Jump to content

Fire waiting to happen


Tizeye
 Share

Recommended Posts

Started as a simple job, new light over kitchen sink and do the aluminum copper conversion in the process. Became concerned when saw electrical tape wrapping and saved for next day as needed supplies to be delivered by Amazon today. Discovered 3 layers of tape wrap, then noticed break in black wire insulation. Worse, I thought that would be a white wire as the other wire was dark, until I put a light on it and brown, not black. So the white over heated turning brown as was the outer wrapper for the 3 wires. Pulled at the switch and obviously white and plack at switch and would have noticed during my earlier conversion. Will be replacing wire from switch to light. Unbelievable the work some people do - including that drywall disaster when moving the box and letting the flush mount light fixture cover it.

37004E48-7155-4731-9C9E-8F540522953C.jpeg

311F9F34-D60D-4437-B884-47E73C155FFD.jpeg

  • Heart 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites



Just now, JerrySTL said:

What's the fuse or circuit breaker rated for that circuit? 

It is a 20 amp. Yes, I am going to get 12/3 as I head off to Home Depot now. I guess the good news is that I don't have to wait for the 2 pole Alumniconn adapters from Amazon (have plenty of 3 pole) since will be a copper wire run and already adapted at the switch.

  • Awesome 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Further said:

No box, just wired into the back of the fixture?

That is common but wrong 

I removed the box for room to unravel the tape and I was going to replace it anyway as it was sagging with the weight of original fixture. Interestingly, it is next to the ceiling joist, and they used a new construction style box. Couldn't hammer the nails so 2 screws through box to joist. Despite being so close to the joist, I will be putting in a cross joist bar/box.

  • Awesome 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, jsharrwick said:

We really need to send someone to check on @Thaddeus Kosciuszko.  He may have opened this thread and his head spontaneously exploded.

BTW, This looks up to code to me, but then again I am in Texas, where electric lights and indoor plumbing are not for the common folk.

Thadisnutsasa Kucooclock can fix anything. 

  • Heart 1
  • Thank You 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK if that is the wire to a ceiling fixture - if the fixture has a 60W or Heaven forbid a 100W bulb OR multiple 60W bulbs and no insulation in the fixture (like they used to manufacture them), then the head from the bulb can discolor the insulation along with age.  I have worked on some old light fixtures where the last couple inches of insulation just crumbles in your had from heat exposure from the fixture - not from a hot wire.

  • Heart 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Kzoo said:

Did you get a home equity loan first?

 

I want to sell the home, not invest more! Now that I think of it, this is the same circuit where I discovered house was aluminum wired after first bought in 1992. One morning came out to the kitchen and discovered a receptacle next to this one sparking with no load. As I went to replace, not only discovered that aluminum, but the genius before me replaced with a regular (cheap) CU receptacle rather than Co/Al. As I did the Alumnicon copper pigtail conversion throughout the house, I replaced every switch and receptacle. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Longjohn said:

The light itself probably did not draw enough current to heat up the wires but the copper to aluminum connection may have. If you are going to keep the 20 amp breaker you need #12 wire anyway.

And why run a 20A circuit for light fixtures if 15 works.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Tizeye said:
12 minutes ago, Kzoo said:

Did you get a home equity loan first?

 

I want to sell the home, not invest more!

That was my version of sarcasm.  I'm assuming you've priced Romex lately...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Kzoo said:

And why run a 20A circuit for light fixtures if 15 works.

Ask the guy that rewired the house after he bought it...

2 minutes ago, Tizeye said:

I want to sell the home, not invest more! Now that I think of it, this is the same circuit where I discovered house was aluminum wired after first bought in 1992. One morning came out to the kitchen and discovered a receptacle next to this one sparking with no load. As I went to replace, not only discovered that aluminum, but the genius before me replaced with a regular (cheap) CU receptacle rather than Co/Al. As I did the Alumnicon copper pigtail conversion throughout the house, I replaced every switch and receptacle. 

So the way I read this, there is a good chance that you are correcting your own problem?     

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Kzoo said:

OK if that is the wire to a ceiling fixture - if the fixture has a 60W or Heaven forbid a 100W bulb OR multiple 60W bulbs and no insulation in the fixture (like they used to manufacture them), then the head from the bulb can discolor the insulation along with age.  I have worked on some old light fixtures where the last couple inches of insulation just crumbles in your had from heat exposure from the fixture - not from a hot wire.

That is what surprises me. Unknown what the original was but what taken out was a 9" round florescent . I am putting an a 24w LED. Will have to do some drywall work, not only to fill the prior disaster but accomodate a 14" round vs the old 12" round.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Tizeye said:

That is what surprises me. Unknown what the original was but what taken out was a 9" round florescent . I am putting an a 24w LED. Will have to do some drywall work, not only to fill the prior disaster but accomodate a 14" round vs the old 12" round.

