You think back yard mechanics or previous owners are bad...

Discussion in 'NFC Forum' started by kmead, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    This is an off topic thread so you can move it after a few people have seen it...

    So I have had a project waiting around my new house for me to get to.

    When I bought the house it had two circuits serving 1800 sf in the basement which had two bedrooms, a bath, a family room, a shop area and two storerooms. One circuit had over thirty hardwired elements on the circuit. The other which served the shop was more appropriately loaded.

    Additionally some of the work was a bit suspect. Apparently the electrician fancied himself as quite the solderer of wires.

    Keep in mind that this was all done by an electrician, I have found some other similar handiwork in several junction boxes around the house that I have been excising as I go along. All the things we all dislike about soldered connections apply here as well as my furnace wouldn’t run some of the time, come to find out it was a broken soldered connection hiding in electrical tape...

    The first image shows the 7, 3 wire groups after removing the tape on them to expose the fine handiwork. Keep in mind these were inhabiting a 4x4 junction box. 22 conductors in all including the box ground.


    The next shows the chopped out soldered assemblies.


    Finally where I am now. I have lots of stapling and clean up to do, along with some labeling. I added a sub panel using the two circuits from our now defunct cooktop (another story), I had to add a ground wire as the electrician who ran the new wires to the cooktop didn’t bother with 3+G so I could keep the neutral and the ground separated. (You no longer bond the neutral in a sub panel to the ground).


    The diagonal wire “lights supply” will be going back to another circuit, when the pic was taken I hadn’t re routed that one. It’s also a panoramic pic so the one junction box looks a bit wonky in the center of the image...

    Attached Files:

  2. ianlawson

    ianlawson ian - NZ

    Ye Gods, Karl!!! While many of us "home-handymen" pride ourselves on how smart we are by saving cash and doing many home-repair jobs ourselves, the jerk who did all that "repair" work needs throwing in jail!!
    I would presume that whoever did that work DOES NOT call himself a tradesman!! :confused:

    cheers, IanL - NZ
  3. bigwalt333

    bigwalt333 Daily Driver

    Wow, Karl!! A little bit scary! Soldering 120 volt connections, yikes!
  4. JimD

    JimD Waiting for Godot... Moderator

    Missouri, USA
    That is scary Karl.

    My biggest wiring issue in my "new" house right now is a basement light that flickers on and off. New bulb didn't help, so I finally removed the bulb till I find time to look at it. I am betting on a loose wire, but who knows.
  5. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Sin City
    That electrician would have made top technician at a Fiat dealer in the '70s.
    kmead likes this.
  6. Clark

    Clark True Classic

    Arthur, Ontario
    Oh wow!!! I am just in the process of getting the rough-in inspection at my place in Ontario. I have 53 different points to be inspected and they check every one. I can't imagine this ever being inspected by someone who guarantees the quality of work on the behalf of all who will live in that house in the future. People think they are saving money.... but they are also taking other people's lives into their own hands. There is a reason for the code that we all have to follow.
  7. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    It was all covered with masses of electrical tape, so although it was a horror show from a repairability and general quality, it was “safe” though I am not one to rely on the vagaries of electrical tape for safety with line voltage. I wouldn’t touch anything in there without the breaker shut off.

    I suspect that at the time this house was built they didn’t have inspections out here, where we live now in the 1970’s was a rural area. When I inspected the house to buy it, I knew I had some things in front of me, just didn’t expect some of the things have I found since.

    Hopefully I have excised the majority of demons.

    A project in the spring will be to have a real electrician come and replace the main panel which is chock full, and I mean completely full, as well as old... At least it isn’t all jimmied. But I do hate working in it as there is no main shut off so the box is always hot. Hopefully I will also get rid of this sub panel and run a new circuit line to each of the junction boxes at this end of the house to keep all breakers in one place. This will coincide with a new kitchen followed by my garage.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  8. Smaugz

    Smaugz Don Moreau

    Looks like proper wiring for "The Edison Electric Chair" without the chair. I guess the dreaded P.O. applies to everything. Good luck "resafing" your house.
  9. Andy

    Andy True Classic

    Medford, Oregon
    Winding and soldering wires like that was the standard method of splicing wires back in the knob and tube days, so perhaps he was an old time electrician.

    Regardless it is not an accepted practice anymore. Your sub-panel looks nice, and sounds like the best option.
  10. Dr.Jeff

    Dr.Jeff True Classic

    Sin City
    Sounds just like what a recent purchaser of an old Fiat might say.
    kmead likes this.
  11. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    Ouch so, so true!

    My 87 X is a lot like that as well. I seem to have a serial optimistic streak...
  12. dragonsgate

    dragonsgate True Classic

    First buy several fire alarms for the house.

    Get a book or books that follow national code. code.jpg This is my favorite one of the three books I used when I built my house.

    This handy tool comes in... uh, handy when testing the wiring. tester.jpg

    I would say you have some major rewiring to do.

    I guess one of the worst wiring jobs I saw was when redoing a dance studio into an art gallery.

    There was four electric wall heaters that I removed were wired in series.

    The supposedly certified electrician had wires them in series with #12 wire. The wiring to the last two heaters was brittle and the insulation burned away from load heat.

    I doubt it would have made it through another winter with out some problems.

    The guy is my age (old) and still running around town doing electrical work.

    Every time I see him I wonder what else he has jury rigged.

    I wouldn't trust the guy to put new batteries in my flashlight.

    Anyway go over every inch of the wiring and replace all the solder/electric tape with wire nuts in junction boxes.

    It's -2 out side and my electricity has gone off three times in the last hour while typing this so signing off. Best of luck.....
    kmead likes this.
  13. kmead

    kmead Old enough to know better

    Yup that is my intent. I think this was the last of them and the worst of all of them. Thanks!

    I have that book as well, bought it at Menards where I get most all my supplies for my house.
  14. ianlawson

    ianlawson ian - NZ

    Yep, I agree with Dragonsgate there!! :eek:. Methinks you have got a MAJOR rewire job ahead of you now!
    Wow, what a mess that so-called "electrician" has left you with!! Good luck, buddy!

    cheers, IanL - NZ

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