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House Wiring Fail -- Can You Spot the Stupid?

KC9UDX

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Lutenblag
A properly installed wire nut is a very good connection. It's like wire wrap.

Light-up outlet testers have gotten dirt cheap. Circuit tracers with that functionality built in can be had for the price the testers youstaby.

There's nothing inherently unsafe about using a neon bulb to test for voltage. They do not give false readings like voltage detectors typically do. Of course, neon bulbs don't pass for class IV. Voltage testers shine for testing insulated conductors. They are really handy for locating breaks in cables.

When tightening aluminum (or any stranded), NEC 2017 requires the use of torque wrenches, and it's about time. Much better in that case to crimp and never worry about it.
 

Chuck(G)

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Well, solid aluminum wire was an insane idea to start with. I suspect it was due to industry pressure during the 1950s-60s housing boom. Sort of like "heat pumps" or HVAC--the "builder's grade" units are becoming a thing of the past, due to EPA standards. Again, it's about time.
 

krebizfan

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May 23, 2009
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Connecticut
The price of copper doubled between 1965 and 1975 which were the peak years for aluminum wiring in houses. That increase was caused by a lengthy strike and the diversion of large amounts of copper to other US governmental activities at the time.

I was very happy that my current residence was built in 1960 and has plenty of copper.
 

glitch

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Central VA
Heh, my dad never figured out three-way switches either. I used to have to redo them for him -- now I just do all of the rewiring work to start with.

On wire nuts, yeah, whoever did this place, when they used them, they twisted the wires with pliers first. Often in the wrong direction. Many of the hooks on the ends of wires going to screw terminations are done the wrong direction. It'll all come out eventually, when I was in the attic attaching a riser clamp for plumbing repair, I noticed that not a single junction or splice is enclosed in a box. Not sure how that ever passed inspection, it was code in 1954 and well before, and it's not knob and tube. Seems the original contractor was short on staples, too -- wire is often loose or supported by plumbing or HVAC ducts.

I've caught licensed contractors not using the aluminum anti-oxidizing paste on lug connections in the panelboard before. Cheap insurance to squirt some on and work it into the cable.
 

KC9UDX

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I was very happy that my current residence was built in 1960 and has plenty of copper.

You're lucky. My house was built in '79, so, at least it doesn't have any luminium. But, even with 200A service, it's got less copper than a house built in 1950 with 60A service. When I bought the place, there was one circuit for all the lighting throughout the house, one bathroom, the entire garage, and all outdoor lighting and outlets.
 

Chuck(G)

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Jan 11, 2007
Messages
39,797
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Pacific Northwest, USA
On wire nuts, yeah, whoever did this place, when they used them, they twisted the wires with pliers first. Often in the wrong direction. Many of the hooks on the ends of wires going to screw terminations are done the wrong direction. It'll all come out eventually, when I was in the attic attaching a riser clamp for plumbing repair, I noticed that not a single junction or splice is enclosed in a box. Not sure how that ever passed inspection, it was code in 1954 and well before, and it's not knob and tube. Seems the original contractor was short on staples, too -- wire is often loose or supported by plumbing or HVAC ducts.

My late parents' house was built in 1956 in a town with a very strong IBEW chapter. Code was EMT, period. No Romex/NM allowed. Fles only for pigtails to lighting fixture or stationary equipment. My grandmother's house was wired with lead-sheathed cable.

Residential construction seems to get away with a bunch of sins regarding inspection. Rather than planning the wiring layout for a room, electricians now seem to grab the "hole hawg" and run cables through the studs any which way, plumbing be damned.
 

KC9UDX

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Jan 27, 2014
Messages
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Lutenblag
when I was in the attic attaching a riser clamp for plumbing repair, I noticed that not a single junction or splice is enclosed in a box. Not sure how that ever passed inspection, it was code in 1954 and well before, and it's not knob and tube. Seems the original contractor was short on staples, too -- wire is often loose or supported by plumbing or HVAC ducts.

I've seen this a lot. Keep in mind that inspections today are much more serious and much more common than they were, and, that any current NEC hasn't always been law everywhere. My favourite is BX shield being the neutral, and the white wire being a separate circuit, sometimes the same phase!
 
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