What's going on in this kitchen?

Old 07-09-05, 01:11 AM
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What's going on in this kitchen?

My sister-in-law and her husband moved into a new old house a couple of months ago. I've been helping them with a few things, and they asked me about a problem with the circuits in their kitchen after I told them there was a blatant code violation in the front yard.

The layout goes like this from left to right, including a corner of the kitchen. All outlets above the counter unless noted:

Working outlet --- GFCI(No power) --- Corner of room --- Outlet(No power) ---Working outlet(Not GFCI) under sink --- GFCI(No power) --- Working refrigerator circuit.

On the opposite side of the kitchen, there are 3 functioning outlets. I thought it was odd that there would be a working outlet on one side of a non-working GFCI, a non-working outlet on the other, another working outlet, then another non-working GFCI. I'm no electrician, but you could tell the GFCI's were chintzy and should be replaced.

I told her I could probably fix the problem in front, but I wouldn't touch that kitchen with a 10 foot pole and she should call an electrician.

I went over there to help him with their fence, and asked him where I could plug my saw in. She went to the front with an extension cord, and as I watched, plugged it into a wooden box.

I said, "There's an outlet in that box? She went, "Uh huh." I went behind the bushes and looked, and saw an 18 inch piece of conduit sticking out of the ground, run into a workbox attached to the house. The workbox had a cover on it, and about 5 feet of 14-2 sticking out of the top. This ran into a 10"x6" wooden box with no cover sitting loosely on the ground, wired to an uncovered outlet in a junction box. Just for good measure, it wasn't grounded.

This was inspected and passed by the seller's inspector.
Old 07-09-05, 05:35 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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I'm not sure what your question is exactly, but I'll give it a try.

The fact that the receptacles under the sink and behind the refrigerator work probably means they are on their own circuits, which is what one would expect. The other receptacles that don;t work might be on one circuit, or might be on two. Without knowing if they have power or how they are wired, nobody can say much more. If the wires are intact then it should be fairly straight forward to fix the problem and perhaps get the GFCIs in the correct place.

That box with the receptacle in it sounds dangerous. But it also sounds easy to correct. The box on the side of the house sounds like it is fine. Simply remove the wooden box and it wiring.

As for inspectors, you get what you pay for. They may have had someone who knows very little or nothing about electricity, or they may have had someone who didn't even check many of these items.
Old 07-11-05, 11:43 AM
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Those electrical issues don't sound major to me. Sure, that stuff needs to be fixed but it isn't a large job to do so. The kitchen receptacles can likely be fixed in a Saturday afternoon.

As far as the inspectors go, they usually aren't well versed in electrical systems. These guys are really good at finding structural defects, foundation problems, drainage problems, etc; many have backgrounds in construction and contracting. They can sometimes find major electrical problems, but rarely can do more than use receptacle testers.

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