Some advise needed for a non-electrician, new homeowner...
I recently purchased my house, and here are two examples of what i've found so far...
Noticing that most of my kitchen was on a single breaker I traced the wires. I found a single sqaure box with one wire in and 6 wires out. Three of the wires were ultimately cut! One of which was a cord haning out of the center of the box. Wire was old (there was a ground wire run separately.
I pulled some paneling down and noticed a round patch in the plaster underneath. Broke the plaster off and pulled old newspaper out of what turned out to be a round electrical box! Must have been a wall sconse, so for kicks I measured for a second on on the same wall (simetry) and there was one! Same filled box. Wires in, wires out (wire nuts). Not only are they live, but tracing them back revealed a single jumping run through three outlets in back room, lights and outlet in bathroom, outlet in same room, and lamp in hall. (I see that a wire leaves the lamp in the hall as well, but who knows where that goes...)
My questions. 1) was the newspaper for kindling? 2) What can I do as a homeowner? Am I allowed to remove the offending wires? Being a "dumb" homeowner, can I just cover the whole thing back up? (not gonna do that..) l've been looking at codes for our town regarding licence and permits, and I'm getting the feeling I'd be under less legal scrutiny to actually ignore the problem (how am I supposed to know this is a problem...) than actually correcting it myself.
I guess what I'm wondering is... How much can I do as a homeowner?
As you can probably guess, We cannot suggest that you do this work yourself or use anyone other than a Licensed/Certified Electrician for this work. It would also help if the person was familiar with the wiring practices of the day when your system was installed. An person experienced in this aspect may have some extra insight as to the best way to proceed. Repairs to older systems sometimes require a lighter touch to avoid damage to the part that will remain, you might want to keep that in mind too.
[This message has been edited by Bill Addiss (edited 10-13-2001).]