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  • need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

    Last Thursday 07/02/09, I agreed to purchase my house on a land contract from my landlord of about 5 years. I thought I knew everything about this house. good and bad. I also thought he was a good man. He made an offer to me about a month ago saying that he was just turning 70 and wanted to get out of the rental business. he said he hated the idea of fixing it up again, having it vacant for who knows how long and then paying a real estate agent so he offered it to me at 6%. I talked with other home owners in the area and found the price is comparable. I agreed and we signed the legal papers last thursday. Well, since then, our ceiling fan began vibrating during any speed. then friday as she was cleaning it, the fan fell on her head. I go to fix it and noticed the box is screwed in directly under the 4x4 junction box. I walk around the house looking for the attic then I realized, I never noticed an attic entrance door. I walk around the house and noticed we had an attic window. now I am really curious. I get a latter and pry the window open, crawled inside was in disbelief. Why would anyone have more than enough fiberglass insulation in there ceiling, then ontop of that, at least 15 inches of blown insulation everywhere. I played hell finding my ceiling fan box. Then I got really nervous. The fan box was screwed to a 1/4 inch piece of rotting plywood that was supported by a 2x2 between the joist Also, about 30% of the wiring was very old. old like aluminum then I found two areas where the wires were twisted, brazed and left bare. I believe the wires were copper and aluminum. I got my 12 gal. wet vac to suc up all that blown insulation to see what it really looks like up there. 14 39 gallon bags later, I still cant see anything. Any suggestions about the insulation and the wiring? Also, the landlord was my friend for 5 years told me he owned it for about 9 years. Was that insulation blown up there to hide from inspectors the electrical and any other problems that might be up there? any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated
    Thanks
    Mike

  • #2
    Re: need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

    I think its in your BEST interest to let a Licensed Professional handle this,

    Just my opinion,

    ~Joseph
    Help With Your Pool Or Spa Pump?►WeT HeaD Pump Repair ► Watch Me On YouTube: Pool & Spa Pump Repair TV
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    • #3
      Re: need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

      Sounds like you bought a real mess,better call in a pro for this.
      Down here its a good thing the house's are made of concrete or their would be a lot of fire's.I'm in construction and have never seen a inspector.Most new buildings are done by licensed electricians but on the older homes its always a mess.

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      • #4
        Re: need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

        ooooookkkkkkkkkkkkk. you had a ceiling fan that wasn't installed properly. so you vacuumed up 14 bags of insulation. i live a 100 miles south of you in indiana, so i know what the weather is like there. the landlord put the insulation up there to keep you warm in winter and cool in the summer. please put it back. he didn't need to cover anything, you weren't looking. you didn't even know where to look........... for gods sake hire a qualified handyman to put your fan up. you didn't mention any other problems in the 5 years that you have lived there, so we will believe that you didn't have any. the question is do you have other problems and they haven't hit "her" on the head?..............by the way if you find a qualified handyman please post their info here because we don't know of any...........keep in touch, breid

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        • #5
          Re: need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

          Breid:
          Of course the house had other problems but those were things I could deal with. This is a very small house so it was not hard at all to dig thru the insulation to find the area my wife was tapping. As for the insulation, I now have 18 39 gallon bags and still unable to see the top of the fiberglass insulation. It is obvious that someone screwed up when they installed the ceiling fan. That junction box should not have been used for anything. Not even a light. As for the bare wires I found so far, I am not about to put any insulation back. At least not until the old wire is replaced with something more current... like wire that has a ground. My main problem is how am I going to get that older wire out of the walls. At least find out their condition. As for my wifes head! she was standing on a step ladder while cleaning it and eventhough the box came out of the ceiling, the wires held preventing her from getting any type of injury. Thank you for your reply

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          • #6
            Re: need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

            some wire is tined copper, (thus has an aluminum look) there normally is nothing wrong with "old" wiring if it was done correctly to begin with and is in a dry location,

            I may be wrong but I have never been able to solder, braze, or weld, copper to aluminum,

            you may want some one to look it over and see if there are problems, (apparently you found some on the ceiling fan), but that doesn't mean the whole house is a mess,

            I would put the insulation back in after you figure if you actually have any more problems besides a poor ceiling fan installation,

            If you feel that you need things looked over hire a good electrician to put the fan back up and install it correctly and look over the other wiring while your at it,

            If you just do not trust the old wiring hire a electrician to rewire the entire house or until you fell safe with the process or what is in the house,
            Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
            attributed to Samuel Johnson
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            PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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            • #7
              Re: need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

              All part of owning an older home. Or sometimes.... a newer home.

              Unless there is a written warranty from the previous owner or some state statute requiring one (doubt it), then everything related to the home is your responsibility now. And it was also your responsibility to look into things before you signed anything. I only mention this because there seems to be some inference that you feel slighted in some way. I don't think that's the case.

              To answer your question, I'd call two or three licensed electricians related to any wiring problems. Try to get recommendations from people. Typically better than just calling an advertised company in my experience.

