Hi from those of us at Innovative Electric.
Today I would like to talk about the topic of a job we just completed. This is an issue that is all near and dear to use and it concerns hiring unlicensed electricians or flat out friends that know something about electricity. The house we just finished working on took days two to fix. I found numerous junction boxes hidden behind walls. 95% of all the receptacles were wires incorrectly and the Electrical panel was a complete mess.
Now, The first issue is about having Junction Boxes hidden in the wall. In this house, it was done in two places. The rear room addition used to have a porch light in the center of the wall near the top, why? Because this used to be the outside wall, However now this wall was covered with drywall and the circuit was redirected to new locations. The Carpenter that preformed the wiring here used roofing nails to secure said wiring. When the nail hit the Black Wire and ground the person who was doing the wiring didn’t know what was causing the breaker to keep tripping. SOOOO… This person switched the Black and White Wires all through the room to MAKE the circuit work. Can you guess how dangerous this is? One thing wrong was corrected by doing something else wrong by an unlicensed Electrician.
The second box we found was a 3-wire circuit, that means the wire has a Black, Red, White and ground inside it from the panel. Inside the hidden junction Box, the Black Wire split to two Kitchen Countertop Receptacles on the opposite side of the wall. One Receptacle was done correct, however for some unknown reason, the other receptacle had the red wire going to the white wire. Inside the Receptacle there was 240v with no Neutral. When I first took this receptacle apart, they had the ground wire hooked to the neutral side of the receptacle and the Black wire was not in use. I cannot begin to explain why this is illegal? Maybe because the ground wire is meant to save your life in the case of an emergency? It is not designed to have a load and complete the circuit for your toaster oven. In older houses the ground wires are not even the same size as the Hot and Neutral Wires. I guess getting killed just is not that important for some people.
Now, speaking of getting killed. I need to discuss this issue of the 95% of the receptacles in this house being wired wrong. Most of these receptacles indicated reverse polarity when a tester is plugged in. In just about every circumstance, the Black wire was on the silver screw (left side) and the White Wire was on the gold screw (right side) of each receptacle. Now, let me explain… the voltage comes in on the black wire and exits on the white. Most devices in your house have a plug that has 2 or 3 prongs. The Left prong is larger than the right prong to prevent you from plugging in the device wrong. Why? Well, lets say you have a metal floor lamp. The outside of this floor lamp you can touch and if outside metal is connected to the black wire, you can get shocked by touching it. YOU MIGHT DIE FROM TOUCHING IT. In this house they have a little 2 year old that sleeps in his own room. This room has a Symba lamp with a metal pole in the center… The lamp was plugged into one of these reverse polarity receptacles, which means it was only a matter of time until the parents found their child laying dead on the floor when he reached out to touch this lamp. I guess it was worth the risk when they hired this cheap electrician.
How much money do you save when you hire some cheap guy? Or in this case, you happen to be a Church Pastor and you get Matt from your church to come over and help do some renovations for free at your house a few Saturdays in a row. Does it matter that Matt is an Auto Mechanic during the week? But you trust him to put all these receptacles in your grandson’s new room right? Is it really worth it not hiring a licensed electrician?