I sleep better at night with LED lights in the house.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The houses on my block are filled with bad wiring jobs - many of them not even in junction boxes, just the wires twisted together and wrapped with electrical tape in the 1950's, etc.

THAT was what caused my house fire.  Of the approx. 30 houses in my community that were built in 1948 and initially bought through the GI Bill after WW2 by people without much money, mine was the fourth in about 15 years to catch fire and a fifth one caught fire last Fall.

I've been warning neighbors up and down the street to have their wiring checked out.  My spliced wires with no junction box were in a wall where an outlet had been relocated and the wires just spliced at the point where the old outlet was with enough wire to reach the new location of the outlet.

My rebuilt house has 100% new wiring and installation of sheetrock was held up three weeks until they could get an inspector to come out last year and inspect the wiring.  It's a relief that all that was done!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, jsharrwick said:

that keeps the monsters under the bed.

I check under the bed every night before I get in.  It's the darn closet that concerns me.  I'm assuming you saw the documentary too?

 

 

image.png.e579d29fc016a1e52f4ae0df203de626.png

  • Heart 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Kzoo said:

And why run a 20A circuit for light fixtures if 15 works.

All kitchen 120v circuits must be 20 amp by code to accommodate the draw of heating elements like frying pans, microwave, etc. 20A requires 12 gauge wire, 15A 14 gauge. 

Unfortunately, I have priced romex. But I have another issue. I have one copper circuit that I wired from scratch for 3 ceiling fans and garage door opener using 14 gauge wire. Noticed when electrician swapped out the original Federal Pacific (bad, bad, bad) panel with Square D, he put a 20 amp breaker on that circuit. Technically, I could replace it with a 15A breaker, but am going to rewire it with 12 guage as also want to add an outlet in the attic for the antenna amp.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

26 minutes ago, Tizeye said:

I have one copper circuit that I wired from scratch for 3 ceiling fans and garage door opener using 14 gauge wire.

Just don't have them all on at the same time... problem solved.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Kzoo said:

You have access from above?

 

Yes and no. Unfortunately, this is the outside wall with the lowest slope of roof and I am not that skinny. Assessment Ming old cable is stapled per code so can’t use to pull. Do have a fiberglass whip to snake. Fun, fun, fun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Kzoo said:

OK if that is the wire to a ceiling fixture - if the fixture has a 60W or Heaven forbid a 100W bulb OR multiple 60W bulbs and no insulation in the fixture (like they used to manufacture them), then the head from the bulb can discolor the insulation along with age.  I have worked on some old light fixtures where the last couple inches of insulation just crumbles in your had from heat exposure from the fixture - not from a hot wire.

I changed out my kitchen overhead lights when I found the scorch marks.  They had held 4 bulbs each and I replaced them with 3 led's per location.  They were globe lights bolted right to the ceiling without insulation and they are individual light units hanging down one for each bulb.  The house was built in 69.  It's scary to find toasted marsh mellow colors in the plaster isn't it?

  • Heart 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, jsharrwick said:

He may have opened this thread and his head spontaneously exploded.

A modest popping noise.  My head is medically certified against spontaneous explosions due to my extraordinarily thick skull.  ;)

1 hour ago, Tizeye said:

Unknown what the original was but what taken out was a 9" round florescent .

Your house looks like it might have been built before fluorescent fixtures were common.  Given that, Kzoo is on point that it probably was an incandescent fixture that overheated the wires.  Situations with brittle insulation are never pretty, especially if the brittle parts extend way back into the box.  Sometimes the wire can be salvaged with heat shrink tubing or electrical tape (or both), but you have to be careful to buy tubing rated for the voltage and not just use commonly available tubing for auto circuits.

 

1 hour ago, Tizeye said:

Technically, I could replace it with a 15A breaker,

I would recommend replacing it with the 15A breaker now so the breaker matches the wire, and setting the 20A breaker aside for later when you run the circuit.  Single pole residential breakers run $10-$15 and that's cheap insurance not to have an overrated breaker on underrated wire. 

Unless your garage door has a monster motor and you're going to plug a toaster into the new receptacle, you'll probably be ok just extending the circuit as a 15A circuit.  You could extend it with #12 (20A) wire if you want.  I'd suggest checking the watts on the antenna amp, and if it's not a lot of watts you could save some trouble by just extending the circuit.

 

1 hour ago, Tizeye said:

Now the fun starts.

