Should I be concerned with this??

Reply

  #1  
Old 11-29-13, 01:03 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 225
Should I be concerned with this??

Im not sure if this is something I should be concerned about.

Old wiring in house. I found a junction box in basement that has about 10 conductors in it. 6 of which are passing thru the box unspliced. There is 3/4" conduit going into the box and in one opening of pipe, the 6 wires are taped together where they enter the box.

Im not sure if whoever did it was fixing damaged insulation or just bundling them all together perhaps to make splicing the other conductors easier. There is the proper fitting/bushing at the knockout and its not just one conductor that is wrapped... all are bundled. Im leary to remove the tape as it is actually about 2 inches into the pipe so it appears they either had slack to wrap the tape or it was on there when wire was pulled. The tape does not look of the same vintage of the wires though.

Also there are a number of multiwire circuits in the house.

When I turned off the breaker for what I thought was the circuit in the box all of the colored wires no longer were hot. However, there was still two white conductors that were passing thru the box that were hot (at least showed voltage with my non contact volt detector).... turning off two other circuits killed those wires. It took 2 other breakers to turn off until there was no evidence of voltage with my detector.

So my concerns are if those wires are damaged or just happen to be taped. ANd also about the neutrals having voltage on them but no colored hots in the box.... thinking the feed to those neutrals were not in the same box.....

Should I be concerned and call in a pro? Does any of this sound standard?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 11-29-13, 01:21 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
So my concerns are if those wires are damaged or just happen to be taped.
Who knows. It could just be left over from making up the wires for the pull.

ANd also about the neutrals having voltage on them but no colored hots in the box.... thinking the feed to those neutrals were not in the same box.....
In cable systems not all whites are neutrals. Someone may have used those to carry ungrounded power in your wiring but, in a conduit system, that should not have been done. :NO NO NO:

OTOH, I'm not sure that a non-contact tester will give you valid information in this situation.

Should I be concerned and call in a pro?
It sounds like something non-standard may have been done. Before doing that, you can find out where those wires are going to, what they're terminated to, and what their function is. You really don't have as much information as you need to make that decision yet. Also buy an analog multimeter to do some meaningful testing with.

Does any of this sound standard?
The tape may be.
 
  #3  
Old 11-29-13, 01:59 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 4,297
Time to call in a real licensed electrician.
 
  #4  
Old 11-29-13, 02:09 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 225
THanks, I will have to try to track it down over the weekend and call in someone during the work week.

I did mistype, Of the 6 passing thru the box, 3 are white and 3 are colored.... if that means anything in regards to paired wires.

WIth these wires passing thru instead of splicing, my non contact volt meter is all I can use to test unless I was going to cut and splice which might not be a good idea.

There are two accesible junctions where the wires pass thru unspliced. If the wires are damaged
under the tape, I assume the passed thru wires at both boxes could be cut, new wire pulled for that short run and respliced.

Would that be the proper way to go about it or would pulling all new wire panel to termination to pass thru unspliced be what is required?

I would imagine if its only about 10 feet between the two boxes, the taped portion if needed could be easily respliced with new wire and shouldnt be much more than an hour service call.... but thats a guess of cours.e

THe problem I have with that is some of those neutrals are likely multiwire circuits so now we would be adding more splices ie: connections that are shared!
 
  #5  
Old 11-29-13, 02:17 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 4,297
A noncontact tester is all but useless, Way to many false readings.
 
  #6  
Old 11-29-13, 07:27 PM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
I will have to try to track it down over the weekend and call in someone during the work week.
You can do whatever you like, but you don't yet have enough information to tell whether you have a problem or not.

WIth these wires passing thru instead of splicing, my non contact volt meter is all I can use to test unless I was going to cut and splice which might not be a good idea.
That's also not how you test electrical systems.
Originally Posted by Nashkat1
find out where those wires are going to, what they're terminated to, and what their function is. You really don't have as much information as you need to make that decision yet. Also buy an analog multimeter to do some meaningful testing with.
You do the testing where the wires end, not in the middle of a pull. And you do it with a multimeter - preferably an analog one - not with a non-contact tester.

If you're ready to actually check out your system in a meaningful way, we can help you do that. If you'd prefer to hire someone and just hand them the whole thing and wait for the bill, then do that. You should choose the path that you think will best meet your needs.
 
  #7  
Old 11-30-13, 04:33 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 225
So far I only removed the tape to see if there was damaged insulation. I dont see any exposed copper or damaged insulation. Just tape residue.

If its left over from them pulling the wire it doesnt make sense to me why there would be tape attached in the middle of the run. At least 5 wraps too.

The wires pass thru this box unspliced. There is about 20 feet in one direction to the panel and another 40 in the other direction where the wire is probably spliced.

Is there any other valid reason why there would be tape used in this fashion?
 
  #8  
Old 11-30-13, 05:20 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,968
Don't know why the tape was used that way, and don't know why continuous runs were made through a junction box, unspliced. It just takes up valuable space in the box. You could have had the caduceus I had lately on a remodel. 9 cables all spliced in one 4x4 box, no bcaps, only twisted and taped and no cover. Fire waiting to ignite.

Name:  Jbox nightmare.jpg
Views: 182
Size:  28.6 KB
 
  #9  
Old 11-30-13, 05:40 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 225
I tracked down where the wires go.

In that box there are 6 wires.

4 of which pass thru the box unspliced.

Theres is also a black and white for one circuit that are spliced.

There is only one other "hot" wire and it actually passes thru the electric panel from one conduit to this conduit and box.

The other 3 wires are neutrals for other circuits.

So 4 neutral and 2 hot total.

How screwed up is this?
 
