One of my favorite blogs is Electrician’s Notes, and blogger Sparky has had some really good posts lately. He’s been showcasing some of the nightmares discovered in homes concerning their electrical wiring. I am closely associating with the posts (and photos), because my home is a nightmare, too!
My house was built in 1855, and has remained largely unrenovated since then. But there have been a few additions throughout the decades, one being electrical wiring installed in the 1930s. Believe it or not, until two years ago, 98% of my electrical system was running through those 80-year old, knob-and-tube wires. I had no idea how horrible the system was until 2006, when I completely gutted the living room. This is an example of one of the ugly blackheads I discovered when I pulled down the ceiling.
Apparently, the previous owners had ripped up the floorboards on the second floor above, installed the wiring for most of the house in between those floor joists, and closed up the floor again with the old floor boards. (See how close some of the nails are to the wiring between the joists). The owners in the 1960s slathered the second floor flooring with glue and installed this disgusting-looking yellow lineoleum in the bedrooms, making it impossible to see the damage done.
So last year, when I pulled down the ceiling in the living room below, I found this massive wiring disaster: open wires, spliced wires connected ONLY with black electrical tape. A disaster. A lot of the “improvements” are disasters. The previous owners had insulated the attic floor in the 1980s, where more of this black-cloth knob-and-tube wiring was located (it’s against codes to insulate on top of this kind of wiring).
Actually, most of this house is completely against codes– not just the electric. The plumbing had no vent system, no u-traps or vent for the washing machine… no cold air return vents for the furnace…. fiberglass batting is stuffed in the kitchen cabinets to plug the gaping holes in the walls…. a true DISASTER. You can read some of my past posts about my venture into DIY electrical– what a harrowing ordeal! I have details here and here and here and here is my successful Inspection Day! I passed!
What blows my mind is that all this work was done without any inspection at all, obviously. I know the house is old, but… I’m stunned that all of this stuff was done without the homeowners consulting the codes and building inspectors.
I have had to disconnect a good deal of my electrical system– half the house– because after I saw the condition of the wiring and the way it was installed, I was absolutely terrified. So we are without electricity until I can gut the remainder of the rooms to wire them.
My plea to you homeowners is this: PLEASE get your work inspected. PLEASE resist the urge to slop something together just to “get it done,” and then seal up the walls. Do it the CORRECT way and the SAFE way– for your own sake, but also for the lives of the people who will live in the house after you.