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Old 09-03-2009, 06:15 PM   #1
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My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor...


My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor knows how to do electrical work.

How many times have you heard something simular to this?

These 2 photos are for reference as to why it is important to know what you are doing when doing electrical work...even changing receptacles.

The first photo is the reminance of the neutral wire and what's left of the insulation. Notice that it was installed backwards on the screw? It was so loose that I was able to just pull it off. I did not loosen the screw at all.

Second photo is of the other side, showing that the hot (black) wire was also installed backwards, though it's screw was tight. The wire in the photo is the neutral on the other side. Nice bubble, huh? Can we say fire hazard?

This was a 2 prong receptacle on a 20 amp breaker, 12/2 romex, running a microwave (yes, they had a 3 prong to 2 prong adaptor in use...tsk tsk tsk). The ground wire inside the box was cut to a length of 1-1/4 inches, needless to say it wasn't hooked up.

The perils of letting your brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor do electrical work, when they are not qualified.
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Old 09-03-2009, 06:29 PM   #2
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My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor...


That's why electrical boxes are fireproof, uncles, cousins, etc., etc.

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Old 09-03-2009, 06:45 PM   #3
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My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor...


Great example pics. Lack of attention to detail is often the most dangerous thing with DIYers, hack handymen, and even the occasional electrician. For example, putting both phase conductors of a multiwire branch circuit on the same phase in the panel...It doesn't jump out as a problem to people that aren't electricians but it'll burn a house down as fast as matches. Forgetting little bonding screws can get someone shocked or killed. On and on and on....
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:23 PM   #4
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My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor...


Looks like the way my house was "wired." Must have been worked on by the same brother's friend's uncle's cousin's neighbor.

One inch of ground wire in a box? Check.

Wires wrapped the wrong way around the screws? Check.

Backstabbed receptacles with an inch and a half of insulation removed? Check.

The worst offenders have all been corrected now, but man, for a while there I was cursing daily. I can't figure out how the previous owner managed to not burn the place to the ground.
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:31 PM   #5
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My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor...


I deal with it on a daily basis. Literally. I see it often in Georgia, but in Alabama, it is everywhere I look. When I'm shopping, I see where some hack has banjoed an extension cord between high bay lights. When I'm eating at the steak house, there's receptacles on the ceiling without a box screwed to the wood. When I'm getting my hair cut.. well, you get the idea. And I see this when I'm not even at work! Good God, you should see what I see when I'm actually doing electrical service!

At the hardware store, I see Bob's Remodeling loading up some 2x4's, a few sheets of drywall, some plumbing supplies, and a few rolls of wire
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Old 09-03-2009, 08:16 PM   #6
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InPhase, my wife gets really tired of my "that doesn't meet code" commentary whenever we go anywhere. I hear ya.
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:08 PM   #7
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My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor...


Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
InPhase, my wife gets really tired of my "that doesn't meet code" commentary whenever we go anywhere. I hear ya.
Haha it's funny because I'm not even an electrician but whenever I see something odd I'll ask myself "wonder if that's even to code" Which reminds me about a nice bank of 20 amp breakers with oldish 14awg wire.... tsk tsk... I need to change that.

This caught my attention though:

Quote:
For example, putting both phase conductors of a multiwire branch circuit on the same phase in the panel...It doesn't jump out as a problem to people that aren't electricians but it'll burn a house down as fast as matches.
What exactly does this refer to? I figured this was impossible to do because of how the phases are staggered xyxyxyxyx etc so a double breaker will always have 2 phases.
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:17 PM   #8
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My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
This caught my attention though:

What exactly does this refer to? I figured this was impossible to do because of how the phases are staggered xyxyxyxyx etc so a double breaker will always have 2 phases.
Used to be it was to code to use 2 single breakers
They should have been installed side by side & tied together
But in many cases were not
And could be moved, especially by someone who doesn't know better
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:41 PM   #9
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My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Used to be it was to code to use 2 single breakers
They should have been installed side by side & tied together
But in many cases were not
And could be moved, especially by someone who doesn't know better
Ah I see, and they'd still share the same neutral? Yeah I see how that would be bad. You end up with potentially 30 amps on the neutral, assuming two 15 amp circuits and full load right?
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:50 PM   #10
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My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor...


Yup - that's the problem
I've never run a true MWBC any distance
I have (3) that run off 20a 240v breakers
They run a total of 6" maybe where they go into timers
There they seperate into (2) 120v 20a runs (Christmas Display)
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:54 PM   #11
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My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor...


I see the overloaded neutrals a LOT when tandem (mini) breakers are used.

Most tandems have both poles on the same leg, so if it feeds a 3 wire, the neutral is overloaded. And as stated above, it certainly can start a fire.

Rob

P.S. One of my sons is a 4th year electrical apprentice; whenever we're together, we ALWAYS notice code violations. Some places, we laugh so hard.....

Last edited by micromind; 09-03-2009 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:01 PM   #12
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My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor...


On the same subject, as a professional electrician, I've probably installed a dozen or so 30 amp single pole breakers in houses in my entire career. Usually they feed 30 amp RV receptacles.

Just exactly why is it that all the big-box stores have at least 20 or so of these in stock??!!!?

I don't know how many times I've heard something like "Uncle Bob said to put a 30 in, that'll keep it from tripping".

It continues to amaze me that there aren't more electrical fires.

Rob
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:02 PM   #13
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My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
That's why electrical boxes are fireproof, uncles, cousins, etc., etc.
NO! That's why we have to put Electrical splices into boxes! A/o to low voltage low wattage signaling devices, except for power supplies of alarm systems! (No matter what Don't Drink and Drive, Ever!!!
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:58 AM   #14
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My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor...


Quote:
Originally Posted by micromind View Post
On the same subject, as a professional electrician, I've probably installed a dozen or so 30 amp single pole breakers in houses in my entire career. Usually they feed 30 amp RV receptacles.

Just exactly why is it that all the big-box stores have at least 20 or so of these in stock??!!!?

I don't know how many times I've heard something like "Uncle Bob said to put a 30 in, that'll keep it from tripping".

It continues to amaze me that there aren't more electrical fires.

Rob
I can't imagine what other loads in a residence would need a 30 A single pole. Maybe a kitchen sink insta-hot. If they put a big sticker on them that said "RV Breaker" people would limit there use.

Guess what? My local Mom and Pop hardware has 30, 40, 50, and 60 A SINGLE POLES on the shelf! I haven't seen them installed anywhere yet, but I bet some super-overloaded 14 AWG circuit is being protected at 60 A.
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Old 09-04-2009, 07:39 AM   #15
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My brothers friends uncles cousins neighbor...


Possibly a carryover from the fuse days
15a blows, pit in a 20a fuse, that goes then there is the 30a
And if all else fails bring Abe in

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