How Bad/Wrong Is This?


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Old 10-23-08, 02:14 PM
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How Bad/Wrong Is This?

In my crawlspace there is a romex cable running (12-2) that provides power to an electrical outlet in the downstairs/basement area.

What I found was that the cable was 'extended' - it was spliced together (white to white, black to black, ground to ground) each wire is twisted together and has a 'end-cap' on it (I'm not sure what these are called) and a general slew of black electrical tape around the whole thing.

The romex is stapled into a 2x4 but the wires are uncovered.

I'm wondering if I should/need to disconnect those wires and put them in a junction box. How dangerous are the wires as they are now?
 
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Old 10-23-08, 02:27 PM
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All splices must be made in a permanently accessible junction box. Current condition does not meet code.
 
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Old 10-23-08, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
All splices must be made in a permanently accessible junction box. Current condition does not meet code.
Thanks for the post.

I totally get that it is against 'code'. But, being perfectly realistic, the code sometimes doesn't make sense to me. For example, I had a 3 prong outlet in my kitchen for my electrical stove. It was 'safe', I was told it was safe. I could go to the store and buy a new stove and I could plug it into my 3 prong outlet.

But if I were to move that outlet, 'code' at least in my area, dictates that it must be a 4 prong outlet. I was told the reason for this was 'safety'.

If a 3-prong outlet is acceptable and safe for people who have them already but unacceptable for people who are installing a new kitchen...well...it's just not logically consistent.

I guess what I'm saying is - my house was built in the 1970 - is it possible that this was wired incorrectly back in 1970 by the builders of the house? If that's the case, and if having a spliced wire is a serious risk - should I consult an electrician to find all of the other spliced wires? I don't even know if that's something they can detect without ripping down all of my walls/ceilings/etc...

Or, was it 'acceptable' back in 1970 and now is no longer acceptable?

I can fix this splice and make it up to code very easily; but I guess I'm worried about the rest of the house. I found something similar in the attic - and I added a junction box there; but my concern is that there could be splices all over the house.

I hope that makes sense.
 
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Old 10-23-08, 02:58 PM
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Sounds like the previous owner(s) didn't really care. Code, laws, best practices, etc are for the protection of people down the line. They are written with the best knowledge available at the time (well...mostly).

Even back in 1970 I think connections had to be in boxes. I'll bet any splices you find will be because someone in the past wanted an outlet or light somewhere, and just didn't want to do it right or didn't know HOW to do it right.

Is that one you found in the crawlspace an immediate danger? Probably not, but it COULD be depending on conditions.
 
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Old 10-23-08, 03:03 PM
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As long as the splice is performed correctly, you have no issues, however, the best way to have this circuit or any other is for the wires to be continuous, with no splices at all...and if you DO have a splice, it must remain permanently accessible in an approved junction box....
 
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Old 10-23-08, 04:32 PM
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As long as the splice is performed correctly, you have no issues...
Isn't that the point? That this splice is NOT performed correctly? Even fifty years ago this splice would not have been "up to code" and would therefore not have been done correctly.

Gunguy is correct that there is likely no imminent danger from this incorrect splice but he is also correct that it COULD be a hazard under some specific conditions.

I strongly suggest that you do with this as you did with the splice you found in the attic; that you re-do it properly in an approved manner.

As for any more shenanigans such as this having been done and now concealed within the walls, it's possible. I can pretty much guarantee that this type of work was NOT done by the electrician that worked on your house as it was being constructed...provided that you live in an area that has and enforces building codes on new construction and it was also this way when the house was originally built.

I strongly suspect that this crawl space splice and the one in the attic were done by a homeowner with limited electrical skills, or one that just didn't care about doing the job correctly. I would look for signs of other electrical work that may have been done after the house was built and inspect them as well as you can. Something that might raise a red flag is any light switch or receptacle that is mounted at a different height than the majority of the others, especially in a single room.
 
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Old 10-23-08, 05:42 PM
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Sometimes electrical connections are not good and they can arc. Sometimes these arcs cause fires. In some of these fires people die.

Therefore if everyone installs proper junction boxes for all splices, it will save lives!

That is the basic idea. (All of my splices in my home are in junction boxes.)
 
 

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