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The Home Improvement Thread. Successes and Failures

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  • Swansong
    replied
    Yeah my house had a lot of work done when those tamper resistant outlets were first mandated and... they become adult-proof as much as child-proof. Supposedly the newer ones are much better?

    Leave a comment:


  • dxmnkd316
    replied
    Update:

    New outlets and switches are starting to go into the kitchen. My god what a difference the Leviton Decoras make. I'm sure 99% of it is just the switch from almond to white, but they look fantastic. I really like the screwless faceplates. I still haven't swapped the disposal/dishwasher circuit out yet, but having the switch for the disposal next to an upgraded outlet makes the difference even more stark. Million dollar upgrade.

    Also replaced the GFCI on that first circuit and really like the newer style that self tests regularly and has led indication. It's a couple bucks more but whatever.

    I also found an outlet that had the line and load crossed across the outlet (hot line + neutral load on one set of posts and vice versa). Yikes. I'm not entirely sure it was something that would result in a burn the house down situation, but glad I fixed it. Now everything tests correctly. Plus now I know which outlets go to which circuit so I can update the labeling in the panel. I wouldn't have done it this way, but it still makes sense in the end.

    My only gripe about all of this is that the new tamper resistant outlets can't be tested with a traditional single prong contact tester. Didn't think of that when I bought it :-/

    Leave a comment:


  • dxmnkd316
    replied
    Originally posted by walrus View Post
    yeah, check it with a meter. Non contact testers can make you believe there is power when there isn’t.
    Thanks as always walrus

    Leave a comment:


  • walrus
    replied
    Originally posted by dxmnkd316 View Post
    Ok, new problem.
    I have a hallway light switch that has 1X/3 (don't know if it's 12 or 14) Romex plus ground. Operates normally with what I assume should have just been a simple two-wire cable with ground.
    This isn't a three way light circuit as far as I know, HOWEVER, this was a three way switch with all four wires attached. One hot, one traveler hot, and a switched line that only goes hot when the switch is on.

    So here's where it gets bizarre and a bit scary. The other end of the hallway has a light switch that I was told used to control an attic circulator. But when I opened up the switch, it too was a three way switch with all four wires landed. But all three wires behind this switch are always hot no matter if I turn that switch on or off, or if I turn the other hallways switch on or off. No matter the configuration.

    now, I've come to the conclusion that this is indeed NOT a three way circuit, fine. However, why would you have 12/3 romex run to a hallway light switch? This isn't connected to any other load other than a single light fixture as far as I know.

    And why would all three wires in the other switch be hot? That doesn't make a lick of sense. I underhand that neutral isn't necessarily zero electricity, especially if it was a shared neutral somewhere up or downstream. I just don't understand why the red and black would also shot hot using a non-contact sensor.

    Any ideas?
    yeah, check it with a meter. Non contact testers can make you believe there is power when there isn’t.

    Leave a comment:


  • dxmnkd316
    replied
    Ok, new problem.
    I have a hallway light switch that has 1X/3 (don't know if it's 12 or 14) Romex plus ground. Operates normally with what I assume should have just been a simple two-wire cable with ground.
    This isn't a three way light circuit as far as I know, HOWEVER, this was a three way switch with all four wires attached. One hot, one traveler hot, and a switched line that only goes hot when the switch is on.

    So here's where it gets bizarre and a bit scary. The other end of the hallway has a light switch that I was told used to control an attic circulator. But when I opened up the switch, it too was a three way switch with all four wires landed. But all three wires behind this switch are always hot no matter if I turn that switch on or off, or if I turn the other hallways switch on or off. No matter the configuration.

    now, I've come to the conclusion that this is indeed NOT a three way circuit, fine. However, why would you have 12/3 romex run to a hallway light switch? This isn't connected to any other load other than a single light fixture as far as I know.

    And why would all three wires in the other switch be hot? That doesn't make a lick of sense. I underhand that neutral isn't necessarily zero electricity, especially if it was a shared neutral somewhere up or downstream. I just don't understand why the red and black would also shot hot using a non-contact sensor.

    Any ideas?

    Leave a comment:


  • walrus
    replied
    2 wire receptacles can be replaced with GFCIs, they have to be marked that they have no ground. Switches have to be grounded assuming the yoke is metal. This has been code before some of you were born. I wouldn't ignore a recept that has reversed polarity, it is a concern.

    I wouldn't put much stock in what a home inspector says. Who hired them? that will tell who they are looking out for. The ones I've dealt knew diddly squat. If you want to become one go to the NACHI site and take a test, its certainly not hard to pass. https://www.nachi.org/cpi-requirements.htm

    I've done tons of intrinsically safe electrical , its never mixed with other electrical in my experience. I have AC wiring right next to IS wiring but the wiring methods are different. Not sure how IS wiring pertains to a house but I'm sure you deal with it in manufacturing assuming chemicals that might go boom .

