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Old 01-13-2009, 07:02 PM   #46
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Unfused connectors MELTED House wires WHAT TO DO???


I don't think you can trust any wiring in that house! A full blown rewire would sound like a good idea!

I thought I found scary stuff in my basement...

That house is just waiting to go....

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Old 01-13-2009, 07:06 PM   #47
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Unfused connectors MELTED House wires WHAT TO DO???


You should post some at electrical-photos.com they would love them there!
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:20 PM   #48
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Unfused connectors MELTED House wires WHAT TO DO???


Oh my! I'm not an expert, but I recognize "way below code" when I see it. That house was a mess in the first place. After that accident, I wouldn't trust one single thing left in there.

Looks like the whole grounding system took a whole lot of current. The fact that many circuits were ungrounded, and the fact that the main was off, may have saved the house from burning down. Your folks are very lucky.
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:29 PM   #49
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Unfused connectors MELTED House wires WHAT TO DO???


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Originally Posted by rgsgww View Post
I don't think you can trust any wiring in that house! A full blown rewire would sound like a good idea!

I thought I found scary stuff in my basement...

That house is just waiting to go....
I agree. This would be a perfect time for a total rewire. Best advice I can give here is to check all of your smoke detectors immediately, and add as many as you need to bring the whole house up to spec.
I would shut off all breakers that are not absolutely necessary, and only keep them on during the day, when you're home. Perhaps installing some AFCI would be in order.
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:43 PM   #50
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Unfused connectors MELTED House wires WHAT TO DO???


Jamie;
I was shocked when I first started reading this thread; I recalled your thread a few days ago on the subject of Copper & Aluminum. You were discussing the situation in your dad's panel.

I am so happy for you and your dad that nobody was injured.
I am curious as to whether or not either of you had considered having POCO cut the power to your panel prior to doing this work.
I know that if I had to work with large (grounded) cables in my panel, I would not want to work on a live panel.
I have installed/removed plenty of circuit breakers in the live panel, but the smaller wires are so much easier to manipulate, and keep out of the way of the live parts.
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:55 PM   #51
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Unfused connectors MELTED House wires WHAT TO DO???


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Originally Posted by KE2KB View Post
I agree. This would be a perfect time for a total rewire. Best advice I can give here is to check all of your smoke detectors immediately, and add as many as you need to bring the whole house up to spec.
I would shut off all breakers that are not absolutely necessary, and only keep them on during the day, when you're home. Perhaps installing some AFCI would be in order.
Despite the electrician saying it was fine to have the breakers on (he said the ac was ok too, that was the melted thhn shown in the photos) I turned them off. My dad and I put in some new romex and did about 10 strands of THHN. Only new stuff is running. Well there are 2 piece of romex between 3 outlets that I have energized (now on a GFCI), We were able to physically see some of the wire and the connections and there was no sign of damage. So that is the only thing that is old that is energized. Also that wiring we run somewhat recently and we knew it was not cross connected in some burried junction box or anything else weird. But other than that, everyhing else else old is deenergized. I think there are several circuits that share a neutral (and no it is not a properly setup mwbc).

I'd like to see it all be new wiring by the time where done, and will hopefully come very close to that.

That kitchen floor is 4 inches of concrete. With a Hilte, we were able to drill and fish right through it up into the wall, went well.


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Old 01-13-2009, 08:00 PM   #52
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Unfused connectors MELTED House wires WHAT TO DO???


Quote:
Originally Posted by KE2KB View Post
Jamie;
I was shocked when I first started reading this thread; I recalled your thread a few days ago on the subject of Copper & Aluminum. You were discussing the situation in your dad's panel.

I am so happy for you and your dad that nobody was injured.
I am curious as to whether or not either of you had considered having POCO cut the power to your panel prior to doing this work.
I know that if I had to work with large (grounded) cables in my panel, I would not want to work on a live panel.
I have installed/removed plenty of circuit breakers in the live panel, but the smaller wires are so much easier to manipulate, and keep out of the way of the live parts.
Yes, it was something I was considering. I had no idea my dad was going to try and work on that cable himself. If I were to move that live, I would have made sure that it was done in a fashion that was safe, including wearing PPE. (I had my full face welding shield and jacket in mind.)...

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Old 01-13-2009, 08:04 PM   #53
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Unfused connectors MELTED House wires WHAT TO DO???


School me if this is a hijack. But, I've gotten a little nervous about my theoretical knowledge after reading this thread - I too have a house full of sub-standard wiring that I am in the process of fixing.

If I turn off my Main Breaker (the big one at the top labeled 200Amps this kills power to all my other breakers, right? I assume, however, there still must be somethings in front of the Main Breaker that are still 'live'.

Bottom line, how to I keep from making the same kind of DIYer mistake that OP's Dad made?

