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Beernik

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Last week I finally got a handyman in to figure out a couple electrical problems in my house. I can do some basic electric but these were weird enough that I couldn’t diagnose it.

In my main bathroom, there was an incorrectly wired outlet that wasn’t passing electricity. There was also an incorrectly wired switch that controlled that circuit (gotta love the 70s).

I’m my kitchen I had another incorrectly wired light switch that wasn’t passing electricity to the next light on the circuit.

So I decided I was smart enough to check the wiring on my outlets, bought an outlet tester, and I would spend one day every weekend checking outlets. First outlet I checked - ungrounded. I expected to have to run a new grounding wire into the box.

I turned the power off, pulled the receptacle, and the jackass had jammed a ground wire all the way in the back instead of taking the 2 minutes to do the job right.

Who else has home projects going on?
 

Tobor_8thMan

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I sympathize with you. Bought my home in 2005. Paid a home inspector to check out things. The home passed "admirably".

Later on, a while later, I discover, in an upstairs bedroom, the light switch doesn't do anything. Initially I thought the receptacle was wired to allows the switch to control. No.

I take off the switch face plate, pull the switch only to discover 1 wire. Yes, this is correct only 1 wire connected to the switch. THIS ISN'T A CIRCUIT!

I left the switch "as is". What a PITA to tear into the wall looking for the other wire.
 

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My brother asked me to help him with some wiring in the basement. The previous owner had started to finish it but he felt some things might not be right--for example all the outlets shut off when you turned off the lights. What I discovered was that the full finished basement was on one circuit wired off an original light. Whoever did it was sure that bare wire was a problem so they carefully taped them all off so they couldn't touch each other or anything else.
 

Tobor_8thMan

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My brother asked me to help him with some wiring in the basement. The previous owner had started to finish it but he felt some things might not be right--for example all the outlets shut off when you turned off the lights. What I discovered was that the full finished basement was on one circuit wired off an original light. Whoever did it was sure that bare wire was a problem so they carefully taped them all off so they couldn't touch each other or anything else.
Do'h!
 
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Beernik

Beernik

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All my bedrooms have no ceiling lights and the light switches control the outlets. There was a phase in the 60s or 70s where it was the cool to have floor lamps lighting rooms.

It’s doesn’t really jive with 21st century living where everything is expected to be powered all of the time.

My brother asked me to help him with some wiring in the basement. The previous owner had started to finish it but he felt some things might not be right--for example all the outlets shut off when you turned off the lights.
 

Tobor_8thMan

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All my bedrooms have no ceiling lights and the light switches control the outlets. There was a phase in the 60s or 70s where it was the cool to have floor lamps lighting rooms.

It’s doesn’t really jive with 21st century living where everything is expected to be powered all of the time.
This, perhaps, isn't difficult. What is above the bedrooms? Attic? Possible to run dedicated power to the fan from above?
 
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Beernik

Beernik

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That’s kind of what I was expecting.

Thanks for the sympathy. I found one more outlet wired backwards and ungrounded. Again, the ground wire was jammed in the back of the box.

I still have two rooms left to check.
I take off the switch face plate, pull the switch only to discover 1 wire. Yes, this is correct only 1 wire connected to the switch. THIS ISN'T A CIRCUIT!

I left the switch "as is". What a PITA to tear into the wall looking for the other wire.
 
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Beernik

Beernik

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A really short attic.

If I live here long enough, I’ll put ceiling lights in all the rooms. It’s just right now I don’t know if I’m living here past 2023.

This, perhaps, isn't difficult. What is above the bedrooms? Attic? Possible to run dedicated power to the fan from above?
 
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Beernik

Beernik

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Especially in a bathroom. At least this bathroom had a GFCI.

What I didn’t mention in the original post is there was no GFCI in that bathroom. I had the handyman add it while he was fixing the other issues.

Wired backwards isn't good for us. This easily leads to a lethal shock.
 

Tobor_8thMan

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Be careful of GFCI. Idiots whom remodeled our basement put GFCI's in all circuits. May believe this is good. Not so. Freezer tripped the GFCI. Sub pump, in one of the rare times it ran, tripped the GFCI.

What did I do? Removed the GFCI's from the basement freezer circuit. Removed the GFCI circuit from the sub pump circuit.

Too bad we don't live closer to each other as I would have happily installed the bathroom GFCI for you (isn't difficult by any means).
 

matt_m

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All my bedrooms have no ceiling lights and the light switches control the outlets. There was a phase in the 60s or 70s where it was the cool to have floor lamps lighting rooms.

It’s doesn’t really jive with 21st century living where everything is expected to be powered all of the time.
Yes but one wouldn't expect that in a circa 2000 house :D
 
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Beernik

Beernik

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Thanks. I appreciate the sentiment.

