Got a call at the FD today for "Wires burning in the wall".
After we all show up, we go downstatirs to the laundry room, and the occupant tells us that there was "a big spark, and then a lot of smoke" and points to a 1900 mounted on the concrete wall, with one piece of 1/2" EMT entering from the side (9 o'clock) and another exiting the top (12 o'clock). There's a horizontal mount GFCI receptacle, with a slightly smaller than dime sized scorch mark under the test/reset buttons. Using the thermal imager (cool toy!) we see the conduit and breakers are cold...well, at least room temp.
After we kill the circuit, I get a closer look at the cover - it's a raised type (exposed work) cover, but...there are no mounting holes for a receptacle. Just the face of the GFCI sticking through.
After I remove the cover, you can see about 1 1/2" of cruchy melted Cu and insulation, and the loose GFCI wobbling on it's 12's. No mounting at all. Looks like the occupant happened to pull on the washer's cord, which grounded out the neutral against the box. ZAP....Poof!
The cover? Looks like somebody used a saber saw to cut a GFCI sized opening in a raised cover of some sort. Y'know, I guess that $1.85 would've pushed the project over budget! Yeesh.
Doug, Gotta love them Landlords!. Was this job fixed up properly in the end?. It's certainly the "little" things that make a safe installation (like using the proper fittings and wire for that matter). Must say, I've had my share of run-in's with skinflint Landlords, they really annoy the h**l out of me. Oh and don't even think of spending THAT kind of money!.
#27354 - 07/12/0305:22 AMRe: How I love cheap landlords
I've seen the same sort of penny-pinching short-cuts frequently:
* Need to add another cable into an existing junction box, but there isn't room, so just make a couple of flying splices outside the existing box. Hey, it costs money to buy a bigger box and re-do it properly, right?
* Don't have a junction box at all? Just use strip connectors and wrap some tape around the joint afterward. But yes, you guessed it, PVC tape costs money, so why not save a nickel by not even taping it up?
The list could go on and on.......
#27355 - 07/15/0305:45 AMRe: How I love cheap landlords
The land-lords that I hate the most, are the ones that want instant Electrical Safety, but don't want you to touch any of the wiring in case it ALL has to be replaced. The wiring is normally shot to pieces, before you even get in the door!. Or the ones that ask you "What was wrong with the old(switch, plug, light fitting) one?", as if you are supposed to feel guilty, for replacing it!.
#27356 - 07/15/0307:00 AMRe: How I love cheap landlords
The whole problem is the landlords dont care half the time they dont even live nearby and are so tite with a buck they squeak. In my area, the landlord will get an inspection from section 8, HUD, the city, or any other number of agencies but never calls the city electrical inspector, because he is not registered and the licensed electricians are too expensive. Or they hire you for one job and want you to take a hike while they do the work on My Permit, " I dont Think So." But once in awhile I get even with these scoundrels, they had me put in a service, all the time they were rewiring the rest of the house as if I hadnt a clue what they were doing. I finsihed and left and went home and called the inspector to inspect the service. So I show up at 9 am as the inspector said, to meet him there, the "crue" working on the house said, " what are you doing back here ?" I matter of factly said, " Who me ? Oh I am waiting for the Electrical inspector" The guy almost swallowed his false teeth. He called his boss, the landlord, and told him what I said he comes over, and from outside all I hear is materials being moved around in a real panic. After about 20 minutes of this they all filed out one by one and left. the inspector came passed the service, and asked what was going on in the house and I told him (I had planned to all along but he asked first) So he called his boss who called the sheriff, who got a "Stop all Work" order". The landlord got a fine out of it, and that was the end of it, but once in awhile we win one.
As far as anything gravitating from saftey to liability, the old addage holds always... Money talks and BS walks
#27359 - 07/15/0307:15 PMRe: How I love cheap landlords
I was recently at a friend's apartment to figure out why their phones were not working (trouble on telco's side...oh, well).
Out of curiosity, I opened the circuit breaker panel to find out if the breakers were warm. Nope, they were not warm. They were HOT. If I read correctly, the main breaker was 70AMP for a house that contains 3 apartments.
Landlord lives outside of the city, doesn't repair anything, etc.
"...and the beat goes on..."
#27361 - 08/07/0306:11 PMRe: How I love cheap landlords