Leah - I check my smoke detectors weekly and I'm current on my homeowners - Frances
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Old 01-13-2009, 08:06 PM   #54
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Quote:
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Oh my! I'm not an expert, but I recognize "way below code" when I see it. That house was a mess in the first place. After that accident, I wouldn't trust one single thing left in there.

Looks like the whole grounding system took a whole lot of current. The fact that many circuits were ungrounded, and the fact that the main was off, may have saved the house from burning down. Your folks are very lucky.
Yes, I agree, after I saw that THHN mess I pulled from the AC conduit, I realized that there may very well be more melted wires in the walls.

The electrician that was suppose to come today called and said they have never done any meggering in a residential setting and they were not sure they could produce accurate results.

We are now aiming more towards a complete rewire to be on the safe side. Considering the messes I have started to find, the buried junction boxes, etc. I am sure it is the best decision. My dad got so fed up today, he was saying we will just knock holes here and there and etc etc.. I am like NO I can fish it.... Give me a few minutes...

Anyone know how to plaster?

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Old 01-13-2009, 08:13 PM   #55
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Unfused connectors MELTED House wires WHAT TO DO???


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
School me if this is a hijack. But, I've gotten a little nervous about my theoretical knowledge after reading this thread - I too have a house full of sub-standard wiring that I am in the process of fixing.

If I turn off my Main Breaker (the big one at the top labeled 200Amps this kills power to all my other breakers, right? I assume, however, there still must be somethings in front of the Main Breaker that are still 'live'.

Bottom line, how to I keep from making the same kind of DIYer mistake that OP's Dad made?

Leah - I check my smoke detectors weekly and I'm current on my homeowners - Frances
Off means your breakers are off and the buss bar after the main is de-energized. However the service entrance cable that feeds into your main breaker is still energized. This is normally unfused service and is very dangers, as you can see from the "demonstration". I've been warning people about unfused service for a while after reading of some people on here that had near-misses and they didn't have any idea how dangerous what they were doing was.

Any contact with the service entrance cables (if the insulation is worn down enough so you can contact the cables, which it often is on the old se cables) or with the main lugs that clamp down onto the service entrance cables is very dangerous. just draging wires that are bare or even the ends of insulated wires over these service entrance cables is a very bad idea.

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Old 01-13-2009, 10:14 PM   #56
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Unfused connectors MELTED House wires WHAT TO DO???


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Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
I had to remove a couple wires that were damage... Yea, that was just about all of them.
Pick your insulation material, find ignition temp., compare with that of wood.
http://www.tcforensic.com.au/docs/article10.html
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:10 AM   #57
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Unfused connectors MELTED House wires WHAT TO DO???


Maybe you can get that electrician who all but refused to do the megger test to work with the insurance adjuster in order for them to see that the house has "an extremely high probability of an electrical fire loss in the future" and "because of this accident," every circuit in the house must be replaced. In a perfect world...

Best of luck for you and your parents,

your neighbor to the west (and a couple degrees north, not that it matters; we both live in beautiful states).

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Old 01-14-2009, 06:03 AM   #58
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Unfused connectors MELTED House wires WHAT TO DO???


Maybe it's the insomnia talking but... why don't people shield the service entrance cables? I know that's what insulation is supposed to do, but wouldn't a simple non-conductive barrier offer some protection?

Don't worry, I'm not going to start installing cut up soda bottles into my panel, but if this situation harbors such potential danger, shouldn't there be something we can do about it?
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:18 AM   #59
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Unfused connectors MELTED House wires WHAT TO DO???


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Originally Posted by Leah Frances View Post
Maybe it's the insomnia talking but... why don't people shield the service entrance cables? I know that's what insulation is supposed to do, but wouldn't a simple non-conductive barrier offer some protection?

Don't worry, I'm not going to start installing cut up soda bottles into my panel, but if this situation harbors such potential danger, shouldn't there be something we can do about it?

Ive seen pictures of Federal Pioneer breaker panels that do have an enclosure inside the panel for the SE. They are in Canada though.

My Square D QO main breaker has lugs with plastic barriers on the side (So I never touch the lugs), I could put a temporary piece of duct tape over the face of the lugs when I work.

Watch out when the AC is on...don't want to bump that.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:24 AM   #60
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Unfused connectors MELTED House wires WHAT TO DO???


>>> How do I keep from making ...

Have a little paranoia. Connect the #4 wire to the panel before clamping it to the water pipe. (Or unclamp it from the water pipe before disconnecting it up in the panel.)

I now suspect that the OP's father was trying to disconnect the #4 ground wire from the panel and it slipped and touched the live service terminal nearby.

Measure the voltage between the #4 wire and the place you are going to connect it to before making the connection.

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