How dangerous was this?

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  #1  
Old 12-12-13, 09:48 PM
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How dangerous was this?

Hi all, this is my first post to this forum so bear with me. My wife and I bought our first house a few months back and while working to seal up air leaks in the attic to prep for blowing more insulation, I found some pretty sub par wiring. The last homeowner was pretty big on DIY but the longer we live here the more and more I think he didn't know what the heck he was doing. The accompanying picture is what I found in my attic. Those white plastic pieces on the wires are "tap" style connectors if the picture is not very clear. I'd just like to know on a scale of 1 to 10 how dangerous this was? 10 being the worst. I've already fixed it by installing a junction box but I'm just curious. Thank you, and it's nice to know where to find helpful advice about such things.


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Old 12-12-13, 09:58 PM
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As you already know it was never a code-approved method. To my knowledge those particular taps are made for stranded wire and only in low-voltage (under 50 volts) applications.

I do not see any equipment grounding conductors and if not present that is another violation.

As for how dangerous, less dangerous than what I found in my first house where someone had done a similar connection when installing a gas wall furnace. Instead of using insulated connectors they just twisted the wires and stuffed a rag in between the bare connections to keep them from touching.
 
  #3  
Old 12-13-13, 03:53 AM
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You don't have enough slack to properly splice the original wiring. You'll need to install two boxes with a chunk of new romex between them. One box will be used to splice an extension onto one of the originals; the other to make the connections to the new and original.
 
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Old 12-13-13, 05:58 AM
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I do not see any equipment grounding conductors and if not present that is another violation.

Furd, I see bare copper ground wires for both cables, but there are no ground connections.
 
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Old 12-13-13, 06:19 AM
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I see bare copper ground wires for both cables, but there are no ground connections.
I don't see them.

You don't have enough slack to properly splice the original wiring
The OP stated in his first post the he has already installed a junction box.

I'd just like to know on a scale of 1 to 10 how dangerous this was? 10 being the worst.
It's kind of hard to grade a code violation, let's just say it was a violation and not safe.
 
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Old 12-13-13, 07:25 AM
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Rick, you're right, there wasn't enough slack in the lines to install a J-box as is. Luckily, the wire running off to the left in the photo was only about 8ft long and only connected to a closet light fixture. I went ahead and ran a new piece of cable between the two so I could put the box over to the right of the junction's old location. I also replaced the run leading down due to the lack of a ground wire. That run was only for attic lighting but the metal box the switch was in was totally un-grounded until I fixed it.
 
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Old 12-13-13, 08:18 AM
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The connectors are definitely rated for higher voltages as they are used for 277volt lighting all the time.
 
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Old 12-13-13, 08:23 AM
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Exposed connector. If someone pulls on the cable to make it loose it could then heat up or even spark. Then you have that nice paper kindling right there for your attic bonfire.
 
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Old 12-13-13, 12:00 PM
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Photo

I don't see them.
 
  #10  
Old 12-13-13, 12:18 PM
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Wirepuller, your top arrow is correct but the lower arrow is actually a fold in the vapor barrier on the insulation. The original wiring in the house is the green coated stuff and has a ground, albeit the wire is #16 or #18 while the hot and neutral is #14. The black wire in the picture doesn't have a ground wire which is why I replaced it.
 
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Old 12-13-13, 03:41 PM
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When used properly, those connectors are legal. I believe they are rated up to 300V at 60C. They are commonly called Scotchlock connectors.
 
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Old 12-13-13, 04:27 PM
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I see it now, thanks to the red arrow!

has a ground, albeit the wire is #16 or #18 while the hot and neutral is #14.
I suspect you have 14-2 W/G NM cable with a #16 ground; probably from the 1950s or early 1960s. Most of the early NM cables didn't have a ground, but when it did, the ground was one size smaller than the insulated conductors. I have some older 12-2 W/G NM cable in my kitchen with a #14 ground.

I believe they are rated up to 300V at 60C. They are commonly called Scotchlock connectors.
I believe they are 600 volt rated and used many times for wiring light fixtures quickly.

http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediawe...SevTSeSSSSSS--
 
  #13  
Old 12-14-13, 05:31 AM
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Ground Wire

Wirepuller, your top arrow is correct but the lower arrow is actually a fold in the vapor barrier on the insulation.
Thanks for clearing that up for me. I was wondering why a ground would have been cut like that appears to be. Thanks again.
 
  #14  
Old 12-15-13, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Freethinker22
Luckily, the wire running off to the left in the photo was only about 8ft long and only connected to a closet light fixture.
Good job!
I wish I was that lucky. There was a similar situation in my attic, however both of the cables ran down into wall voids where they were dutifully and legally stapled.
 
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