OMG another fail on the wiring!

solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,384 ✭✭✭✭
Short story about a couple fails:
1) a month or so ago a section of our house wiring quit working, ended up being a poor wire nut connection that came loose, I had to get an electrician out with one of those Line ringers to track it down. Ended up being several boxes away in a 3 gang switch box. It was the source for several light runs.

2) Yesterday I had a heavy load (12 amps) plugged in to an outlet. All was OK for several days and the load was used intermittently with success. Then it quit. At first I though it tripped a breaker, so I ran all the outlet circuit breaker to check if it was a breaker trip. No success. With a little deductive reasoning I thought about how it might be wired and started to pull apart boxes around the suspected break. Sure enough, the first box I opened up was a dual gang switch box. When removing the switch a wire just popped loose in the middle of the wire. Looks like the wire was nicked pretty bad and the load finally caused it to fail. Inspecting the failed wire I found it was not only nicked at the failed point but in 2 other places.

Now I am starting to worry about the rest of the 18 year old wiring in this house. Looks like some apprentice did most of the connections, the NM cable trimming was rough and ragged on every wire. Every place I looked so far all those push in connections on the backs of the devices were used. Two fails = Coincidence?

Am I crazy to worry or should I start tearing into all the connections and confirming the proper installation throughout the house? It certainly is a big job to pull everything and fix all those damn push in connections which I hate and should never have been approved by UL.

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    You're not crazy; you've already found plenty of evidence of poor wiring. Check the rest of it before an arc starts a fire.
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 766 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    I believe fixed wiring causes 60% or 70% of residential fires. So no you are not crazy.

    If you believe the "push connectors" were used on receptacles, pull them and redo them. I too wonder why they are even allowed. Any time I have a receptacle that isn't working, its almost always because someone use the push connectors and they corroded or over heated.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • techntrektechntrek Solar Expert Posts: 1,372 ✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    Not cheap (but not extremely expensive), I'd install arc-fault circuit breakers for all of the circuits in your bedrooms, if you don't already have them. A 30 minute job which will give you some peace of mind before you can tear into all those boxes.
    4.5 kw APC UPS powered by a Prius, 12 kw Generac, Honda EU3000is
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,204 admin
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    Regarding Arc Fault breakers--Perhaps only install one on a commonly used circuit (such as were you plug in a vacuum cleaner). If you don't have false tripping--Then try some more.

    However, the right thing to do is pull everything and inspect. Moving to binding posts on the outlets instead of the push type--Probably worth the effort.

    if the house was built in the 60's or 70's (sounds like your home is too new to have aluminum branch circuit wiring), Aluminum or copper clad aluminum wiring may have been used. Short of pulling the wiring and redoing in copper, this is about the best way I have seen to have "safer" aluminum connections:

    http://joneakes.com/jons-fixit-database/1183-Aluminum-to-Copper-electrical-connectors
    http://www.kinginnovation.com/products/20/3-port-alumiconn
    http://www.alcopstore.com/alumiconn-sample/

    I have installed a few of these--Short of the UL approved AL/CU crimp system (expensive, not sure anyone near me has the setup), nothing else out there works as well.

    http://www.te.com/catalog/cinf/en/c/10914/968?RQS=

    The old purple twist/wire nuts are not safe:

    http://cooper-electric.net/residential/aluminum-wiring/

    I would suggest using these instead of the AL/CU rated outlets and switches--Let you take apart all of the old connections and inspect for nicks in the wiring.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    The old purple twist/wire nuts are not safe:

    http://cooper-electric.net/residential/aluminum-wiring



    Interesting, our Lic. electrician used a similar product on new copper wiring, but it is blue IIRC, will have to confirm next visit!

    Point being they are still used ...
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,204 admin
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    I should clarify that Purple is not safe with Aluminum/Aluminum or Aluminum/Copper connections. Not sure about Cu/Cu use of them.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ThomThom Solar Expert Posts: 196 ✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    I would change all the switches and outlets .

    Thom
    Off grid since 1984. 430w of panel, 300w suresine , 4 gc batteries 12v system, Rogue mpt3024 charge controller , air breeze windmill, Mikita 2400w generator . Added [email protected] 100w panel with a midnight brat 
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,384 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    Yeah I have found a couple other shoddy spots over the years as well and fixed them at the time.

