Electrical Questions

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  #1  
Old 04-26-04, 02:11 PM
Shadz
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Electrical Questions

Hi everyone,

I am in the process of finishing my basement (condo built 2 years ago) and am adding recessed lighting and outlets. The feed from the panel in the attached garage to a metal junction box (ground in box) in the basement is one 14-3 wire connected to two breakers (a 15 amp breaker (red wire) marked "Basement lights" and a 20 amp (black wire) breaker marked "Furnace" with a shared white wire. Hard wired smoke alarms also connect to furnace feed. It's a gas furnace with elect. ignitor). Anyway, the panel is signed off for inspection by city inspector and the wiring for the condos was done by a well known reputable electrical contractor.

I have two (or possibly more) problems so far (most likely because I am not a well known reputable electical contractor). I took down the conduit to run the wire in the joist cavity to allow for drywall and was careful to mark all wires before doing so. The original conduit containg the wires from the furnace to the junction box contained only a black and white wire. No ground. After adding connections to switches and outlets to the RED wired circuit and renutting the wires, all switches and outlets worked fine but I noticed a faint humming sound coming from the furnace (the furnace functions properly however). I'm not sure if this was always there and I just didn't notice it before or what. To diagnose the problem, I disconnected all outlets and switches I added and reconnected the wires to their original state as if I had done nothing. Still a faint humming. (As I think back on it now, I did not connect the wires fully but merely had them touching when performing this test. Could the humming be caused by a poor connection? I have quite a few wires in the junction box and maybe one is loose? The box closes easily though.

My second problem is that when I plug a three prong cord into the outlets there is a VERY slight visible spark. I tested a radio but it was only two prong and there was no spark at all.

Also, when I turn on a TV I have down there it always immediately turns off when I first turn it on and then stays on the second time.

I'm going to have my brother-in-law who is an electrician look everything over before sheetrocking but would like to have everything as far done as possible before doing so. I always struggle to smile when my girlfriend tells me how impressed she is with the new lighting, because I have nagging doubt and nightmares about a fire starting.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 04-26-04, 06:17 PM
Shadz
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Electrical humming sound

Hi everyone,

I am in the process of finishing my basement (condo built 2 years ago) and am adding recessed lighting and outlets.

My first question is pretty simple. I know conduit is not necessary since I will be sheetrocking and the Romex will be behind the sheetrock (and nailing plates where the Romex goes through the studs). I have two closets in the basement and wasn't planning on sheetrocking the interior of the closets. Do I: A) Need to run the Romex through conduit. B) Leave the romex exposed since it will be on the interior of a closet or C) Sheetrock the inside of the closet?

Secondly, the feed from the panel in the attached garage to a metal junction box (ground in box) in the basement is one 14-3 wire connected to two breakers (a 15 amp breaker (red wire) marked "Basement lights" and a 20 amp (black wire) breaker marked "Furnace" with a shared white wire. Hard wired smoke alarms also connect to furnace feed. It's a gas furnace with elect. ignitor). Anyway, the panel is signed off for inspection by city inspector and the wiring for the condos was done by a well known reputable electrical contractor.

I have two (or possibly more) problems so far (most likely because I am not a well known reputable electical contractor). I took down the conduit to run the wire in the joist cavity to allow for drywall and was careful to mark all wires before doing so. The original conduit containg the wires from the furnace to the junction box contained only a black and white wire. No ground. After adding connections to switches and outlets to the RED wired circuit and renutting the wires, all switches and outlets worked fine but I noticed a faint humming sound coming from the furnace (the furnace functions properly however). I'm not sure if this was always there and I just didn't notice it before or what. To diagnose the problem, I disconnected all outlets and switches I added and reconnected the wires to their original state as if I had done nothing. Still a faint humming. (As I think back on it now, I did not connect the wires fully but merely had them touching when performing this test. Could the humming be caused by a poor connection? I have quite a few wires in the junction box and maybe one is loose? The box closes easily though.

My second problem is that when I plug a three prong cord into the outlets there is a VERY slight visible spark. I tested a radio but it was only two prong and there was no spark at all.

Also, when I turn on a TV I have down there it always immediately turns off when I first turn it on and then stays on the second time.

I'm going to have my brother-in-law who is an electrician look everything over before sheetrocking but would like to have everything as far done as possible before doing so. I always struggle to smile when my girlfriend tells me how impressed she is with the new lighting, because I have nagging doubt and nightmares about a fire starting.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
 
  #3  
Old 04-26-04, 06:29 PM
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Hello: Shadz

Please be patient. One or more of our electricians will help you as soon as possible. Please use the reply button to update this thread and or reply back to an answer provided.

Multiple posts have been merged into this single post.
 
  #4  
Old 04-26-04, 07:18 PM
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Do I: A) Need to run the Romex through conduit. B) Leave the romex exposed since it will be on the interior of a closet or C) Sheetrock the inside of the closet?
As long as the Romex is running through holes in the studs (and as long as your city allows Romex at all), you do not need to use conduit or drywall (unless you need the drywall as a fireblock). However, it might be best not to run cable through these closet studs at all (why would you need to?). But I'd recommend you drywall the closet anyway. It'll probably only cost you $20 in materials and you can probably drywall it in a half hour. It'll help keep the dust off whatever you store in the closet.

When you removed the conduit, you probably removed the ground too. I'm not sure why you needed to remove the conduit, but the removal of the grounding is very bad.

I have no idea why your furnace hums. Probably because it can't sing very well, or maybe because it isn't grounded any more.

Very small sparks when making or unmaking a connection are usually not a problem. In fact, some spark is unavoidable due to the physics of the thing.

Your TV sounds haunted. I have no explanation for that.

How many home wiring books have you thoroughly read cover to cover? I hope the answer is "several".
 
  #5  
Old 04-27-04, 10:28 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Yorktown, VA
Posts: 322
The hum from the furnace is probably the thermostat transformer....very common phenomenon. This is not necessarily indicative of any other problem. Bottom line, if once all your other problems have been identified and/or resolved the furnace still hums, I wouldn't worry about it.

Good luck,
 
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