Contractor hit a wire while nailing up moulding in kitchen

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On Oct 14, 10:29pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

That's really my point. Just as someone else was saying in another thread how a newbie DIYer tries to not poke any holes and makes small access holes - how that's counterproductive and an actual waste of time most of the time - I'm constantly evaluating the work I'm doing for efficiency and risk/reward. I hardly ever use a stud scanner as I use my other senses to locate the stud - sound and touch. I can hear and feel how a hammer tapped on a wall changes as it crosses over a stud. After that the studs are going to be on 16's. I could break out the scanner and locate every stud, but that won't improve my final product or increase my speed.
We appear to have some different ways of approaching a project - no surprise there. I accept that you can't have it all spelled out, there will always be surprises, and the really odd ones are totally unavoidable no matter how carefully you think it through. If the idiot who did the wacky installation did something stupid, it probably won't be something you can deduce. At a certain point you just have to jump in, and of course, trust your instincts.
R
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Seems clear to me......a reasonable statement of the "latent and concealed conditions" concept that has be the "at issue" in 100's if not 1000's of court cases.
Contractors are not expected to have x-ray vision but engineers are supposed to be able to see into the future. :)
If the contract used a reasonably sized fastener and he reasonably placed it and it hits a hidden wire that itself was poorly placed then he is not at fault.
But if he used a grossly inappropriately sized fastener or placed on poorly...then he is at fault.
Just an application of the legal concept of "a prudent man" .....which btw seems to have died an untimely death back in 70's when stupidity took took over as the reigning concept in jury decisions.
cheers Bob
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On Tue, 13 Oct 2009 05:51:34 -0700 (PDT), RicodJour

Just about every stud finder out there also detects live AC wires - no reason a contractor should EVER hit an un-expected live wire.
There is a live wire there untill you prove there is not. PERIOD. ASSuming there is not is both dangerous and foolhardy.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca writes:

- Do you know any (professional) carpenter who uses a stud finder before every shooting every nail? Maybe they should but it's not something I have seen...
- Also, the AC detector is hardly failsafe, especially behind 1920's era plaster & lathe. Yes, it *may* detect a wire that is against the surface 1/2" sheetrock but if it is behind 1/2" (or more) plaster and 1/2 of lathe and maybe another 1/2-1" of stud then it likely won't detect it. (And in houses with horsehair plaster you do need longer nails since you need to penetrate the plaster and the lathe to get to the stud)

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I disagree with this.
The contractor was putting up molding on the ceiling. Any wires should be in the middle of the plate approximately 2 1/4" from the face of the plaster or wall board. If the trim was 3/8", then you would have to be using a pretty long nail to hit any wires that one might reasonably expect.
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On Wed, 14 Oct 2009 00:20:21 -0700, "Roger Shoaf"

And we still don't know how long the nail was, do we???
Lots of guys use 2 1/2 in ardox finish nails to install cove molding. And we don't KNOW the wire was inside a 2X4. It may have been running down the side of the stud, strapped on properly. With a power nailer, if he missed the stud it could quite concievably puncture the wire. Without a stud finder he has no idea if he's nailing into a stud or not.
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On Oct 14, 6:01pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

That was one of the first questions asked, and there was no answer.

Right. Carpenters for hundreds of years had no idea how to locate a stud. Sheesh.
R
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If it shorts out again, it should blow the breaker again. Me, I'd want to take the area apart, and separate, and tape the wires. But, that's just me. From where I sit, it appears a very low risk of further problems.
This does not constitute legal or contractor advise, and I accept no liability for your decision.
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On Oct 13, 8:43am, "Stormin Mormon"

The nail could have partially severed one of the conductors. In that happened, he now could have 18 gauge wire instead of 12. Put enough load on it and it gets hot, melts, arcs and if something flamable is nearby, which isn't that unusual in an old house, he could have a fire.

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Don't worry. The fact that he read it on the internet wouldn't carry much weight anyway. Doubt if you'll be getting a subpoena :-)
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I will bet if he knew you would not hold him responsible he would say fix it, just like he would in his own house. And in the same line of thought, he doesnt care what he hides from you.
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Chances are nothing will happen but it's possible you could have a short there. It happened to me. A problem could occur if you have two appliances plugged into the same circuit and they complete the circuit. If you had two guitar players or mics in the same circuit and the musicians touched it could be deadly. You need to open the wall up. Pull the wire out. Cut it and splice it back together in a control box. Sorry for the bad news but there is a potential problem. BTW: the same thing happened to me. I destroyed a computer when I plugged it into a printer on a different outlet.
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BTW: ....get an electrician to fix it.
I read Christopher Young's post and got nervous. :-)
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And I would assume that a good electrician could just run a new wire from the attic down the wall to the outlet or whatever, disconnecting the old wire. A lot neater than the messy job of opening the wall and repatching.
Tom G.
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re: "And I would assume that a good electrician could just run a new wire "
Of course, that's *after* assuming that the wire in question is nothing more than a point to point run, with access to both endpoints.
In a house that old, with "upgrades" that may not have used best practices, that wire could run between 2 concealed junction boxes or whatever.
We can already assume that things weren't done to code since the wire is assumed to have been too close to the surface, so who knows what else was done "wrong".
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Mine was pretty easy to fix. But since I didn't have an attic.
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Tom G wrote:

Not to mention that it isn't code to patch it unless you leave access to the new junction box.
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short = connection that's not supposed to be connected Example: The nail caused a short betwen the hot and neutral.
open = connection that's supposed be there, but isn't. Example: The nail broke the wire, and now the wire is open.
Was your computer fried from an open neutral? So the power was going from black to black, instead of returning through the open neutral wire?
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Don't remember but as I recall I screwed in too deep and got the short on the drill I was using. I'm assuming 'short' because it sparked. It didn't just die. I backed the screw out and thought it would be ok. Then I plugged in my computer and got a spark enough to fry the board. Man did that suck. But being a musician I figured I was lucky it was my computer.
When I opened up the wall there was a pretty good sized black spot on the wire. Something caused it to fry the computer/printer ~ ground or neutral caused it to short. I assume. Maybe you can dx from my description.
Was an easy but expensive. I just opened up a small hole and installed a control box where it shorted. I actually did it on another spot in the ceiling too.
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Master Betty wrote:

We had damaged wiring in our condo when the upstairs neighbor nailed flooring through the conduit. The guy seemed to play dumb, denied using power nailer. There were two breaker trips while nailing, but the power was on when the breaker was reset. Third time was the charm - no power after resetting the breaker. To make a long story short, the final nail caused the copper wire to burn through entirely. After the wire on the circuit was replaced, we got the old wire to keep for posterity. There were numerous nicks in the insulation that exposed bare copper. Some of the nicks also had black char marks around them on the insulation. Our condo board, as usual, got pissy about paying and we had two electricians involved. The electrician who did the final work said that the conduit was too close to the floor above and was a code violation.
FWIW, isn't it normal to nail molding to the studs? Any reason not to? Don't know the best practice on that, but a conversation with the contractor might convince him to open the wall and make the needed repair to the wall if wiring is bad.
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