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So I've Been Helping Wire A House

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And instead of rewriting the wheel, here is a post I made on another forum nine days ago:

ASK IF IT'S SAFE TO DO SOMETHING BEFORE ACTUALLY DOING IT!!!

So I've been going to this house with some classmates to help do electrical work. It's something to do as I usually have nothing going on after class. And today was no different. Class ends and we go to that house. Well earlier, between classes, we go and get me some tools I really needed. One of my classmates asked me to buy him a couple of things and he would trade me some pliers for them (because I needed pliers and he needed those things, the value of it all was about the same). They were good pliers, they were just extra he picked up for $15. Back to the story.

 

My first task was to gank some lights on the porch. One of them didn't have all the parts we needed, so we only got one up. Next we went outside to the garage to hang lights. We get on the ladder for the first light - the middle one. We check for power, as we should, and read none. We hang it without incident. We get the rightmost light next and it went without incident. We go to get the leftmost light next. We check for power and read none. The classmate that was helping me was going to do the wiring, but had to go find a ladder because holding anything above your head is tiring, so I was to get the wires ready.

 

When you go to wire a light on a new house, there are steps you're supposed to follow. You start by cutting the outer insulation with a certain tool. You then peel off the insulation and any paper you uncover (two strips of paper). You then measure six inches from the back of the box and cut the wires one at a time at the six inch mark. I had way too much wire to work with, so I was going to cut it at a random point and measure later. I took those pliers and started to squeeze down. There was a loud pop, a bright flash, and sparks. The pliers were insulated, so I was unharmed. The pliers, on the other hand, went from great condition to poor in an instant.

 

In less than one minute from when we checked for power to that incident, one of the drywall guys had turned the switch on to the outside lights and left it. Between me and my two classmates, we had four incidents today. The drywall guys had turned breakers on that they shouldn't have. They had no business getting into the breakers at all. And on top of that, when we started working on those lights, the drywall guys had just finished smoking weed.

 

Then there was another drywall guy upstairs - who had nothing to do with what was going on on th first floor - who had to cut some holes in the studs. If he had his one of the wires, he could have been hurt because that breaker was also supposed to be off. And then in the basement, while our boss was there, one of my classmated too a jold because yet another breaker was on that was supposed to be off (actually, that one may have been a GFCI instead of a breaker. But still).

 

Our boss is pissed that the incidents happened and he's going to contact the drywall guys' boss tomorrow to let him know. Today has just been a bad day.

 

 

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They say that when you want to work on the electricals when there are a bunch of other people around, pull out the fuse and carry it around in your pocket. It is highly unlikely that they would be carrying spare fuses of those sizes around, though they could swap fuses between circuits. You really had a lucky escape along with your buddies. I'm glad things turned out okay.

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There were no fuses, just circuit breakers. We could have removed the breakers, but that would have been more dangerous to everyone (think electrical fire). The only option we had that wasn't dangerous was to kill the main service (on the pole outside) and put a lock on it so no one could turn it back on.

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The circuit breakers that I previously had were earth leakage circuit breakers (ELCBs), which probably are not used in newer installations in some other parts of the world. I now have ground fault circuit breakers (GFCBs), which seem to trip when I use a specific section of a cooker unit. I am guessing that it probably does not serve the same purpose as the kind you are dealing with. Are you working with the arc fault circuit breakers (ARCBs)? I probably need to get an arc fault circuit breaker to prevent melting sockets from connecting appliances with two pin plugs to the three pin socket receptacles using an adapter; the adapters almost never have a stable electrical contact with the plug of the appliance and eventually melts with some charring. I believe the import of new two pin equipped devices is being restricted but that has done little to affect the sale of such devices.

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Well according to the NEC, every living space needs to be protected by AFCB's (living rooms, bedrooms, etc). As always, this does not apply to homes built before the change and it may be different in your area. And if your plugs are getting melted, AFCB's should help. Just keep in mind that AFCB's are 10x more sensitive than GFCB's, and something as simple as a light blowing can trip an AFCB. But in my case, we were outside, so the breaker was a GFCB.

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What a bummer! Glad you weren't hurt at any rate, you sure could of been easily enough. And to think they are legalizing pot in more and more places!

We have a lot of electric fence here, it's always a worry when there are several different people working here at the same time. Of course, the electric fence is designed to only be painful and not deadly, it is still unpleasant if you think it's unplugged and it isn't.

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