I'm guessing you noted the ceiling box you picked up requires screws to attach it to each joist.  You may have enough room to get the box, the screwdriver, and your hands up in between the joists with the hole in the ceiling.  If not, though, one of these is more expensive but it fixes itself in place against the joists without screws.  Even if you can get screws in with the first box the one below may save you time.

image.png.412d6cc65da0018667d0d090f352b376.png

  • Heart 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When my wife wanted a ceiling fan over the dining room table I had to crawl commando style over 12” of pink panther with another 12” of cellulose blown in on top of it. Carrying the new box, tools, screws and a flashlight. If I didn’t love my wife I would have just told her she didn’t need a ceiling fan. That end of the house was built with trusses, climbing through trusses is so much fun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

49 minutes ago, Thaddeus Kosciuszko said:

A modest popping noise.  My head is medically certified against spontaneous explosions due to my extraordinarily thick skull.  ;)

Your house looks like it might have been built before fluorescent fixtures were common.  Given that, Kzoo is on point that it probably was an incandescent fixture that overheated the wires.  Situations with brittle insulation are never pretty, especially if the brittle parts extend way back into the box.  Sometimes the wire can be salvaged with heat shrink tubing or electrical tape (or both), but you have to be careful to buy tubing rated for the voltage and not just use commonly available tubing for auto circuits.

 

I would recommend replacing it with the 15A breaker now so the breaker matches the wire, and setting the 20A breaker aside for later when you run the circuit.  Single pole residential breakers run $10-$15 and that's cheap insurance not to have an overrated breaker on underrated wire. 

Unless your garage door has a monster motor and you're going to plug a toaster into the new receptacle, you'll probably be ok just extending the circuit as a 15A circuit.  You could extend it with #12 (20A) wire if you want.  I'd suggest checking the watts on the antenna amp, and if it's not a lot of watts you could save some trouble by just extending the circuit.

 

I'm guessing you noted the ceiling box you picked up requires screws to attach it to each joist.  You may have enough room to get the box, the screwdriver, and your hands up in between the joists with the hole in the ceiling.  If not, though, one of these is more expensive but it fixes itself in place against the joists without screws.  Even if you can get screws in with the first box the one below may save you time.

 

House was built in 1973, thus the aluminum wires...and there is no way I would want to repair overheated aluminum wires...just replace that segment, switch to fixture in this case. Didn't add up the amperage of the fans and garage door opener, but do use the open half of the receptacle on the ceiling the opener plugs into for saws and shop vac as needed as only other receptacle in the garage, different circuit, is by the washer/dryer and sprinkler controller. Probably better that I re-wire that circuit. I think the electrician just saw "garage" on the label and put a 20A in. Should have known was 14 though as had to dismantle all wires to remove the panel and re-attach to a new one. It was a reputable electrical company - but noticed they didn't even pull permits for it. After a couple houses in the neighborhood burned due to the aluminum wiring, out HOA negotiated a great price (at homeowner's expense) to have the panels replaced if we wanted to take advantage of it...which I did. I learned I was one of the few that had 2 panels as they assigned 120 and 220 circuits to separate panels. 

On the box, it is light weight, not designed to support fans. Doesn't require screws to joist. The feet slide under joist on drywall giving correct spacing height and the down brackets against the joist have spikes that light tapping into joist. No screws required, but could include one on the side next to the hole for the box since it is almost flush with that joist..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, reminder, I have to finish the wiring at Jr. Wife's house.  Replacing some odd switches, I found out a 4 gang box had wires from 2 different breakers in it.  POP!.  Now the dining room has no overhead lighting.  Replaced the switch but I apparently did something wrong still.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

26 minutes ago, Longjohn said:

When my wife wanted a ceiling fan over the dining room table I had to crawl commando style over 12” of pink panther with another 12” of cellulose blown in on top of it. Carrying the new box, tools, screws and a flashlight. If I didn’t love my wife I would have just told her she didn’t need a ceiling fan. That end of the house was built with trusses, climbing through trusses is so much fun.

Yeah. I don't have that much insulation, but another project - replumbing. While above the garage is floored for storage, the other is step on the joist. Was going to put a 2' wide runner along joist from garage to center where roofline is highest, then a 16" runner across the joist the 66' length of the house. Then I looked at the price of plywood. It makes ROMEX look cheap! Have bat insulation to go under the plywood, and if staying here, after completing the other elextrical and plumbing projects, blow in to raise the insulation level. If selling - forget about it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, 12string said:

Oh, reminder, I have to finish the wiring at Jr. Wife's house.  Replacing some odd switches, I found out a 4 gang box had wires from 2 different breakers in it.  POP!.  Now the dining room has no overhead lighting.  Replaced the switch but I apparently did something wrong still.  

Candle light is romantic in the dining room 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Tizeye said:

The feet slide under joist on drywall giving correct spacing height and the down brackets against the joist have spikes that light tapping into joist.

On most of the boxes I've seen like that, the spikes are intended to hold the bracket in place and free up the installer's hands while putting screws into the joists.  The code calls out fastening boxes to framing with bolts, screws, rivets, or clips (doesn't mention nails!).  I doubt, though, that the Enclosure Code Police will be visiting you any time soon.  And, of course, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!  ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...