    The kitchen was rewired during the remodel for the most part and I was there for all of that.

    So far all the fails and shoddy work I fixed (other than the push in connections for the outlets) have been in switch boxes, I guess that would be the easy place to start. There are quite a few 3 & 4 gang switch boxes with about an equal number of 2 gang boxes. On the bright side I did all the wiring review and much of the final device installation in the new building myself, and that has been trouble free.
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 766 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    Nothing wrong with aluminum wire, so long as you don't use anything solid smaller than 6 gauge or multi stranded 4 gauge.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • JburgessJburgess Solar Expert Posts: 130 ✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    At least you don't have "back stab" breakers. :roll:

    4ddb16cd-e33c-4e8c-ac50-ef12f661f407.jpg
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    sorry, can't tell what is wrong or right in that pic.
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • JburgessJburgess Solar Expert Posts: 130 ✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!
    westbranch wrote: »
    sorry, can't tell what is wrong or right in that pic.

    The wires press into the breaker instead having screws to secure them.
  • CDN_VTCDN_VT Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!
    Jburgess wrote: »
    The wires press into the breaker instead having screws to secure them.

    Auzi / NZ breakers ?

    VT
  • JburgessJburgess Solar Expert Posts: 130 ✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!
    CDN_VT wrote: »
    Auzi / NZ breakers ?

    VT

    Made by Zinsco sold in US in the 1960s
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 766 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    2 things wrong with those breakers.
    Aluminum and push in wires.
    If it sounds like a recipe for disaster, it is.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • CDN_VTCDN_VT Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    Im with Oil pan , Pull & replace ALL !! FIX IT !!

    1960 !! Dang , Our farm house from 1940 , we lived it in 1948-1968 went from 25Hz to 60 hz & then a new fuse panel with 4 fuses , much better that the house back in the old country with one fuse for the complete house.


    I did blow all 4 fuses once in the farm house & my dad didn't kill me , but cost me my work allowance for a month due to we were well off DP's ..

    You can buy great used boards & breakers from restore / sally anns etc . I find electrical ducts & gutters that I can rework .


    VT
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 766 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!
    CDN_VT wrote: »
    Im with Oil pan , Pull & replace ALL !! FIX IT !!

    1960 !! Dang , Our farm house from 1940 , we lived it in 1948-1968 went from 25Hz to 60 hz & then a new fuse panel with 4 fuses , much better that the house back in the old country with one fuse for the complete house.


    I did blow all 4 fuses once in the farm house & my dad didn't kill me , but cost me my work allowance for a month due to we were well off DP's ..

    You can buy great used boards & breakers from restore / sally anns etc . I find electrical ducts & gutters that I can rework .


    VT

    Where you getting your power from Niagara falls?
    That is the only 25hz generating facility I know of and it still generates 25hz power.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!
    oil pan 4 wrote: »
    Where you getting your power from Niagara falls?
    That is the only 25hz generating facility I know of and it still generates 25hz power.

    Canada was 25Hz back in the ol' days. We upgraded in the 1950's.
  • CDN_VTCDN_VT Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    yes , Niagara falls was the supplier in the early years & we were 25Hz and we did get a small amount of relief for a fridge , but being new Canadians just from UK , money was tight . We had one of those fridges (cold boxes) with the compressor on the top run with ammonia i believe.The old country house in UK was 220V with 3 outlets and two light switches , lead pipes ,cistern , coal gas geyser for hot water . Boy have we come far from those day's.
    VT
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    VT you left off the meter into which you had to place 10 pence to have those lights turn on!

    1974, the lights went out! "Don't anyone move", and the auntie scurried around in the dark, got a chair under the meter and put in the first 10 p, cranked the dial and voila LIGHTS...
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • CDN_VTCDN_VT Solar Expert Posts: 492 ✭✭✭
    Re: OMG another fail on the wiring!

    Yes , I forgot about that system .. Now you bring that up , I do remember that & also buying & paying to use a water closet & getting two sheets of paper. France 1965.
    And to think Yanks have to pay for Air at a gas station , & they all now have TPMS .. What a circle .

    VT
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