  #10  
Old 11-30-13, 05:51 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 11,984
Is there any other valid reason why there would be tape used in this fashion?
I think you are worrying about nothing. Since we were not there we can only speculate on why the tape is there. They could have just used it to keep things tidy. To identify the new circuits as they were pulled in. It could have pulled off the lead of the wires as it was pulled in.

I use more tape on my job in a month then most people use in their entire lives. If you see no damage on the wires, close up the box and call it good.
 
  #11  
Old 11-30-13, 12:58 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 225
Is it abnormal that the majority of the wires in this box appear to be neutral conductors that are not accompanied by their ungrounded partner in the same conduit?
 
  #12  
Old 11-30-13, 01:04 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 11,984
Yes, that would be odd. However, I would investigate further, to the panel and the end of the circuit, to see what wire goes where.
 
  #13  
Old 11-30-13, 03:01 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 225
EDITED:

As for the destination for the 6 wires.

I can track it down to the following

1 Orange unspliced is a switchleg/traveler for 4W on (basement circuit).
1 Neutral unspliced for light above on busbar (basement circuit)
1 Black 1 Neutral-- power to basement with its neutral on busbar, spliced in box. (basement circuit).
2 neutrals for seperate circuits not paired with their ungrounded conductors. (each serving circuits on different breakers than basement)

So there are 2 neutral wires serving different circuits passings thru the box unspliced not associated with the hot in the box. Thats probably a code violation correct? Was this ever allowed?

There are 2 neutrals on the busbar serving the same circuit. (1 is a light, the other is the rest of the basement circuit)

Should this concern me? Do I need an electrician here? Likely been like this for 50 years......
 

Last edited by cws05; 11-30-13 at 05:19 PM.
  #14  
Old 11-30-13, 05:20 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,221
So there are 2 neutral wires serving different circuits passings thru the box unspliced not paired with the hot in the box. Thats probably a code violation correct? Was this ever allowed?
If I understand correctly, yes, they should be in the same conduit as the ungrounded conductors that they serve.
 
  #15  
Old 12-01-13, 05:10 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 225
Do I need an electrician here?

Please take a look at where I describe the wires go too and let me know what you think... hopefully my description makes sense.

As for the destination for the 6 wires.

I can track it down to the following

1 Orange unspliced is a switchleg/traveler for 4W on (basement circuit).
1 Neutral unspliced for light above on busbar (basement circuit)
1 Black 1 Neutral-- power to basement with its neutral on busbar, spliced in box. (basement circuit).
2 neutrals for seperate circuits not paired with their ungrounded conductors. (each serving circuits on different breakers than basement)

So there are 2 neutral wires serving different circuits passings thru the box unspliced not associated with the hot in the box. Thats probably a code violation correct? Was this ever allowed?

There are 2 neutrals on the busbar serving the same circuit. (1 is a light, the other is the rest of the basement circuit)
 
  #16  
Old 12-02-13, 07:56 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 225
When neutrals are run in different raceway than their ungrounded partner, is there a significant over heating hazard?

I think I read something about "inductance". In this case theres 3 ungrounded conductors and 3 grounded conductors... does that mean they cancel each other out? This probably makes no sense to you, but give me your honest opinion... should I be calling an electrician to look at this? Its been wired like this likely from day 1- 60 years ago?
 
  #17  
Old 12-02-13, 08:46 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,221
I think I read something about "inductance". In this case theres 3 ungrounded conductors and 3 grounded conductors... does that mean they cancel each other out? This probably makes no sense to you, but give me your honest opinion... should I be calling an electrician to look at this? Its been wired like this likely from day 1- 60 years ago?
Inductive heating can certainly be an issue, but in your case I am assuming there is a light load that is non-continuous on these circuits so it may not be a serious issue, but it isn't right. If they have been this way for 60 years, I'd be tempted to just leave them alone. If you know anything about knob & tube wiring used over 100 years ago you know that the neutrals and ungrounded conductors were frequently run separately in parts of almost every circuit. I do not know if inductive heating was not known to be an issue in those days or if it was just accepted because of lighter non-continuous loads. The only loads they had back in the day in most homes were a few lights and maybe a radio.
 
  #18  
Old 12-02-13, 09:26 AM
Nashkat1's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 8,470
9 cables all spliced in one 4x4 box, no bcaps, only twisted and taped and no cover.
Oh wow. And that's not even a 4" square 1900 box - it's an 8-b 4" octagon.
 
  #19  
Old 12-02-13, 03:50 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 225
Inductive heating can certainly be an issue, but in your case I am assuming there is a light load that is non-continuous on these circuits so it may not be a serious issue, but it isn't right.
Is it more of an issue with higher voltage than 120? Is that what your assuming? For example the hot wire besides a switch leg in the box is my basement lights and washing machine. One of the neutrals is a return path for my kitchen (including fridge).

I dont know how to guage this situation.... but I dont want to throw money at something that 1. doesnt need fixing or 2. when the service electrican gets here wonders what the heck he was called for?

I think alot of you guys are electricians by trade. How common is it to see this in the field? What do you usually do in these cases? Is this a serious issue here besides just being a code violation?.... (and man i have run into a few).
 
  #20  
Old 12-02-13, 06:15 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,221
Is it more of an issue with higher voltage than 120? Is that what your assuming? For example the hot wire besides a switch leg in the box is my basement lights and washing machine. One of the neutrals is a return path for my kitchen (including fridge).
The voltage is not the issue as I see it. I believe the issue would be higher loads such as maybe a continuous load of 14 or 15 amps on a 20 amp circuit might cause more inductive heating.

What do you usually do in these cases? Is this a serious issue here besides just being a code violation?
That's a hard question to answer because every situation is different. If you'd feel more comfortable by having an electrician look at it, by all means call one.
 
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
'