For me, I wouldn’t mind staying in this house. It’s the first ‘nice’ house I’ve owned and I’m only a half mile from semi-private shoreline access. However, if I was to live here into retirement, I’d probably re-landscape for lower maintenance.

My wife, however, would like more land, more forest, & fewer neighbors.

Mostly, though, it’s my job. I agreed to work on this project for a company & the project is done in 2023. After that, a lot of things are in the air. They might want to keep me here on another project or move me to Portland. My wife & kid are also looking at New Zealand & Australia. So we might sell everything & become expats.

I’ve thought about GFICing my garage but I probably won’t now. There isn’t a code reason why I’d need one and I have a fridge out there.

I finished checking the house. No more bad wiring. There are a couple outlets where the outlet tester had a dim ground light signal. I don’t know if that matters. It also looks like I should replace 3 garage receptacles. If I wiggle the tester in the outlets, the ground light winks at me.

Be careful of GFCI. Idiots whom remodeled our basement put GFCI's in all circuits. May believe this is good. Not so. Freezer tripped the GFCI. Sub pump, in one of the rare times it ran, tripped the GFCI.

What did I do? Removed the GFCI's from the basement freezer circuit. Removed the GFCI circuit from the sub pump circuit.

Too bad we don't live closer to each other as I would have happily installed the bathroom GFCI for you (isn't difficult by any means).

Also, I’m kind of glad I decided to just push through testing all the outlets today. Now I don’t have to worry about it quite as much.
 

day_trippr

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I'm surprised about the garage outlet code in your state - in MA garage outlets definitely need to be gfci protected.
I'm also surprised we haven't gone to afci on those here!

Cheers!
 

Tobor_8thMan

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" My wife, however, would like more land, more forest, & fewer neighbors. " I agree!

Hmm... may want to check out the current situation in NZ and AUS.

" If I wiggle the tester in the outlets, the ground light winks at me. " Something, wiring, is loose somewhere."

Perhaps, simply a lose screw (unfortunately, this sounds similar to a lot of today's problems ;-))
 
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Beernik

Beernik

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Maybe it is. I thought it was just outdoor outlets and near water sources.

Maybe I’ll just buy some dual GFCI and GFCI/AFCI breakers to take care of the garage outlets, outside lights, & garage door.

I'm surprised about the garage outlet code in your state - in MA garage outlets definitely need to be gfci protected.
I'm also surprised we haven't gone to afci on those here!

Cheers!
 

day_trippr

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Nonsense. A garage floor up here between December through March may be saturated with salty moisture...probably why our code is wise :)

Cheers!
 
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Beernik

Beernik

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Practically everywhere in an island house in Western Washington is a “possible water” area.

Seriously, though, I’ll just work it into my project rotation, $50 to $100 from a paycheck into:
1. Keezer build
2. Replacing ancient thermostats with smart thermostats
3. Getting GFCI & GFCI/AFCIs into the proper circuits.

Thanks for the help.
 
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Beernik

Beernik

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@Tobor_8thMan,

I checked one of the outlets that had more dim signals for ground with a multimeter. I’m getting 115V from hot to neutral but 47V from hot to ground.

Should I double check the wiring on it?
 

Pkrd

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A colleague bought a unit as a doerupper. He knew the previous tenant had disconnected the power (inset various conspiracy theory reasons here), the place had a reasonable layer of soot everywhere from the kerosene lamps, which was why it was cheap. He never anticipated the guy had ripped all the wiring out of the walls too though.
 

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CSB:

My brother and his family bought their first house in the '90s. He asked me if I'd help him install a couple more 120V outlets in his attached garage. "Help" meaning I do the work, as he didn't have a clue about minor elec work.

Sure, why not.

He had picked up a few outlets, boxes and 50' of Romex. I traced the existing garage circuit back to the panel in the house. The circuit was connected to a single-pole 30A breaker, along with 2 other circuits. Yeah, a 30 amp breaker, with three 14-ga hot wires wrapped under the breaker's screw. A short in any of those circuits would've gotten smoking hot before that breaker tripped.

Luckily, there were enough bays remaining in the panel, so back to the home center store to get three 15A breakers. I yanked the 30A breaker and reconnected each of the 3 branch circuits to its own breaker.

What should've been a half hour task ended up taking most of the day.

Funny thing, his real estate agent had brought in an inspector prior to the sale. My brother dropped $400 for an inspector who didn't bother to pop the door off the electrical panel and have a look.
 
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Beernik

Beernik

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Last night, I discovered the jackass who wired the outlets wrong also put a voltage regulator on the 240V, 20A heater circuit so they could put a low voltage (mercury) thermostat on them.

Sometime this weekend, I’ll be in the crawl space looking for voltage regulators.