              The plumbing, painting, windows, roof, insulation, flooring etc. etc. etc. and....

              Electrical-is your responsibility. Hire some good recommended tradesmen.

              J.C.

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              • #8
                Re: need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

                I am going to say one more thing, you said wire with out a ground,

                tell me how many applances now have the ground terminal on them? most everthing I have seen recently is a two wire appance, (clock, lamps, hair blowers, curling irons, tvs stereos etc, vacuums are about the only ones I rember seeing a three prong plug on, and I do not know even how many of them have ground plugs on them), NOW if you do not have a grounded circurts to the kitchen or the refergerator or freezer or to the washer machine, I would run grounded wire to them, but in most places the ground is not even used, also if you decied to up grade you will have to follow the currnet code your area is under.

                yes you are probly "safer" under the more current codes, but I really do not know if it is, that much better, (yes I am all for GFIC around water)

                (but I watched a video just yesterday of a hair dryer pluged in to a GFIC outlet, and droped in to a sink full of water and never triped the GFIC, as the sink was plastic and hooked up with plastice plumbing and there was not a leak to trip the Ground falut interupter, and the dryer was a two wire unit).

                so the grounded wire is nearly useless if your not useing ground applances,
                Last edited by BHD; 07-05-2009, 05:51 PM.
                Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                attributed to Samuel Johnson
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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                • #9
                  Re: need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

                  BHD and JCs Plumbing.
                  Thanks for your reply. I never knew about tinned wire. I do know there is a ground within the house because I have a crawl space where I have been many times and all wiring is current down there. My concern was the bare wire connections in the attic where I have never been before. When I go back up, I am going to take pictures of it though.
                  Thanks again
                  Mike

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                  • #10
                    Re: need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

                    Originally posted by BHD View Post
                    NOW if you do not have a grounded circurts to the kitch(but I watched a video just yesterday of a hair dryer pluged in to a GFIC outlet, and droped in to a sink full of water and never triped the GFIC, as the sink was plastic and hooked up with plastice plumbing and there was not a leak to trip the Ground falut interupter, and the dryer was a two wire unit).
                    GFCI's don't require a ground to trip.


                    To the op. The insulation was a good thing. Put it back then everything's said and done. Hire an electrician to go through and correct and wiring issues you might have. As scary as the wiring may look to you it may still be safe and functional.

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                    • #11
                      Re: need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

                      I know that GFIC do not require a ground to trip, but if the power going out and coming back is the same it will not trip either, and since it the hair dryer was in a insulated unit, there was no change in the flow of power, even tho it was submerged in water, if the sink had been grounded either by plumbing pipe or the hair dryer by the third prong ground it would have leaked some power off setting the balance of the incoming and out going power tripping the GFIC,

                      it does have to leak some power some where to trip, and that is usually via a ground or person touching some thing that is grounded,
                      Last edited by BHD; 07-05-2009, 07:10 PM.
                      Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                      attributed to Samuel Johnson
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                      PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

                        Originally posted by BHD View Post
                        I know that GFIC do not require a ground to trip, but if the power going out and coming back is the same it will not trip either, and since it the hair dryer was in a insulated unit, there was no change in the flow of power, even tho it was submerged in water, if the sink had been grounded either by plumbing pipe or the hair dryer by the third prong ground it would have leaked some power off setting the balance of the incoming and out going power tripping the GFIC,

                        it does have to leak some power some where to trip, and that is usually via a ground or person touching some thing that is grounded,
                        5mA (4 to 6mA) is where a GFCI is required to trip.

                        I guess in 17 years you never took down a scam artist or had to investigate a fraud case?
                        I would have thought some one with your background would have been more careful going
                        into a transaction such as this and done his homework (meaning pay for a home inspection)
                        before settlement.

                        Sorry if that sounds harsh, but like JC I think you could have done more to protect yourself
                        and got taken in by your friendly 5 year relationship with your former landlord.
                        Last edited by Bob D.; 07-05-2009, 07:51 PM.
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                        • #13
                          Re: need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

                          Look in the closets. That is probably where the trap door is for the attic.
                          info for all: http://www.hoistman.com http://www.freeyabb.com/phpbb/index....wwtoolinfoforu --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."

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                          • #14
                            Re: need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

                            now I'm no electrition and dont claim to be one. So I'm just going off of prior expereance here. But you said the wiring in the crawl space was new. Sounds like you have the same code as we had back in illinois. Some years back we had bought a 100 year old home. when we updated the electric in that home (done by a licensed electrician) we only had to update any wires that where showing as in the basment once they ran into the walls they where left alone.

                            Now that doesnt fix your fan problem but might explane the electrical for the fan that should be an easy fix. just pick up a brace that goes between the ceiling joists put you box on it and rehock up your fan.

                            Jim
                            http://www.jcremodeling.net/

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                            • #15
                              Re: need help in how to fix serious electrical problem

                              There is not a problem on Earth that cannot be solved with unreasonable amounts of high explosives.

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