    Leave a comment:


  • dxmnkd316
    replied
    Cool. Never heard of that before. Looks to be a good resource. Might pick one up for like $15 on kindle.

    I dig through the NEC several times a year for work, but it's a massive PITA to find everything that applies to a specific thing (like how to wire a light switch) unless it's incredibly specific like "how far to intrinsically safe wiring can non-IS wiring be?" It's just too big of a reference to digest unless you're in it a lot.

    Leave a comment:


  • St. Clown
    replied
    Originally posted by dxmnkd316 View Post
    Friend on FB talked to a master electrician. He said 1999 was the last year you could have it not grounded. 2000 NEC changed that.

    Now it's touch it, bring it up to code.

    And I'm not concerned about the outlets in general. Home inspection said they were all grounded. One had reversed polarity but it's not a super huge concern IIRC.

    The big concern for me is AFCIs. When those come down in price, I'd like to swap everything in the breaker panel.
    I think you might like to have a copy of the current Black and Decker code book.

    Black and Decker Codes for Homeowners 5th Edition: Current with 2021-2023 Codes - Electrical • Plumbing • Construction • Mechanical (Black & Decker Complete Photo Guide) https://a.co/d/c1cnC8o

    i don’t know if that link is good or not. It’s supposed to go to the book’s Amazon page.


    Leave a comment:


  • dxmnkd316
    replied
    Friend on FB talked to a master electrician. He said 1999 was the last year you could have it not grounded. 2000 NEC changed that.

    Now it's touch it, bring it up to code.

    And I'm not concerned about the outlets in general. Home inspection said they were all grounded. One had reversed polarity but it's not a super huge concern IIRC.

    The big concern for me is AFCIs. When those come down in price, I'd like to swap everything in the breaker panel.

    Leave a comment:


  • French Rage
    replied
    Originally posted by dxmnkd316 View Post
    Ok electricians, I think I know the answer to these questions, but I'm curious.

    Mid-90s house. Looks like some (all? TBD) of the light switches are not grounded. All of the ground wires from the romex are nutted together, so outlets and the lights appear to be grounded. But nothing is grounding the actual switches. All switches are in plastic JBs, so they're not grounded via the JB. This looks to be original to construction so it had to have passed inspection.

    1. Was this indeed standard practice?
    2. Is this generally safe? Or should I open up all the switches and ground them ASAP?
    3. Is it required by code now? I assume so.

    (Notes: we're replacing all of the outlets and switches, so I'll eventually get around to it. All of the actually outlets appear to be grounded, but I'll be inspecting and testing every one of them as we replace them.)
    Based on some minor work we had done last week, code now says it has to be a two-prong outlet if there's no real ground; fake grounding so you can have it be three-prong is not up to code.

    Leave a comment:


  • aparch
    replied
    Not an electrician, but I can say that old building codes are still applicable unless major construction/renovation projects take place. Then, the new building code must be met.

    My house was built in the 80s, and the electrical panel configuration is original to the house. Building inspector during the sale noted that per modern code, it shouldn't be where it is, but it's fine as long as we don't remodel.

    He did have to note for the sellers to swap some outlets to GCFI (safety/fire concerns like that supercedes the right to use the old code book).

    Leave a comment:


  • dxmnkd316
    replied
    Ok electricians, I think I know the answer to these questions, but I'm curious.

    Mid-90s house. Looks like some (all? TBD) of the light switches are not grounded. All of the ground wires from the romex are nutted together, so outlets and the lights appear to be grounded. But nothing is grounding the actual switches. All switches are in plastic JBs, so they're not grounded via the JB. This looks to be original to construction so it had to have passed inspection.

    1. Was this indeed standard practice?
    2. Is this generally safe? Or should I open up all the switches and ground them ASAP?
    3. Is it required by code now? I assume so.

    (Notes: we're replacing all of the outlets and switches, so I'll eventually get around to it. All of the actually outlets appear to be grounded, but I'll be inspecting and testing every one of them as we replace them.)

    Leave a comment:


  • dxmnkd316
    replied
    Jesus. The new GFCI outlets are expensive. We're replacing all of the outlets and switches in our house to something more modern looking and that means code upgrades. The garage doesn't have GFCI, I'm confident the basement laundry and bathroom don't have it (why, I have no ****in clue).

    Even multipacks of 15A are like $15-20 each.

    Leave a comment:


  • St. Clown
    replied
    Originally posted by Swansong View Post
    The slats suck too. Depending on how pointy your anchor is you may need to get creative when installing it.
    The kicker to slats is that at some point, they started making these plaster backing boards that replaced wooden slats, and then the installers had to plaster over those backing boards for the finishing coats. Those plaster backing boards are what eventually led to development of the gypsum/Sheetrock walls used in homes since the mid-60s. I think I have those plaster backing boards because I never meet the change in resistance you get when drilling into wood.

    Leave a comment:


  • Swansong
    replied
    The slats suck too. Depending on how pointy your anchor is you may need to get creative when installing it.

    Leave a comment:

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