My Current Gripe

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jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
Again, I gripe about what code allows & what it forces on us with no real benefit to anyone.

A friend is way down & out, has very limited funds. Wiring in his house is atrocious. Every owner's BIL has jacklegged crap from 1 end to other. I agreed to rewire it as minimum as our city allows, with his son helping. He pays only permit & materials.

Materials are high, of course. But AFI breakers add about $300 to the cost. As a result, I will have to watch for a decent used panel & usable scrap service cable to balance the cost. Smoke detectors add about $100.

His wiring now is not safe. I could put in wiring to make it much safer, though not as safe as the authorities want it. So, since he can't afford the higher safety, he has to live with the unsafe until he can scrounge more $ or I can find free materials (yea, right).

He is partially disabled, does what he can to get by. His wife just got downsized from her job. My business is improving, but I still can't do but so much for free & can't give away materials.

AFI breakers have caused me to lose a lot of respect for the NEC, especially when it still allows backstabbing. I'm anxious to see how much arcing they really prevent down the road. While I encourage smoke detectors, I don't agree with forcing them on homeowners in SFD's. Apartments, I can better understand.

I'm sure my friend will appreciate all the rules if he has a fire before being able to pay for what is demanded.

Also, I am preparing to hook up a mobile home with a 200 amp panel outside & 1 inside with feed through lugs. Will have an AC unit & water pump outside. Previous ones were fed from outside. I'll have to refeed them from inside or buy an expensive 150A main to swap out to stay legal. Someone laid awake nights to come up with the "full load" provision in 315. Makes a lot of sense, lighten the load but beef up the wire. So that job will cost more than it should too. Fortunately, customer hasn't argued about changes I have to make.
 

S'mise

Senior Member
Location
Michigan
Sometimes rules suck but they are supposed to keep us safe. It also sucks to have limited funds.
Why not just add some smokes and fix the jacklegged stuff when you can,little by little?

Where does one draw the line? GFCIs might be expensive to some, but they save lives.
 

GUNNING

Senior Member
$ .....oops..... maybe not.

$ .....oops..... maybe not.

I agree, space the job out. Fix the really bad stuff. Then fix the bad stuff. Then start one at a time fixing the stuff that makes life a little safer and easier like outlets on the kitchen counter or GFCI's in the bathrooms, laundry receptacles for the fridge, small appliances, washer etc. The circuits that need GFCI's don't get CAFCI. Then tackle the Arc Faults and smokes. Maybe rewire from the ends to panel. Not all at once but over a couple of months, even years.. space it out instead of all at once.

I agree, I am not sold on the safety value of CAFCI's or cord in use covers or even grounding bushings, but I don't make up the rules, just follow them. I found out recently while rereading some of the code sections they don't say what I think they do sometimes. Saves me money by having a copy of the code book handy sometimes. Makes me money too sometimes.
 

iaov

Senior Member
Location
Rhinelander WI
The state people here got tired of me showing up and ranting about AFCI breakers. This by far my most hated rule change and before anyone gets thier knickers in a knot and wants to expound on the benifits of these devices let me say that I have heard it all before.:rant:
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
Ya gotta a question or is this just a rant? What do you expect us to say?

I said to start with that it's a gripe. You could call that a rant. I do that every now & then when I'm tired of fighting for a living & losing work because I can't price it cheap enough. That's partly because of excessive demand of Big Brother.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
The state people here got tired of me showing up and ranting about AFCI breakers. This by far my most hated rule change and before anyone gets thier knickers in a knot and wants to expound on the benifits of these devices let me say that I have heard it all before.:rant:

Glad someone agrees with me on that. AFCI as a waste of customer's money and the biggest hypocrisy of the code. If they really cared about arcing they would not allow backstabbed devices. That is the cause of 75% of device failure that I see now. Sidewired devices have sometimes lasted over 75 years. Backstabbed often don't make it 5 years.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
Sometimes rules suck but they are supposed to keep us safe. It also sucks to have limited funds.
Why not just add some smokes and fix the jacklegged stuff when you can,little by little?

