapped wires together hoping for the best.

joed 01-30-2009 09:34 AM

The cover plate screws on the one switch would be live. How no one get shocked with this setup is a miracle?

Stubbie 01-30-2009 10:00 AM

Yep, did you also notice he has the switched hot to the light landed on the neutral terminal of the light? and also a traveler ? I wonder if the guy thought you had to switch the light from both switches???

I have to go back to find and fix a back fed branch circuit. The living room ceiling fan was about to fall out of the ceiling. When I got it down the guy had the plastic box (not a fan box) nailed to the joist but thats when it got interesting. This yo yo had busted the entire back of the box out and had a lag gate hook screwed into a 8 inch 2x4 laid across the back of the carlon with the hook down into the box. Then hung his fan off the hook.
I have to go back in a day or two to find a backfed branch circuit. I couldn't get the circuit with the fan to turn off even after all the breakers had been turned off and on. No sub-panel so I figured must be a a failed breaker but I had my doubts cause this was a cutler hammer CH panel and those breakers just don't often fail. Anyway I would turn a breaker off and test the terminal. Sure enough I found one that was still hot when turned off. So I removed the wire from the breaker and the damn circuit was still hot at the fan. Tested the removed wire and it was hot. There was a double tapped breaker that when turned off it finally killed the fan circuit. So either breaker will power the fan circuit. That is going to be hard to find given the junction might be in a wall. If it is in the attic it is going to be a night mare as it has a good 18" of blown in. It may be I will just have to disable the one branch circuit that is back fed. The buyer will just have to decide what he wants to do at that point.

Stubbie 01-30-2009 10:10 AM


Originally Posted by joed (Post 221864)
The cover plate screws on the one switch would be live. How no one get shocked with this setup is a miracle?

Yep and that someone would have been me had I not used my insulated to remove the screws. I went on full alert when I saw the mess with the fan. If I see the buyer I think he should investigate about the proper permits ever being pulled for the remodel. Cause I know an inspector never set foot on the place. There are also some non-working receptacles in the dining room. It's a real beauty of a mess. I think the buyer should have the seller pay for a complete rewire or walk. As I looked at the wiring it just seems a code violation at ever corner. No gfci on the counter tops etc... To the buyers credit he had an inspection done by a very good inspector and he caught a lot of this stuff.

rgsgww 01-30-2009 11:08 AM

Wow! scary stuff. That fan job sounds bad. I wonder what else you may find?

I found some job in my home done by previous owner An unused nm was taped up...the metal box was black from a short and the hot wire was extra short...something arced and melted the hot.

InPhase277 01-30-2009 12:38 PM


Originally Posted by joed (Post 221864)
The cover plate screws on the one switch would be live. How no one get shocked with this setup is a miracle?

Of course, that all depends on the switch's location relative to grounded objects. A hot switch located on a wall in the dining room or hallway may never shock anyone...

jbfan 01-30-2009 01:29 PM

I beleive a blind man had a better chance of wiring that thing right.
What a mess.

Ultrarunner2017 01-30-2009 01:47 PM

I love and hate reading about these botch jobs. I feel bad for anyone who buys a home, then finds that he/she has all of this bad wiring to replace. I think in most states, the seller is responsible for the cost of rewiring, as long as the problems are caught before the closing.
What's really scary in situations like this is that a guy who would do such a botch job in the places you discovered, could have done even worse inside the walls where you haven't yet inspected.
Like junctions without boxes, as I have seen described and pictured on this forum.

It's amazing that we don't have more house fires than we do.


frenchelectrican 01-30-2009 03:44 PM


I did see simuair arrangement what you draw up the diagram which I ran into more than once before and some peoples don't take the time to double check the connections there.


Stubbie 01-30-2009 04:07 PM

Hi Marc

Well.... my gut feeling is this guy has several wiring errors. I'm not sure if it is one of those jobs you just throw up your arms and say 'not for me' and walk.

frenchelectrican 01-31-2009 12:30 AM

Yeah stubbie it will be a 50/50 split right there and between both USA and European system there is not much differnace on how some of the hacks done that.

No matter which side of pond I am at the answer always be the same .,, Not amused what they done to it. I did see some more crazier stuff at it own merits.


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