junction box sparking when conduit touched

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-10-12, 10:55 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: usa
Posts: 1
junction box sparking when conduit touched

I recently remodeled my kitchen and had to move some electrical out of a soffit. I noticed that the wires in the junction box for light fixture in the kitchen were very old and the insulation was coming off so I taped the wires as best I could to cover the failing insulation.

I was up in the attic trying to run a new line for range hood. I touched a flex conduit that ran to the kitchen light fixture. There was a spark inside the box and the lights in the house flickered. This means that there is probably arcing going on and could be dangerous. My question is should I pull out the light fixture, disconnect all the conduit to the box and pull out the wires and retape where necessary or run new wires. I have never run new wires and am not sure how big a job this would be.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 10-10-12, 11:09 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 46,201
Welcome to the forum

You're using the word conduit in your post but I'm guessing you mean romex. I'm also guessing that you have the old cloth covered romex. Can look shiny silver, sometimes black but the jacket is a type of cloth.... not plastic

Anyway.... I carry white and black heat shrink tubing with me that I put on the wires to re-insulate them. When you try to tape the wires you bend them out of the box which causes the insulation to crack right at the box. This is an extremely common problem in electrical junction boxes installed over lighting fixtures. If possible it's always better to replace old wiring but in many instances it isn't practical or possible. Most wiring in walls is stapled and is not easily removed. Attic work is easier but wiring still ends up going down the walls.
 
  #3  
Old 10-11-12, 05:52 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,590
You should have conduit based on your location in your profile. Pulling new conductors is the safest way to go. Taping over bad spots cannot take care of any bad spots in the conduit.
 
  #4  
Old 10-11-12, 12:48 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
Welcome to the forums!

I recently remodeled my kitchen and had to move some electrical out of a soffit. I noticed that the wires in the junction box for light fixture in the kitchen were very old and the insulation was coming off so I taped the wires as best I could to cover the failing insulation.

I was up in the attic trying to run a new line for range hood. I touched a flex conduit that ran to the kitchen light fixture. There was a spark inside the box and the lights in the house flickered.
It sounds like you're saying you saw a spark inside the same fixture box where you had earlier noticed failing insulation and applied tape to attempt to correct that. Is that right?

This means that there is probably arcing going on and could be dangerous.
There is arcing - that's what a spark is - and it is dangerous.

My question is should I pull out the light fixture, disconnect all the conduit to the box and pull out the wires and retape where necessary or run new wires.
You should replace the wires. As pcboss noted, that
Originally Posted by pcboss
is the safest way to go.
I have never run new wires and am not sure how big a job this would be.
We can talk you through it. You will need access to both ends of the wiring run. Is the other end at a wall switch?

One question: Most jurisdiction that require conduit allow both Flexible Metal Conduit (FMC) and cables that are sheathed with a flexible metal coil, such as Type MC or Type AC. The cables are purchased and installed as complete units, while the FMC is worked like any other conduit - it is installed, and the conductors are then pulled into it. If the wiring to your kitchen light fixture was made with one of the cables, you will have to replace the cable but, if it was made with FMC, you will have the option - probably much easier - of replacing the conductors inside the FMC.

If you aren't sure which you have, look to see whether any of the wires entering the light fixture box are any color other than black, red or white. Also, with the power off, you can gently but firmly push and pull on the existing wires to see if they slide in and out of the opening they enter through. If neither of those conditions is true, the chances are that you have a metal-clad (Type MC) or armored cable (Type AC). If either is true, you likely have FMC.
 
  #5  
Old 10-11-12, 12:52 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
You're using the word conduit in your post but I'm guessing you mean romex. I'm also guessing that you have the old cloth covered romex. Can look shiny silver, sometimes black but the jacket is a type of cloth.... not plastic
The OP lives in Chicago. When he says conduit, he means conduit - it's required there.
 
  #6  
Old 10-11-12, 02:38 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,053
Another sign of metallic cable which you may or may not be able to see is paper packing in the tube.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes