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Old 11-14-2009, 07:00 PM   #1
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handling unsafe work by an electrician

I'm seeking advice on how to handle unsafe work done by a supposedly professional electrician.

A friend who is a former contractor and an apprentice electrician wants me to report the electrician I used to the authorities. An electrician I've met suggests that I get my lawyer to write a letter demanding my money back from the electrician I hired.

One reason I'm very reluctant to bring in the authorities is that I never pulled a permit for this or other work, so I don't want a city inspector in my apartment. Besides, I wanted the electrician to connect 2 water heaters to the same circuit for a very short time (but only one would be active at a time, and I planned to remove the old one as soon as the new one was on line). Obviously, I'm OK with some code violations.... That's why I've been willing to write the incident off - but if he's normally doing this sort of work, perhaps he should be stopped. (I live in a condo - in 12 years here, no one has ever pulled a permit for in-unit work.)

Here's a draft of a letter that outlines the problem.

I'd really appreciate hearing from working electricians on this - if you knew that someone did this work, what do you think I should do?

Is this a mistake - and everybody makes mistakes - or is this type of work simply inexcusable?

Sorry for being so wordy.


Wu Xing Ming

__________________________________________________ _

Dear Mr. Electrician:

On July 6 of this year, you came to my apartment to replace an old 120V circuit with a new 240V circuit. When we scheduled the work and when you arrived to do the work I told you the following:

1) The new circuit would support a new 40 or 50 gallon electric water heater.
2) I would be happy to pay for pulling new wire, if the old wire was too thin for the new water heater.

You asked no questions about the electrical requirements of the new WH. You initially connected the circuit to a 120V single-pole 15 Amp circuit breaker. After the new WH was installed, the breaker kept tripping, and you responded very quickly by connecting the circuit to a 240V 2-pole 20 Amp breaker.

Current code clearly requires 10 gauge wire and a 25 or 30 Amp breaker for this water heater (4500W, 240V). I am aware that many electricians instead use a 20 Amp breaker and 12 gauge wire, and if you had done that, I would not be writing.

You used, in fact, 14 gauge wire - over 50 of 14 gauge wire where 10 gauge was called for by code. Other electricians seem to agree this is decidedly not safe!
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Old 11-14-2009, 07:07 PM   #2
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#1 Pulling a permit is required by law
If you had pulled a permit & followed the inspection process his work would have been failed by an Inspector

#2 This site is geared towards DIY, not legal issues

Being "OK" with some Code violations is NOT OK
That's how people get hurt & fires start

I suggest you contact your local building Dept & follow the permit & Inspection process in the future
Contact a lawyer if you wish to pursue this matter

Thank you

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