Check your attics

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Old 03-22-09, 02:00 PM
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Check your attics

It was a simple request from my wife: Take down the ceiling fan and replace it with a fixture. When I pulled the fan, there was no backbox. Just a hole in the ceiling with two individual 16-gauge wires poking through. The fan was held up with two drywall screws into the joist. The joist was drilled on an angle from above to pass the wires.

The pictures are what I found in the attic.



Apparently the moron who owned the house before me wanted to use this wire to feed power to the fan, but decided not to. He cut the cable, then taped black to black and ground to ground, and then wrapped the whole mess in tape. At least he used a jumper for the neutral! That wire feeds the receptacle in the master bath. (Thank God we don't use hair dryers!) The capped black and white come from a different wire. Before I took the picture I disconnected them from the 7 other one-foot splices that powered the ceiling fan. Some of it was lamp cord, some was 12/2 UF, and some were just chunks of 14-gauge wired he'd stripped from other scraps. He also fed more of those splices down the wall to the switch. Heck, he spent more in wire nuts than he would have if he had just bought the correct cable in the first place!



This is the circuit that powered the ceiling fan and also the recep in the main bath. Notice there's no ground. I wondered why the GFCI tripped every time we tried to use the recep in the bathroom. To the left, out of the picture, is his installation of a vent fan in the main bath. The fan has no duct. It simply blows moisture into the attic. That explains the mold on the underside of the sheathing. At least he used proper wiring techniques for that -- it's connected (properly) to the same cable that feeds the recep upstream from the mess.

There are now four new boxes in my attic, terminated properly with brand-new 12/2 WG.
 
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Old 03-22-09, 02:18 PM
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Jeez Rick...who the heck did your pre-purchase inspection...Gomer Pyle?
 
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Old 03-22-09, 02:20 PM
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Hey Rick, How did you get pics of MY attic??????

On the subject, I just went thru the exact same situation.

Previously , I had No access to the attic. I cut a Hole in An upstairs Bedroom closet,"Shimmy-ed" up and fixed the "Unvented" exhaust fan, and put in my boxes, fixed the wiring, neatened everything up.

Now my question.....Am I required to leave access to the attic, and what would be considered Appropriate Access??????

Im sure the "Gash" I left in the ceiling is not appropriate, as well as being brutally ugly...
 
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Old 03-22-09, 02:38 PM
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Aww Unc..stealing threads is a no no...lol.

Just put a little access hatch. Frame it in the attic, put some trim in the closet ceiling so it leaves a lip, then put a piece of sheetrock so it fits on the lip. Use some self stick weatherstrip on the lip of the trim, and attach some 2" insulation to the attic side. Push it into the attic and set aside when you need to go back up.

Better than fixing it all up, then having to go back in 2 yrs later.
 
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Old 03-22-09, 03:21 PM
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I was with the inspector when he poked his head up into the attic through the entry closet, which is about 30 feet from that wiring fiasco. Everything looked good at that end of the house.

Unc, what Gunguy described is exactly the same access I have in a closet near the entry. Fortunately they didn't just carve a chunk out of the drywall or the closet-ceiling drywall would have been history. They added a couple of 2x4's between the joists so I could muscle-up.

I found a bunch of other wiring nightmares, which all seem to point to the previous homeowner's disdain for buying a $30 coil of copper.

Another black-taped joint between the man-door frame in the garage announced itself with black smoke one day when I plugged a space heater into a downstream recep. After screaming to my wife to get a fire extinguisher while I ran to kill the main breaker, I frantically used the backside of a claw hammer to rip off the molding and drywall around the door. All three wires had been taped together. No wire nuts (they wouldn't have fit inside the door frame). They were just taped in parallel to each other.

Did I mention that the jerk who owned the house was a tradesman? Yep -- a plumber. I'm ashamed for the people who have to work with him. I gotta admit, though ... in 9 years nothing has ever gone wrong with the plumbing!

(Which is good, because when I saw that heavy black smoke coming from behind the wall, I needed a bathroom!)
 
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Old 03-22-09, 03:26 PM
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Rick...just wait..you'll prob be cursing the plumber too, when you find joists cut 3/4 through to run a drain or a vent...lol
 
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