Sunday, October 10, 2010

Electrical Inconsistencies

We have been busy for the past week with some major demolition work upstairs. After much planning and preparing, we spent most of our spare time this week dismantling two bedrooms. I have mentioned previously that our home has two electric meters; the original circuit breaker panel is located in the basement, while the second is in a bedroom closet upstairs. One of my jobs during this renovation project is to relocate the panel and redistribute the subsequent networks. Here are two peculiarities we have encountered so far.

After disconnecting the mains supply and dismantling the panel I noticed that one of the two lamps in the stairway was out. I know that the stairwell lights are supplied by the basement panel, and assumed that I had a bad bulb. Although, my suspicions grew after a few failed attempts to replace the bulb. I need to investigate further, but I have a hypothesis here. I suspect that while the the live wire is connected to the switches and routed to the basement, the neutral for this one lamp was routed to the second story bus bar, which completed the circuit. Since the second story panel has been removed, the circuit for this lamp is now incomplete. What a mess.

While excavating the walls I would periodically disconnect receptacle boxes or remove wires and conduit. I made it a point to disable the supply connections and remove the panel before starting, so I knew that the lines were dead. As I yanked an outlet box out of the wall, I was surprised to see two lines connected to the box. One more than there should have been! We could easily trace one line from the light fixture / junction box; however, a second line exited the receptacle box and went down in the wall to the first story. Since we knew that all the electrics below us were supplied from the basement panel, I gently pulled on the mystery line. Gradually, the bare end of the cord was reeled-in, with only the live wire terminated with just a wire nut.

Amanda says that it is remarkable that the house hasn't caught fire yet.

1 comment:

  1. I have a feeling we'll end up having to rewire the entire house as we go, because it is obvious that the previous owner did NOT know what the heck he was doing! Grrr!