Usually two inspections are needed for new construction. One for the rough
while the walls are open, then the final. It may have passed the first as
there were no visible problems and this is why the require a second.
First off, if the drywall people did screw into the wiring, it's
because your electrician either didn't use a nail plate where he
should have or didn't use a piggyback cable retainer when running more
than two pieces of Romex along a stud.
As for switching wires, it's easy enough to tell if the screw shorted
the black to ground. Simply disconnect the wires and do a continuity
test. Code requires the neutral to be a separate wire from the ground.
That way, if there's ever an open in the neutral, the ground can carry
the fault and prevent frying somebody. Right now, it doesn't seem like
that's what you've got.
I feel sorry for the electrician because he's going to have to run new
romex. But this stuff happens all the time and it's precisely why the
code requires nail plates over drilled-through studs and piggyback
cable retainers that center the cables on the stud to keep them away
from drywall screws.
Bottom line--He screwed up. He's going to have to fix it.
On Tue, 10 Jun 2008 01:44:43 GMT, "Doobielicious"
If, in fact, that is the problem, it is not much different than the fact
that the neutral and ground still end up on the same bar in the panel. He
effectively just change the color of the wire.
The problems though, is that if lights are on that wire, the switch is no
longer breaking the hot, but breaking the neutral. Problem number two is
that you just don't know if the black is just hitting the ground. It may be
screwed through and into something else, such as a copper line that can
become the ground. The screw may have also broken or severely damaged the
black wire. I'd want the real problem found and fixed.
Well, that's the way it used to be. New main panels separate the
neutral bus from the grounding bus. The whole point is to keep the
neutral and ground lines separate in the event of an open
neutral--even from the main panel to the grounding rod or plumbing.
Point out your concerns to the inspector. He has the final word. Either
it's acceptable or it's not. Why all this tap dancing? If it fails, call
the GC and tell him it failed, and why, and to send a different electrician
to fix it. Maybe it will pass, and you're jousting with windmills.
If it passes, then the inspector isn't any more competent than the
electrician. There are multiple Code violations here:
a) at least one place where the cable isn't adequately protected against nail
or screw penetration
b) damaged cable as a result of a)
c) neutral conductor now connected to something grounded as a result of b)
d) use of black wire for neutral
e) use of white wire for hot
f) hot and neutral reversed at EVERY receptacle on the circuit
g) EVERY switch on the circuit in the neutral conductor instead of the hot
Most of this thread is stuff I don't understand - which is neutral,
ground, etc. Last summer, the upstairs
neighbor in our condo was remodeling. He put in new flooring. We had
three electrical outages in part
of our unit, the third being the final one because resetting the breaker
didn't work the last time. At the
moment the power went out the first time, hubby and I were sitting in
our dining room and heard the
hammer hit the floor upstairs right above us at the moment the power
went out. The last time it went out, I went
upstairs right away to talk to the idiot doing the work. He explained
what and where he was working,
which helped greatly when the electrician arrived.
Bottom line, the electrician said the conduit between our units was too
close to the flooring above - it should
have been deeper in the rafter space. He also said that he had no doubt
the nails had penetrated the conduit
because the guy used a power nailer (which he had denied). The
electrician knew precisely what do do,
based on where we told him the damage had occurred. Just to prove the
line that he believed was damaged
was actually the one, he switched two connections at the main panel.
That didn't work, so he started pulling
the bad wire out - it had burnt through entirely and had numerous nicks
in the insulation from nail penetrations.
I was amazed that the electrician was able to feed new wire through the
conduits as far as he was able to - I had
pictured someone tearing all my ceilings open to fix the problem.
So, in the situation with a contractor and a sub, I certainly would put
my concerns in writing to the contractor and
ask him to correct the problem to code, with a different electrician if
need be. Whoever hired the electrician should
be the person dealing with him. A chat with the contractor is proof of
nothing if the situation goes bad; a nice, busi-
ness-like letter is better.
You can label a wire on both ends using a tag or paint to make it
another color. In other words you can put black tape on both ends of
a white wire to use it as a hot wire. Any experienced electrician
should know what it takes to pass inspection. Personally, I don't
give a rat's ass about a government inspection, but I do care about
Only under certain circumstances. And this isn't one of them.
A *black* wire is *never* permitted to be re-identified as a neutral.
And what about the damage to the cable? What about the fact that all of the
receptacles on the circuit have the hot and neutral reversed? What about the
fact that all the switches on the circuit now break the neutral side instead
of the hot side?
If you care about safety, then you shouldn't be suggesting, as you appear to
be, that there's *anything* legitimate about what this dangerously incompetent
baboon masquerading as an electrician did.
I'm sure after the feedback you've received here your mind is pretty well
made up. I have to chime in and agree with the majority about the
electrician. I know a little bit about house wiring, not enough to be an
expert like some of those posting here. But even I know that putting your
switches in the neutral line is a huge no-no.... From what you have
described, you need to voice your displeasure with the GC about the
situation. Since the electrician is trying to pull a fast one, you need to
have someone you have confidence in. Let's face it, of the home utilities,
electric can be the trickiest and most potentially dangerous. And I would
still let the inspector know what happened, he may want to give closer
scrutiny to the rest of the job. Who knows, maybe this particular
electrician has a past history of working like this. His job isn't to bust
the electrician's balls, but it is to protect you, the homeowner. I had an
electrical inspection done after a major remodel, and he just gave the panel
a cursory once over. So, speak up to the GC, and please keep us posted with
the outcome. Mark
P.S. Buy a $5 tester and check ALL of his outlets for peace of mind.
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