Where does one draw the line? GFCIs might be expensive to some, but they save lives.

The jacklegged stuff is all over, in & out with whatever was once good. Still has some old K/T, old cloth NM & various newer stuff tapped in everywhere. Open boxes, 120 tapped from 240, etc. 1 of the biggest messes I have ever seen. The only sensible thing to do is slash, burn & replant.

Plus, if I could do it in smaller stages, the permit cost would escalate. $75 to 100 would be permit charge every time. I can keep it to about 150 or less if I do it in 1 job.

I am looking at a whole house rewire next few days. Maybe they will have a usable panel & breakers I can use on his house. I hate even thinking that way but we sometimes get forced into corners.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
So he has jakclegged electrical all over the place and your gripe is that you have to put in smoke detectors and AFCI's? Wow. This is where the inspectors rant starts.
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
So he has jakclegged electrical all over the place and your gripe is that you have to put in smoke detectors and AFCI's? Wow. This is where the inspectors rant starts.

Heck, I thought this would be a thread about w / E verses E / R ;)

Roger
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
To me a lot depends on just how unsafe what is there now really is. just being messy or a mess is not necessarily unsafe.

Does repair work require a permit? If not, I think I would be doing some repairs.

I understand the financial pain of permits. The worst of it is that paying for permits is only the start of the pain. You also get permanently increased real estate property taxes. Often times the annual cost of the increased taxes exceeds the one time permit fees.

There is not really a good answer to this problem, especially to the EC.

Are you going to be allowed to use "pre-owned" wire or cable? A lot of places frown heavily on such a thing. I can't imagine any place with such extreme permitting requirements is going to let you do so.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
So he has jakclegged electrical all over the place and your gripe is that you have to put in smoke detectors and AFCI's? Wow. This is where the inspectors rant starts.

He hasn't jacklegged anything. It has been done by numerous previous homeowners.

My complaint is that forced AFCI breakers & smoke detectors raise the cost above what he can pay. I rant because it makes doing any improvements nearly impossible. He has little $ to buy anything & neither do I. I am donating labor & misc materials I may have on hand.

As I said before; I don't argue that smoke detectors are a good thing. I encourage people to install them. I don't agree with a SFD homeowner being forced to install them in order to do any other work that is more urgent.

So far, I see AFCI's as a total waste of $. Disallowing backstabbing would eliminate most need for it, except arcing on a live plug in. How many fires can you document that were caused by live plug ing? I have replaced dozens of devices that were smoking/melted because of backstabbing. A few melted the plastic box too. Forcing AFCI and allowing backstabbing is the ultimate dichotomy.

Your turn.
 

Ragin Cajun

Senior Member
Location
Upstate S.C.
The #1 primary, secondary, etc. beneficiary of AFCI's are the manufacturers! Don't get me started on AFCI's being required when replacing a recptacle! Absolutely NUTS!! It's "old" wiring. Good grief.

There, I feel fetter - I think.

RC
 

renosteinke

Senior Member
Location
NE Arkansas
Getting back to the OP and his buddy ....

Limited means? Handicapped? My heart bleeds- but so what? Do we want this to become a contest where the guy with the most pitiful story wins?

What is needed is a complete, top-to-bottom survey of the wiring, and a close look at his electrical needs. Then, a plan needs to be made, assigning priorities and addressing the issues.

The NEC allows quite a bit of leeway in terms of 'temporary' wiring. There might be no way to escape a complete gut & re-wire, but the AHJ just might be able to work with the guy- provided there's a plan, and he has faith in its' being carried out.

For example, I have a similar situation where the work is being done one room at a time, landing the new circuits at the new panel, and removing the old as the work progresses. It's a bit of a dance, but the place can be occupied during what will probably be a two or three-year remodel.
 

cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
He hasn't jacklegged anything. It has been done by numerous previous homeowners.

My complaint is that forced AFCI breakers & smoke detectors raise the cost above what he can pay. I rant because it makes doing any improvements nearly impossible. He has little $ to buy anything & neither do I. I am donating labor & misc materials I may have on hand.

