Went to check out a service call today. Customer said he had a breaker keep tripping and he couldn't find the problem. They had just came back from vacation and found several breakers tripped. Most of them reset but one or two of them. I go out today and find the typical "do it yourselfer's" thing, you know, the ones who know just enough about electricity to be dangerous. The electrical panel was just about a nightmare with wires doubled up on breakers, with the wires overfused, with at least 2 circuits already in the "melt down" mode. I find the circuits in question
are a multi-circuit 14/3 going from the basement to the attic. With the attic full of insulation ( close to 2 ft. deep probably with blown insulation over top of regular lay -in insulation) I decide to troubleshoot by trying to find the middle of the circuit that is not working. First I take down a ceiling fan
I find the wires just bent over and taped. Not the problem, but A problem. I then go to the hall light to see what I got there. They have a 4ft. 3 tube florescent light there.
No problem. I take down the cover and find there has been some "rigging" there also. Still not finding the real problem. Then I notice a smoke detector that is easy to get to. I check it and find another bent wire and taped joint. After breaking the "hots" I go down and check the bad circuit out with my tester. No short is showing up anymore. I go upstairs expecting to have voltage on one of the wires, but instead I find nothing. After going to check down at the panel again, I find power leaving the breaker, but still no power up in the smoke detector box. I then take me some wire and run me a temporary line up to the "feed outs" in the smoke detector box and "vola"
everthing is working. I take a trip back up into the attic and plow through the insulation, and even beyond my expectations, I find the 14/3 burnt to a crisp for about five feet, then in two separate places it is burnt completely into.
I trace the wire to where it comes up into the attic, and find a piece of "lay in" insulation, with a charred hole in it about 2 feet in diameter. It so happens that this is the circuit the homeowner put a 30 amp breaker on, because he had wired a detached garage and a barn that is approximately 3 or 400 ft. away on this same circuit, and 15 amp. wasn't holding
He has a wife and about 3 0r 4 small children. I showed him the wire and insulation. I think it made a believer out of him, I hope. He did tell me to fix it. So I'm putting the garage and barn on a separate circuit, replacing the bad wire, and straightening out the panel for him. Just another example of people trying to do something,and they don't really know what they're doing. Maybe some things you can get away with like that, but electricity sometimes can be unforgiving
Just thought I needed to share that. There may be someone out there it may help, next time they think of doing their own home wiring without at least checking with someone who knows. Thanks for listening... Steve
[This message has been edited by sparkync (edited 07-10-2006).]