Burnt Wire


I am currently in the process of house shopping. This is my first house, so budget is everything. I found a nice home in my target area well within my budget. Reading the spec sheet, I noticed the house was rewired in the mid 80's. Thinking to myself that this was too good to be true, I went and viewed the property. The house wasn't perfect on the inside, but nothing a coat of paint wouldn't fix. It was smooth sailing until I reached the basement. I looked up to catch a quick view of the wiring and there was a big old burn mark on 1 wire. The realtor tried to cover it with his thumb, but I saw it. I went in for a closer inspection and noticed that it was burnt black! Well, this scared the *!#& out of me and decided to continue looking at other properties. When looking at other properties however, I found myself comparing them to the house I turned my nose up to. Before I do any life changing decisions (Like buy the place), I want to know if I should be concerned, or if I should buy the place and have that 1 wire changed. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Replacing a burnt wire is always a good idea. I would investigate a little further and find out what all the wire went to and what the circuit breaker size is, as compared to wire size. I am guessing the circuit breaker is too large to supply the demand put on the wire. Hey, it hasn't burned down.............yet! :-) Then estimate the cost of repair and deduct from the price you want to offer. Hell, many times the realtor will have the repairs made to make a sale.
Hank
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On Wed, 9 Sep 2009 02:14:26 -0700 (PDT), "Hustlin' Hank"

That's good advice.
--
I filter all messages from google groups.

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I think you mean "cable", when you say wire, and I think you saw a cable with a burn on it, as opposed to a cable that was overheated by an internal conductor, to the point of burning. In all likelihood, it's perfectly fine. Cables like this are pretty common, especially near locations where plumbers have been sweating pipes. It's not a big deal to repair, and certainly should not be a deal breaker. You can even have it's repair as a condition of the sale
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*As RBM said if that is the only thing wrong with the place don't let it discourage you. During your inspection process you could bring in an electrician to have a look. Don't rely on the home inspector. If it is a problem it can be corrected.
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John Grabowski wrote:

Having just sold a house to some overly demanding people, I'd say that you should put this repair in the contract. My buyers actually "respectfully requested" that we provide them a new furnace to replace the perfectly working 20 year old high efficiency unit! And, this was after they signed the contract. BTW, we didn't give in on this one, but they did get manage to get both realtors and both lawyers to "kick in something" to finally seal the deal. I don't believe in making demands post contract, however, it seems to be the norm especially in a bad seller's market.
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That would be the first time I ever heard of a lawyer kicking in something to make a house sale go through. The realtors, sure, because they only get paid if the deal closes and have a large enough commission so that they could kick in something to make a difference. The lawyers get paid regardless and their amount is so small $500-1000 so how would they kick in anything significant. Hard to imagine a $100 is going to fix a sale. If I were a lawyer, I'd say no way, just because it sets a very bad precedent.
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On Wed, 9 Sep 2009 11:03:35 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Heck, BEING a lawyer sets a bad precedent.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Actually my lawyer kicked in almost her entire fee just to get it over. We kicked in $100 to the lawyer because she did a lot of work for basically nothing.
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First thing is get yourself a new realtor! Willful concealment of a known defect is unconscionable and violates every realtor code of ethics in the country. I'd file a complaint with his agency-- and the state realty board!
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camryguy89 wrote:

We got "burnt wire" in our condo when the owner upstairs had new flooring put down. The first time the breaker tripped in our unit, my hubby and I were sitting almost directly below where the guy hammered the floor. Tripped again while we were not home. The final time, resetting the breaker did not restore power. Each time the guy acted clueless, "I don't know what I could have done..." The last time it tripped, I marched up there and asked exactly where he had been working, which was in kitchen midway betw. ceiling fixture and sink. When the electrician arrived, he first tried switching the wires to see if the circuit worked on a different breaker. Nada. He then started pulling out wire from the outed circuit and, alas, the heavy copper wire was burnt entirely through at exactly the point where the work was located.
Condo board got pissy about repairs, so the neighbor furnished a different electrician who rewired the circuit in question. Nice guy. He gave me the old wire, which had numerous nicks and black marks. Since he was hired by the other owner, he worked from above and had to open up some flooring in kitchen. Told me that the conduit was too high in the rafter space, thus too close to the floor being nailed. Owner denied using power nail gun, but elect. said that was only way to penetrate the conduit.
Two days ago, our AC quit. Have had trouble almost since install. Repair guy said this works, that works, but it arcs when he does something else, so it is grounded somewhere. I asked whether a nail through a wire would ground it. Yep. The guy has also done a little structural work, sans building permit. I complained to the city, and the clueless city guy said the guy denied structural work. End of story. Except that after they did some bathroom plumbing, I briefly had water dripping from the bathroom ceiling.
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clipped

Electrician came out re: our AC. Third-hand info is that the AC cabinet, the ground and the elec. conduit are energized. Power left on. Another electrician coming out tomorrow to tear up floor and replace conduit and wiring in the unit upstairs. Owner has had the unit empty, for sale, for about two years. His buddy, who does the work, said a couple of mos. ago that they were really hurting. Wonder how much more this will hurt.
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On Wed, 09 Sep 2009 16:24:57 -0400, " snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net"

I bet you're glad the idiot neighbor moved out. I wonder what percentage of DIY'ers are as bad as that one is. I would be very sceptical of buying an old house that had many previous owners.
For your sake I hope there won't be anymore mysterious problems later.
Gordon Shumway
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It could be a minor one-time issue. Or. It could be indicative of an ongoing problem. You need an inspector with electrical experience to look at it. A burn mark on the side of a wire could simply mean that someone worked on it hot at one time (maybe installing a fixture, etc) and caused a short that threw soot on it depending on what metals were contacted. I once turned my thumb black when a hot lead accidentally hit an aluminum ground, the spark vaporized a corner of aluminum and threw the soot an inch away to my thumb. There was nothing wrong with the circuit. Now if you saw a two feet of melted insulation, then I'd worry.
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camryguy89 wrote:

It may have been burn with a plumbers torch. Check/replace it.
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Thanks for all the great advice! You have given me lots to think about!
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The real estate agent should be fired. Total disclosure is law in all states, and trying to hide something like that is really scummy. Any building inspection would uncover issues like that, and if it has been done, you should ask for a copy.
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gwandsh wrote:

Never assume malice when ignorance is an adequate explanation. I probably looked at 100 places before I settled for this one, since interest rates were about to spike. Unless they send the agents to acting school, a lot of the ones I talked to were ignorant of basic residential construction. They got used to me showing up at the open houses with a flashlight, and insisting on going in the basement first. One of them about shit when I explained to her how a paneled basement wall was hiding a bowed foundation under a heaved front porch. Some of them actually seemed eager to learn, at least until the next sucker walked in the front door and they had to run. There were a few houses where I didn't even bother to look at the upstairs, and a couple where the upstairs was remodeled to a T, but the basement was a damp forest of jack poles and 6-foot pieces of steel, holding up 2x6 joists.
-- aem sends...
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On Tue, 8 Sep 2009 22:39:24 -0700 (PDT), against all advice,

Make a contingent offer, and then have a qualified electrician inspect as much of the wiring as he can. He should be able to tell you what needs to be done and how much it will cost. Then you can modify your offer depending on what you find out.
If the seller won't agree to this, find another house.
--

Don\'t worry about people stealing an idea. If it\'s original, you will
have to ram it down their throats.
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