EDIT: Upon further investigation, it’s just one that looks like it’s set up this way. But it’s the one with three 1500W heater fans.
 
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bracconiere

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Truly, really, only meet GFCI near possible water (think bathroom).

i try not to! i had a plug in my bathroom, it stopped working, tore the damn thing out tested it nothing, replaced it....just to find out it's wired to a GFCI breaker on the other side of the house! (i'm new to GFCI stuff!) lol
 

Tobor_8thMan

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i try not to! i had a plug in my bathroom, it stopped working, tore the damn thing out tested it nothing, replaced it....just to find out it's wired to a GFCI breaker on the other side of the house! (i'm new to GFCI stuff!) lol
Apparently, the bathroom is on the same circuit. No reason for 2 GFCI on the same circuit.

2 years ago a receptacle (outlet) in my garage stopped working. OK, put it on my "To Do" list. Weeks later I'm working in the backyard. I plug in the leaf sucker (this is a great invention. Sucks up leaves and chops them into small pieces. Great for mulching the garden. mulching hops, etc). The leaf sucker stops running. Hmm... I've only had this item for, maybe, 15 years, but I guess it's dead?

I plug the leaf sucker into a different receptacle and it works fine. Interesting...

I finally get to working on the dead garage receptacle. However, something tells me to work on/examine/ analyze the receptacle at the back of the house first. I pull off the cover and it's filled, absolutely filled with ants! I spray the h*ll out of the receptacle with bug spray. I wait a while and remove the receptacle. It's rusted and filled with dead ants. Some of the wires going to the receptacle are rusted. I snip off of the rusted wire and wire up a new receptacle. I go over board caulking where the receptacle box meets the siding of the house. Test the receptacle. Tests fine. Now, onto the garage receptacle. Something tells me to check the receptacle. It is now working fine. What sort of ret*rd wires a circuit from the back of the house to the garage? Apparently, this ret*rd wired my house.
 
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bracconiere

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Apparently, the bathroom is on the same circuit. No reason for 2 GFCI on the same circuit.


yeah well, i try not to think about it...and now have lurking fear of what the little buttons on the GFCI plug actually do....apparently the plug in the kitchen also control the plug outside.....who knows what more creative ways they're wired...
 
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Beernik

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I will.

I know the circuit in my panel. It should be easy access for the wire on the north side of my house. (It’s a hunched walk on the north side. It’s a crawl on the south side.)

I can shine a light down the hole in the wall box to help me locate it and I have a non-contact detector to verify I’ve found the right wire.

I’m hoping I can tie the new 12 gauge wire to the relay when I find it and pull the new wire that way.

My main concern is if I’ll have to dig around in the floor insulation to find the low voltage relay.


@Beernik Be careful! 240V will kill you.
 
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Beernik

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I got under the house today and it is definitely into the ‘crawl’ area of my crawl space. Which for a guy my size with claustrophobic panic attacks, it isn’t a great idea for me to get back there.

So I’ll be calling the handyman again to do this thermostat project for me.

I also discovered a bathroom has leaking plumbing. So I’ll be calling a plumber first. I can’t tell if it’s a leaky seal on the toilet or a crack in the drain line.
 
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Lots of stuff going on. Redoing part of the bathroom, and the contractor says I should check out the vent fan (they were doing window removal/replacement). When the house was built, the workers ran the vent duct through the ceiling to the wall and left it there, venting into the ceiling (no attic in that part of the house) for 30ish years.** I bought a new fan, new duct, a soffit vent, etc. and ran it out properly to the soffit. The contractors were able to easily fix the drywall in the ceiling where I had to tear everything out to fix it because they were drywalling/mudding already.

Also was able to run an electric line over to the shower so that there's a light over it now. The new LED "can" lights are amazing! Tiny and bright and don't heat up too much.

**Maybe this is why there's been ice damming issues there? While I had the soffit torn apart, I opened it up more to get more airflow under the roof, so that should help, too.
 
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Beernik

Beernik

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Best news possible from the plumber:

the toilet is leaking around the top of the pipe connection. So hopefully, a new flange connector & wax seal will fix it.
 
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Beernik

Beernik

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Lots of stuff going on. Redoing part of the bathroom, and the contractor says I should check out the vent fan (they were doing window removal/replacement). When the house was built, the workers ran the vent duct through the ceiling to the wall and left it there, venting into the ceiling (no attic in that part of the house) for 30ish years.** I bought a new fan, new duct, a soffit vent, etc. and ran it out properly to the soffit. The contractors were able to easily fix the drywall in the ceiling where I had to tear everything out to fix it because they were drywalling/mudding already.
My wife had her tattoo shop / art studio in a building that had something similar. They vented the bathroom fan into the attic space. The result was any time someone took a dump & turned on the fan, half the upper floor could smell it coming back through the ceiling tile.
 
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