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Old May 11, 2019, 01:29 AM   #22
hemiram
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 6, 2005
Location: Toledo, ohio
Posts: 631
A friend of mine is an electrician and the stuff he sees in old houses is scary. He takes pics of some of it and it's both scary and funny to see. Bypassing fuses, jumping breakers, too small wire gauge, it's unending.

In my own experience with bad wiring. We bought a house when I was 9 and moved in. For a few months, nothing went wrong. Around Thanksgiving, I was downstairs setting up my model trains and I started smelling something burning. Plastic burning. I thought it was something I was doing (Soldering) at first, but it soon became obvious it wasn't my soldering iron making that smell. So I looked around where the breaker box was and it was coming from that area, but at first, I couldn't figure out what it was. I touched the main breaker panel and it was the usual 80 degrees or so, but when I touched one of the two smaller boxes that were mounted on each side of the main box and one was almost too hot to touch, so I opened it up and saw the problem, it was wired with lamp cord! That box supplied the entire upstairs of the house, and it was wired with brown 16 gauge lamp cord. I got my dad and he called his buddy the old electrician who came out a half hour later and rewired the whole upstairs by bedtime that night. He kept shaking his head and said over and over, "This guy had no idea what he was doing!". He said it was a total "amateur job" probably done by the previous owner. Apparently, my sister putting her big hair dryer up there and using it was too much for the lamp cord to tolerate. After the rewire, The lights were brighter and they didn't dim down when you turned on the TV or stereo. The electrician guy checked out all the other wiring and said it was fine. We found out from the next door neighbor that the previous owner of the house had done all of the wiring and plumbing upstairs which was converted from a huge attic. A plumber checked out all the copper pipes upstairs and all was well, so we expected we would have nothing to worry about, but one night the next spring we had a huge windstorm and suddenly the furnace caught fire. I was in the basement when it happened, playing pool with my best friend and when we opened it up to hit it with the fire extinguisher, there was a book of papers burning. It was the manual and wiring diagram for the furnace. The previous owner had put it inside "so it wouldn't be lost". We had no heat after the fire, so out came the same guy who rewired the upstairs, who muttered, "What kind of idiot was the guy who used to own this place?" over and over as he fixed the burned up furnace wiring. How I found out that the previous owner had put the papers inside for safekeeping was kind of funny too. He was over at the next door neighbors drinking (What else?), and was muttering about my dog's barking. He said something like, "Tom, I wouldn't tolerate that stupid little &%(#*! yapping like that!". I was over there for some reason, and I said to him, "At least my dog isn't stupid enough to wire the upstairs of my house with lamp cord, or to put the papers for the furnace inside the furnace, so it can burn up the wiring!". Needless to say he wasn't a fan of me after that. I was called, "That little punk next door!" by him until I was much past the point of being called little at all. Years later, I would run into him at a NY's party and didn't remember me. Until I said something about the lamp cord wiring job. He remembered me fine then.
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