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Author Topic: What's the worst thing that can happen?  (Read 7328 times)

Stephen Swaffer

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Re: What's the worst thing that can happen?
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2016, 06:07:50 pm »

I was actually on a short break during a continuing ed class for license renewal when I posted earlier.  We started talking grounding/bonding and it occurred to me that romex (NM) is constructed with a ground wire located between the two current carrying conductors.  When that wire started to melt, it should have shorted and tripped the breaker or blown a fuse fairly quickly.  If it kept heating long enough to melt the insulation completely off, there may be a a bonding issue as well that should be addressed.  Something you might ask the electrician about so he double checks it-in the interests of keeping your neighbor safe.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: What's the worst thing that can happen?
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2016, 10:33:19 pm »

I was actually on a short break during a continuing ed class for license renewal when I posted earlier.  We started talking grounding/bonding and it occurred to me that romex (NM) is constructed with a ground wire located between the two current carrying conductors.  When that wire started to melt, it should have shorted and tripped the breaker or blown a fuse fairly quickly.  If it kept heating long enough to melt the insulation completely off, there may be a a bonding issue as well that should be addressed.  Something you might ask the electrician about so he double checks it-in the interests of keeping your neighbor safe.
I think I have them talked into getting a real electrician to sort this out.

They shared a few more anecdotes about strange electrical noises coming from under the house, and some strange theories about how the wire fire started some where else and moved to the closet. I decided to not try to educate them about electricity and stop selling after they said they would get a real electrician to sort out the mysterious under the house wiring situation... 8) I can quit when I'm ahead (an early lesson from sales that stuck).

======
I am trying to remember what i saw... the wire was pretty trashed but one end was still connected to the heater/blower assembly and it looked like romex (was) black wire was bonded to pretty heavy duty wire clamp with another big fat black wire, and maybe neutral was soldered (?) to a bus wire????   Inside the melted romex i only recall seeing two copper conductors, not three.

I could dig into this closer, but for now, I will let them sort it out using professional (?) help... This is poor small town MS, so who knows what they'll dig up for an electrician? I may try lurk around some just to make sure he isn't too scary, but i don't really have much say in the matter. 

BTW looking at the compressor there was an extra small gauge brown wire coming from the compressor housing and into the basement bypassing the switch box... ???

The funny thing is the compressor may be OK (lets hope),,, just some red neck wiring mischief under the house when that guy unwired the wood heater blower.


JR
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: What's the worst thing that can happen?
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2016, 10:47:20 pm »



,,, just some red neck wiring mischief under the house when that guy unwired the wood heater blower.


JR

Surely not in Mississippi?
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: What's the worst thing that can happen?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2016, 11:27:17 pm »

Never ask an engineer, "what's the worst that can happen?" You will get an answer.  ;D

You might check around to see if there are any social services agencies (public or private) that could help them pay for repairs.

Your electric and/or gas utility may be able to direct you. They may not be able to recommend an electrician or HVAC contractor, but they may know an agency that has a relationship with some. Also check with food banks or other agencies; they may have connections with people that can help.
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Tom Bourke

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Re: What's the worst thing that can happen?
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2016, 12:16:53 am »

Just a point of conversation.  I have had the fan on the out side compressor unit go bad.  The compressor would start out drawing normal current and then clime to just over 50A before the 30A breaker would cut out.  This over draw could take a very long time to build up and trip.  I strapped an industrial box fan to the top of the condenser unit till the 1/4 hp motor could be replaced.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: What's the worst thing that can happen?
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2016, 02:28:25 am »

It looks like from an abundance of caution, they cut two power feeds going into the blower/heat unit. Even though there is a sub panel right there with all four breakers turned off. They also cut the thermostat wires and anything that looked electrical.

Ironically, by cutting the wires in "an abundance of caution," they actually created a more hazardous condition. Now, should the cutouts/breakers/fuses be reenergized, now they have bare live wires (I assume they didn't tape them off -- their total lack of understanding electricity suggests that they wouldn't) hanging out there.  :o

And in the process, they complicated repairs, likely making the repair much more expensive than it could have been.

I think that some basic education in how electricity works may be in order. Not that we'd expect them to do their own wiring, but just so that they know how to stay safe around it. A little understanding goes a long way: it can prevent panic in an emergency, and it helps prevent people from doing stupid stuff out of ignorance. Fear is based in ignorance; understanding conquers fears.
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Kevin Maxwell

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Re: What's the worst thing that can happen?
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2016, 11:13:35 am »

I have no idea what the electrical code is but I would worry about Romex in a crawl space and what might get under there and decides to chew on the wires. I would hope that they would use properly sized metal clad wire under there.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: What's the worst thing that can happen?
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2016, 11:58:04 am »

Never ask an engineer, "what's the worst that can happen?" You will get an answer.  ;D

You might check around to see if there are any social services agencies (public or private) that could help them pay for repairs.

Your electric and/or gas utility may be able to direct you. They may not be able to recommend an electrician or HVAC contractor, but they may know an agency that has a relationship with some. Also check with food banks or other agencies; they may have connections with people that can help.
Sorry if I gave the impression he was destitute, he isn't but, but lives on a tight budget, like so many people today.

A while back I lent him a few thousand dollars to buy a used pick-up truck and he is paying me back a modest amount every month. A couple times he has asked me to hold the check before cashing/depositing, so I can tell he is living month to month. He'll be OK, while a new compressor might put a dent in his finances, I can help him more if he needs it.

He just spent a week in the hospital (he's old) so that hospital bill will probably involve a co-pay.

JR

 
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Don't tune your drums half-ass. Listen to what a properly "cleared" drum sounds like.   http://circularscience.com/

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: What's the worst thing that can happen?
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2016, 12:08:35 pm »

Ironically, by cutting the wires in "an abundance of caution," they actually created a more hazardous condition. Now, should the cutouts/breakers/fuses be reenergized, now they have bare live wires (I assume they didn't tape them off -- their total lack of understanding electricity suggests that they wouldn't) hanging out there.  :o
The wires are not taped off, and they cut them while energized. Now they are all cold and I trust any would be electrician, will make repairs before resetting the breakers.
Quote
And in the process, they complicated repairs, likely making the repair much more expensive than it could have been.

I think that some basic education in how electricity works may be in order. Not that we'd expect them to do their own wiring, but just so that they know how to stay safe around it. A little understanding goes a long way: it can prevent panic in an emergency, and it helps prevent people from doing stupid stuff out of ignorance. Fear is based in ignorance; understanding conquers fears.
I have tried over several years to impart better electrical understanding, but teaching a few 80 YO how electricity works, is not a good use of their or my time... I think they respect my opinion at least a little, but I can't force them to do anything.

I am pleased they will engage a (real?) electrician to undo the mess caused by a good old boy who wasn't. 

JR
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Don't tune your drums half-ass. Listen to what a properly "cleared" drum sounds like.   http://circularscience.com/

John Roberts {JR}

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Re: What's the worst thing that can happen?
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2016, 12:12:29 pm »

I have no idea what the electrical code is but I would worry about Romex in a crawl space and what might get under there and decides to chew on the wires. I would hope that they would use properly sized metal clad wire under there.
I am not holding my breath for BX, but would be relieved to see at least a sensible gauge Romex,,,

The wire that burned up was too small IMO, while probably worked that way for years.

JR
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Don't tune your drums half-ass. Listen to what a properly "cleared" drum sounds like.   http://circularscience.com/

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Re: What's the worst thing that can happen?
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2016, 12:12:29 pm »


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