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Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
SvenNYC Offline OP
So after a few months, I finally got around to taking care of this at my friend & across-the-hall neighbor's apartment:

[Linked Image from]
[Linked Image from]

The cover plate was being held onto the socket using a WOOD screw. Polarity was also reversed and one of the terminals was kind of loose.

The curious cats that also live in that apartment are lucky the plate never fell off.

In the meantime to keep their nosy faces out of the hole, my friend had covered the damaged section of the receptacle up with one of those "child protection" plastic covers you stick into the socket.

In the meantime, while I worked on this I had plugged a lamp into the NEMA 5-20 socket for the air conditioner (on a different circuit).

Later after I was done with the socket in the picture, I went to flip that 5-20 socket around becasue it had been installed ground up and air-conditioner's cord was exiting out the top of the plug (so it was kinked at an angle).

Here's a list of what I found wrong:

- Loose terminal screws.

- Wires wrapped counterclockwise around terminal screws (so when you tightened the screws, the wires slipped right off)

- No electrical tape wrapped around the device. It was fitted into a "gem box" so the terminals of the device were very close to the sides of the box. The device was loose in the box, so it could potentially have shifted and come in contact with the box.

And to make it worse: These new 5-20 air conditioner circuits had been installed by a NEW YORK CITY LICENCED electrical contractor only a few years ago!!!!! [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image]

I made it right. In fact, I had to do the same thing (re-do the connections and wrap the sucker up) to the 5-20 sockets in my own apartment when I moved into my own apartment almost three years ago.

I can excuse a terminal screw coming loose, or device fixing screws coming loose because of use. But wrapping the wires around the wrong way on the screw just reeks of carelessness in my humble opinion. [Linked Image]

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 308
My opinion on the workmanship is very simple:

"Take pride in what you do or don't do at all"


I repeat that statement everyday.


Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 349
Amen Brither! Besides, how much extra effort does it really take to wrap the wire clockwise around a screw, and then tighten the sucker up?


There are 10 types of people. Those who know binary, and those who don't.
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
In the words of an old Ned Miller song, "Do what you do, do well." It seems to be a vanishing sentiment these days.

As someone who has always had cats around the house, I'm always conscious of what our furry friends might poke their noses into.

Leaving damaged devices like this is not good where kids and animals are around. [Linked Image]

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 806
Speaking of "pet peeves", does anyone else hate seeing receptacles and switches painted over like the picture shows?

Is it really that difficult for Harry Homeowner to remove the switchplates before painting, or at least trim around the boxes with a brush, rather than just hitting the whole mess with a roller? I've come across receptacles with so many layers of paint on them that you couldn't put a plug in anymore.....

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 886
Is it really that difficult for Harry Homeowner...

Not just the HO. I've had pros do this and once even right in front of me. I was ready to kill him! I yelled "where the hell are you from the Bronx!" (Sorry Sven)


Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,438
Come across that kinda thing alot here... put it's usually the homeowner/handyman bearing responsibiliy... not a licensed EC! [Linked Image] At least your neighbors are lucky enough to have someone who'll "do it right" nearby [Linked Image]

Funny thing I've noticed between east coast/west Coast.... (or maybe just NY, as I lived there & noticed this personally).. Seem to find alot of the brown outlet/Ivory faceplate thing there... Rarely come across mismatched trim here unless it's someplace like a garage or attic were one might not seem to pay alot of attention... I thought it might be a NY fashion statement [Linked Image]


Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Painted over devices: The worst case I remember seeing was a local house where somebody had painted over everything like this, not just electrical outlets but also window handles, door knobs, etc.

As I recall, one room was dark green, one was bright red. and another was a kind of sickly purple color. Ugh!

I did once see a semi-warehouse-style food store where the face of outlets had been deliberately painted red, yellow, and blue as identification as to which phase the receptacle was on.

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
SvenNYC Offline OP
Hbiss, no offense taken. I'm from Queens County anyway, so I certainly don't mind ragging on someone from Da Bronx. [Linked Image]

And, yes. Painted over sockets and switches really send me into fits of anger. Well not like that but I do get tee'd off when I've had to "chisel" around a wall plate in order to remove it (and Lord help me if a chunk of paint -- or worse yet, plaster -- comes off with the wall).

Once I replaced a socket at my mom's flat where the plate came off with the outlet's plastic face stuck on it. That's how damaged this device was and also how many layers of paint were on that thing! [Linked Image]

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