Short Circuit - Caused by nail


Hi;
I have a short circuit in part of my house - the breaker immediately trips when I try to reset it and it's not the breaker because I tried switching the wires with another good breaker and it makes it trip as well.
I checked all the outlets and light switches in the two affected rooms, everything looked ok, unplugged one at a time and tested the breaker, no go.
I think I know what the problem is though, I put in two nails into the wall to hang up some pictures recently... I'm going to call an electrician, but wanted some insights as to what he can do to fix the problem and how big a job will it be? Does he have to tear down all the drywall, etc?? What would be a reasonable quote?
Any input appreciated.
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Bob wrote:

Have you tried removing the nails?
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Yes, they were removed and still no go... from what I have been reading, if the damage to the wires have already been done, removing them won't help.
HeyBub wrote:

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Bob wrote:

Only if you managed to break the insulation on two conductors and leave them touching after the offending nail was pulled. Possible, not real probable although more likely w/ stranded than solid wire, though.
I'd question the likelihood of the problem being that though, because unless you used a really long nail or the wiring was improperly installed too near one wall or the other, you should not have been able to reach hidden cable.
Now, if you saw/heard the breaker trip the instant you drove one of them, that would be a good indication. If, otoh, it happened sometime removed, even though after the actual nail-driving party, I'd suspect something else.
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You might want to remove the nails and see if the breaker clears, to be sure you're barking up the right tree

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Bob wrote:
<snipped>
I'm going to call an

How the heck could you possibly expect to get a usefull answer to a question posed that way, Bob? You haven't given us a clue about your "house". How many floors? Finished basement? Where in the house was that nail driving exercise located?
Based on your description, my "estimate" for a reasonable quote would be, "More than $50 and less than $20,000."
Now, f you are really convinced the problem was caused by bad luck when nailing into a wall, then I'd suggest you just carve away the drywall around the nail holes, making say a 3" diameter hole you can shine a light into and see if there really IS a wire there. Holes like that are quite easy to patch, and as you were going to hang pictures there anyway you could probably put off painting until the next time the whole room needs painting.
If you DO find a damaged wire there, then call in an electrician if you can't handle the repair yourself. I'm no code mavin, but it might be possible to make a legal splice of a damaged wire without having to pull a whole new length by installing a box in the wall with a cover on it, and that box could be hidden behind a picture.
HTH.
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
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As long as there's enough slack in the cable to pull it into the box, while leaving enough to make splices there, that's certainly Code-compliant. The big question is whether there's enough slack in the cable... and it's likely there is *not*.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Doug Miller wrote:

Two boxes, then.
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Doug Miller wrote:

Aren't there approved in-line crimp connectors and tools to install them which could be used to join the three wires in a typical piece of Romex after the ends had been fed into a box? Seems like that might take little or no "slack".
My understanding is that you can't make a splice in a box which isn't accessable. i.e. you couldn't hide it behind plasterboard. That's why my suggestion would end up with a box cover flush with the wall, behind an easily removed picture.
Could someone please clue me in about crimp connectors for that sort of application and also "inaccessable" boxes?
Jeff
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Jeff Wisnia wrote:

Don't know about approved crimp connectors, but you could accomplish the same task with the approved quick connect connectors that are being used in manufactured housing now. They would allow you to make the same no-slack type connection just snipping out the tiny damaged section.
Pete C.
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If you used a big box you could probably make it work, but it wouldn't meet code.
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Toller wrote:

<snip>
Why not?
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Why don't you try pulling the nail?
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Steve Barker


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Bob wrote:

Suggest you try removing all loads from the circuit in question, i.e. anything plugged in to the now dead outlets and remove any light bulbs from built in fixtures and see if you still have the fault. It's entirely possible that one of the devices on the circuit has developed a fault, light bulbs have on rare occasion been known to fail in a short condition.
Pete C.
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Bob wrote:

Are you kidding? Pull the nails out and check if the circuit works. If it does, use shorter nails and put them in a different place to hand the pictures. If it still flips the circuit breaker, the electrician will need to cut a hole(s) in the wall to repair the wire where the nail penetrated the cable. then you have to repair the holes cut in the wall.
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I'm curious, how big were these nails?
tom @ www.Consolidated-Loans.info
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