As I said before; I don't argue that smoke detectors are a good thing. I encourage people to install them. I don't agree with a SFD homeowner being forced to install them in order to do any other work that is more urgent.

So far, I see AFCI's as a total waste of $. Disallowing backstabbing would eliminate most need for it, except arcing on a live plug in. How many fires can you document that were caused by live plug ing? I have replaced dozens of devices that were smoking/melted because of backstabbing. A few melted the plastic box too. Forcing AFCI and allowing backstabbing is the ultimate dichotomy.

Your turn.

Well if we want to take that attitude, today is just the day for me.

First of all nowhere in my post did I say that he did it.

Second of all, as an inspector my answer to you rant is, tough. If he can't afford to do the work then don't do it. As a wise man once said to me, "I'm not here to debate the philosophy of the code, I'm here to tell you what it says."

Here in CA we have the Energy code to deal with as well as a stricter ADA. We also are now required to have carbon monoxide dectors installed, even in existing SFD's. All SFD's were required to have one installed by July 1, 2011 and all other residential are required to have them installed by January 1, 2013. Contractors piss about it all the time, again, tough, it's the law and they know it's the law. Just do it.

It's business, as they say, "adapt or die". having the most pitiful story isn't really going to help.
 

PEDRO ESCOVILLA

Senior Member
Location
south texas
their ain't many problems that a man can't fix with seven hundred dollars and 30-.06. here's how it applies to life.(mine) yep, stuff costs money, yup, rules change to make some stuff cost more money. 700.00 will get a lot if one is careful, with an .06, you can get fed, also, if you are inclined to do so. just because the code allows you to back stab doesn't mean you should do it. COMMON SENSE is supposed to be applied in many instances when it is not. arc fault breakers can be a good thing, with the wrong SWITCH, they can be a royal pain the a#@. i've done alot of "economy wiring " for folks who didn't have a lot of $ laying around. it all met code or better,sometimes it doesn't all get done today, but it gets done, i feel better for them knowing they are better off for it. i've even paid for material's for folks who were REALLY HURTING. giving and receiving, thats waht its all about. don't b##@h about something if you're not going to do something to make it better
 

jumper

Senior Member
Well if we want to take that attitude, today is just the day for me.

First of all nowhere in my post did I say that he did it.

Second of all, as an inspector my answer to you rant is, tough. If he can't afford to do the work then don't do it. As a wise man once said to me, "I'm not here to debate the philosophy of the code, I'm here to tell you what it says."

Here in CA we have the Energy code to deal with as well as a stricter ADA. We also are now required to have carbon monoxide dectors installed, even in existing SFD's. All SFD's were required to have one installed by July 1, 2011 and all other residential are required to have them installed by January 1, 2013. Contractors piss about it all the time, again, tough, it's the law and they know it's the law. Just do it.

It's business, as they say, "adapt or die". having the most pitiful story isn't really going to help.

Is it required there even if there are no fuel fired appliances?
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Durham, NC
Occupation
Facility Maintenance Tech. Licensed Electrician
Well if we want to take that attitude, today is just the day for me.

First of all nowhere in my post did I say that he did it.

Second of all, as an inspector my answer to you rant is, tough. If he can't afford to do the work then don't do it. As a wise man once said to me, "I'm not here to debate the philosophy of the code, I'm here to tell you what it says."

Here in CA we have the Energy code to deal with as well as a stricter ADA. We also are now required to have carbon monoxide dectors installed, even in existing SFD's. All SFD's were required to have one installed by July 1, 2011 and all other residential are required to have them installed by January 1, 2013. Contractors piss about it all the time, again, tough, it's the law and they know it's the law. Just do it.

It's business, as they say, "adapt or die". having the most pitiful story isn't really going to help.

Your 2nd line shows your concern, or lack of, for someone's safety & benefit. You proved my point that Big Brother would rather a person stay at a safety level of 1 or 2 if he can't afford to get to level 10. I could get him to a level 4 or 5 and he would be much better off than he is. But you really don't care about him as much as your rule book. If I could follow you around day to day, I'm sure I would hear you exhort plenty about safety. Go polish your horn.
 
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