Botched up house wiring (previous owner?)

Old 06-16-18, 06:46 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Talking Botched up house wiring (previous owner?)

So, I bought an old house a number of years ago. It had switched owners twice.

Somewhere over the years, there was some upgrading with the wiring, and I don't know what cheap weed they were smoking, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was mixed with electrical smoke at some point too...

I noticed when I moved in that a lot of the plugs showing grounding, were not grounded. Someone decided to throw up 3-prong outlets into boxes that don't have ground (old house). (which is against code and illegal here).

Lately I've been replacing these with the two-prongs, and fixing some other wiring issues. Also, I've noticed a hell of a lot of inconsistency. For example, it did not occur to someone to follow the standard form of the happy face with the outlets. I know it's not a big deal (if you have the wiring right), but it's a sign of sloppiness.

In fact, some later work with some recently installed GFCI outlets are both upside down. In fact, even if you don't follow the happy face convention, the lettering is upside down, so you really have no excuse for not following a proper form. Again, it's sloppy, and I can tell you I'm not surprised that one of those boxes was installed so bad, the face pate doesn't screw in right. Another, has the neutral wire swapped with the live!

In fact, there are other outlets here with missing ground, or who ever was playing electrician wanabie here, certainly was color blind and can't tell white from black, or silver from brass.

I will try to do some serious re-wiring next week, having finally picked up some more testing equipment to verify the results of my former. In fact, I recently zapped myself yesterday when I used my trusty old GB tester. I pressed the GFCI tester, and got myself zapped from an extension cord!

There really should be no excuse, except I do know that the original owner had alzheimers, so if he WAS doing his own wiring then that maybe explains some things!

I know of at least 4 outlets here which are registering unrecognizable codes on my testers, I will have to do some investigation into what on earth happened there. Basically I wanted to keep this thread going as a list of progress I am doing, and for feedback on anything questionable going forward.

Ohhh, and did I forget to mention, I had a contractor looking at my bathroom to fix a leak. He was shocked to see that someone tried to pretend they were electrician again, and illegally put outlets and other wiring far too close to water sources than are permitted by code. Just about everything in this house from plumbing to wiring is so half-ass and blatantly in error, it's amazing how terribly bad someone could be. An apprentice would not make these mistakes. Had to be home owner or someone else wanting to play handy-man.

The whole piss-poor plumbing jobs in this house, my god, I will save for another thread when I get to fixing up some of THOSE mistakes too finally. LOL
Old 06-16-18, 06:58 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 14,076
Received 778 Upvotes on 658 Posts
Uh, that is quite a post, but is there a question there or are you just ranting?

Last edited by Tolyn Ironhand; 06-17-18 at 06:24 AM.
Old 06-17-18, 03:08 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 36
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
My main question so far, is if it is still normal to assemble outlets upside down. To me that indicates a home-owner did it, and not a licensed electrician, but maybe I am over-thinking that part.

That said, I went to work on one of the plugs in the basement here this afternoon, and again more surprises. Not only did I confirm that live and neutral are reversed, but it's another 3-prong socket with no ground wire. Even more interesting, is that the box isn't even mounted to a stud at all, it's just sitting/hanging in there. Even more interesting than that, is that there is absolutely NO room to pull the wiring out.

It would appear that somewhat assembled this (however poorly), and made sure there was zero room or slack in the wires and pulled on the wiring within the walls fairly strongly to get it wedged in there.

I will rip out the other side of the wall-panelling tomorrow and see what on earth is going on in there. I'm cringing to see/find out where the other end of the wiring connects to, and how sloppily THAT is done too.

Of course, this socket was upside down too... naturally. And some washers sitting inside the box for unknown reasons, I guess because of.... reasons. lol
Old 06-17-18, 03:20 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
My main question so far, is if it is still normal to assemble outlets upside down.
No wrong way. The ground can be on the bottom or top or left or right. If you look at many hospital receptacles you will see the ground is on top. Supposedly this reduces a chance of a short should a plug not be fully in and a piece of metal should fall. Ground up the metal just hits the ground prong. Down it could short hot to neutral.

the box isn't even mounted to a stud at all, it's just sitting/hanging in there.
Are you sure it isn't an old work box?

absolutely NO room to pull the wiring out.
Wires should be at least six inches in the box. but the cable behind the box doesn't need slack.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: