July 19th, 2009



I have been working my way through the circuits in the house doing remediation on the Aluminum wire to copper wire connections. I have learned several things so far:

  • The electricians who wired this house in the first place were, without a doubt, real pros. Every place where wires are joined with a wire nut, the work is so tight and consistent it looks like it was done by a machine.

  • The outfit the previous owner had in to reterminate all of the switches and receptacles were a bunch of mooks who should just turn in their tool belts. They, if they had ever read the Story of Mel, certainly did not realize that it applied to them and this job. One of the primary rules I work by is don't make things worse. They made things worse. Potentially a lot worse. They made every mistake the CPSC warns you about when remediating Aluminum wiring, plus a big, basic electrical error. When the breaker in the panel says 20 Amps, you don't put 15 Amp receptacles on the circuit.

  • Always, always, always test each outlet with your voltage finder before laying hands on it. Even if you're sure it's on the same circuit you were just working on somewhere else. Additional circuits can appear in a wall box (found that one today), or you can forget that you re-energized the circuit for testing right before you took a break (found that one the hard way a month ago). Thankfully Mr. Zappy isn't all that aggressive at 120 volts across dry skin...

That's all from home electrical land.