WHY???


was cleaning up today and decided to replace some receptacles upstairs since 'rents are coming to visit soon, and these were ugly, painted over, plates didn't match each other, etc...
now I knew that some of the work was less than optimal, and that things weren't properly grounded, but the wall I was working on was added after the house was built and was wired with romex with a ground conductor, so I assumed that at least that run was done right...
1) at each receptacle, the ground was connected as follows - one conductor was under one cable clamp, a pigtail was connected to the actual ground screw to the box, and then the pigtail and the other ground conductor were both under the screw of the device. How much would a wire nut and another pigtail have cost to do things right and have all the grounds securely spliced and only one conductor under the screw terminal?
2) all receps were backstab only. Several of these were ones I didn't use because I'd identified them as loose. Dunno if there's a connection there or not...
3) I ASSumed that since these were wired with grounded romex that they were actually grounded. Guess what? Not so much. I found one recep with a bootleg from neutral to ground; when I put everything back together wired correctly, now they test as ungrounded. Guess I have some poking around in ceiling boxes to do to find where the new wiring begins and the old wiring ends, and provide a ground at that location. No big deal...
4) here's the one that really gets me. One box was loose and flopping around. Rather than ripping it out and putting in an old work box, someone had gobbed a mess of caulking behind the plate in an attempt to hold it in place. Of course I knocked it out and put an old work box in instead, and spent a little quality time with a razor blade getting all the nastiness off the wall. (have had to do this in three different locations now in this house...) In this same box I found a 20A spec grade receptacle, even though this is a 15A circuit. I also repulled a horizontal run through the wall to the next box, because it was easy to do with one box out, because...
5) all conductors were trimmed so there was maybe 1.5" of wire past the wall, if you pulled the wires straight out from their clamps. Made wiring up the receps a royal PITA, I tell you. Repulling this one run made sense because the old work box didn't have a side entry knockout which meant that reusing the old cable was going to be very difficult without any slack.
I'm not really looking for advice, because I can handle this, I just needed to vent. I suspect that this work was done not by the previous owners of the house but one back from that, who was supposedly a contractor.
I should be really glad that he didn't do more work than he did. My next project is to replace a couple ceiling boxes on the second floor, which should tie in nicely to the work that I've discovered that I need to do to provide grounds, because they too are loose and floppy and hanging down below the plaster. (I'll replace them with fan rated boxes, because I think the girl wants to put ceiling fans in the bedroom, and at the same time repull the switch legs with 14/3WG in preparation.) I just can't believe that someone supposedly professional could do work that even I can recognize as really shoddy.
One question after that whole rant, though - does anyone make fan rated octagon extension rings? I suspect that at least one of those ceiling boxes must be pretty chock full of wire.
nate
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On 11/15/2009 5:13 PM Nate Nagel spake thus:

Do extension rings really need to be "fan rated"? Do the fan-rated boxes actually have beefier threads, instead of the maybe 1-1/2 threads in sheet metal in regular boxes?
Seems kinds dicey, expecting a heavy ceiling fan to hang securely by two little bitty 6-32 screws ...
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On Sun, 15 Nov 2009 18:43:47 -0800, David Nebenzahl

Extension rings are probably not going to be fan rated. The fan boxes I see have long 10-32 screws that go through the top of the box and into the bracket. Even the regular ceiling box uses 8-32 screws tho.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

yes, the fan rated boxes typically have 10-32 screws.
Whether or not this is a real concern to me depends on where I find all the splices. Hopefully it's in the hallway where I'd never put a fan anyway...
nate
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*I have seen jobs like what you have described. I believe most of them were done by handymen or contractors with no electrical experience or qualifications.
I have never seen fan rated extension boxes, but there are deeper fan foxes (2 1/8").
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I've also worked on shoddy craftsmanship. Sure makes it harder for the next guy.
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Sometimes not. I find that encountering stuff like that makes it easy for me to decide to pull it all and redo it from scratch. I've spent too much time in old houses trying to trace old wires or figure out mongolian cluster f&cks because some of the wiring looked competent. Looks can be deceiving.
I used to wonder when I was younger why the phone company techs would just lay in new wire when it looked liked there was perfectly good phone wire already there. Now I know. Wire is cheap; figuring out what any number of non-professionals have done to the wiring since it was first installed is expensive. I've begun labelling everything obsessively for the time when my memory gets even more corroded. I've begun labelling everything obsessively for the time when my memory gets even more corroded. I've begun labelling everything obsessively for the time when my memory gets even more corroded. (-:
-- Bobby G.
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I believe that is no problem as the fuse or breaker will limit the current being drawn. Having a better plug harms nothing.
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sure, it's not a problem, but it just looks wrong, and at least to me is a sign of a semi-gluteal job (probably done using leftovers from something else, I suspect.) Plus if you ever did plug a 20A device into it (in the spare bedroom?) all the 2nd floor lights would go out.
Funny thing is there's a 20A dedicated circuit going to one box in the hallway (I presume for a window AC unit) that has a 15A duplex recep in it... go figure.
nate
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re: Plus if you ever did plug a 20A device into it ... all the 2nd floor lights would go out.
Only if the total draw exceeded 15A. Simply plugging in the 20A device wouldn't necessarily trip the breaker.
But you knew that. ;-)
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re: I presume for a window AC unit
Is there a window in the hallway?
Even if there is, that seems a strange place to put an AC unit.
Very strange wiring indeed.
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Well, it's a hallway/top of stair landing thing. And all the bedrooms open off of it. There's a 20A circuit feeding a recep there, and there's another 20A circuit feeding a recep in the living room directly below; I can only ASSume that that's what they were for. Last owners were greener than the area around the hole on a golf course, so there was no AC at all when we bought the place; we just installed central air rather than fight with window shakers.
Both floors have a single 15A circuit for general lighting/receps and then there's another 15A circuit for the stair and kitchen lighting. House was built in late 40's so I assume that that (and kitchen counter, washer/dryer, basement lighting, etc.) was all there was originally and everything else has been added since.
nate
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