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Old 05-22-2008, 05:29 AM   #1
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The perfect example of who should NOT do electrical work


My father in law is a go getter. Not afraid to tackle anything. But, over the last few weeks has been scaring me! He just built a garage and wired it up for electricity. When I saw his rough wiring, it was okay except for a few wires being a bit on the short side entering boxes. He had asked me to help him with the 3 way switch. I wired it all up for him, but he didn't have the actual switches so I wrote down what wire hooks to where on each switch.

The next day he calls me... "hey, you wired this wrong, there is a dead short". So I go over and check it. Turns out he had changed the wiring after not being able to find the paper i left him. He went next door to his son's house to see how his was wired and tried to duplicate it. The problem was I wired it for switch-switch-ficture, but his sons was wired fixture-switch-switch. I went over there to find out that he took the wires in the box and pigtailed them to the switrch... so there were 2 neutrals pigtailed hooked to a traveler, 2 hots pigtailed hooked to a traveler and the red hooked to the common.

He had 6 fixtures, so he capped off 5 and installed 1 to test. When he capped them, he nutted the neutrals and hots together!!!


Then, I get out my tester to check all his outlets and come across 2 black outlets that were showing hot ground reverse... turns out it was some type of specialty outlet... but he was going to use them because he had them laying around!!!

I dont know what to do with him anymore!! I am afraid hes going to kill himself or someone else! And, when he has a problem, there is NO WAY he would ever call an electrician. He's so cheap... he'd never pay for it. The man re uses bent nail!

If you were in this situation, would you keep bailing him out and going to fix when he has problems? I can't charge him, because I am not an electrician. But, I do know enough to troubleshoot and fix alot of stuff. I know my limits of what I can and cant do...

What do you guys think?
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Old 05-22-2008, 06:34 AM   #2
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If you were an electrician and you charged your father-n-law you better see if he has a spare bed. I think your wife would kick you out. Just keep helping and hope he doesn't get hurt. At least he tries.
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Old 05-22-2008, 07:49 AM   #3
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As an inspector, I see a lot of people just like your father in law. There seems to be no limit to what they'll do to avoid paying someone to do something for them. But, they don't seem to have a good grasp on the limits to their own skill. I've seen a number of guys like this self-contract their own new homes. Inspecting those is an all-day ordeal, because I feel obligated to hold their hand and explain every item I write, and how to fix it.

My father in law is a first class mechanic, but a horrible carpenter. I stopped by his house to find him installing a sliding window in the side wall of his garage, which bears some very long rafters. His header was a flat 2x4 about 6 feet long. I had to have a gently-worded framing intervention with him to teach him the virtue of headers!
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Old 05-22-2008, 09:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CowboyAndy View Post
If you were in this situation, would you keep bailing him out and going to fix when he has problems?
What kind of inheritance are you looking at here? That might sway me in my choice!
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Old 05-22-2008, 10:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
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What kind of inheritance are you looking at here? That might sway me in my choice!
Well, I won't get anything, per se... but my wife gets 1/6th of 400 acres, a sand and gravel pit, an apartment building and 8 windmills @ $11,000 a year...

So long as my wife doesn't divorce me for not wanting to help him...

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Old 05-22-2008, 11:58 AM   #6
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Just keep helping him out. I always have relatives supply the beer for their projects. They all know by now that hiring a pro is cheaper than buying me beer.
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Old 05-22-2008, 12:53 PM   #7
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Does he pull permits and get inspections for his work?

I suppose I can guess the answer...
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Old 05-22-2008, 02:54 PM   #8
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Just keep helping him out. I always have relatives supply the beer for their projects. They all know by now that hiring a pro is cheaper than buying me beer.

Might work for you, but all my cheapskate relatives drink Blatz
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Old 05-22-2008, 03:59 PM   #9
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If you know how to wire his garage then perhaps you should give it a good once over and fix whatever problems there are during the process. Hopefully when you're done everything will work and he'll give you at least a pat on the back. He will probably help you out in the future and you and your wife and father in law will sleep better at night knowing the garage won't burn down.
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Old 05-23-2008, 05:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junkcollector View Post
Does he pull permits and get inspections for his work?

I suppose I can guess the answer...
I'm sure you can guess...


He thinks that permits are a scam to get money from you...



Quote:
Originally Posted by Super33 View Post
If you know how to wire his garage then perhaps you should give it a good once over and fix whatever problems there are during the process. Hopefully when you're done everything will work and he'll give you at least a pat on the back. He will probably help you out in the future and you and your wife and father in law will sleep better at night knowing the garage won't burn down.
I did in this case give everything a good once over, and if I hadnt then he would have had some major issues... had i not tested all the receptacles then he would have used those 2 "specilty" receps. I am not even sure what they were for, but the tester showed hot/ground reverse. He would have plugged into them without flinching...
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silk View Post
Might work for you, but all my cheapskate relatives drink Blatz
Yuck, you do have a problem.
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:21 AM   #12
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kingsmurf


okay I can help . . .so much to teach to so many and so little time

please just follow these simple instructions based on the apparent
inheiritance involved and my complete lack of an non-dog food eatin'
retirement

* works slow here . . .put me up at your house . .I'm a working sparky
I'll finish wiring Da's house
* remember you married the ENTIRE family
* once I have finished Da's house . .life will be better for you

* and of course you'll remember my service when you inherit . .since I
will at that point in life need a wee retirement home . .I'll take a
couple of the apartments for a wee cairn and then super and maintain
the balance for you
* Oh . . .I'll need a wee pension to keep local tavern in solvency as well

Auch..if only all of lifes problems were soi easy to fix


next ?
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