I recently wrote about a dangerous light fitting that I found, and mentioned that I had found other issues within that property.
I have now finished most of those repairs, and wanted to share some of the photos of the dangerous things I found, along with some photos of the way that I have completed my work.
Hmmm. That doesn’t look right. These wires were found bare, there were no connectors on them (to secure them tightly and insulate them), and no junction box surrounding the terminations for safety. Anyone crawling through the roof space could have been electrocuted – in fact I nearly put my hand on them, which is how I found them.
This join was found within a wall and the cable had been in service.
After I replaced this circuit, I pulled out these old cables and was horrified to find this join within the wall.
Exactly what had been connected to it is unknown (possibly a wall light in the lounge room), but this cable had been in servie and live, and this join was within the wall.
There was a significant risk of a hot joint forming and a fire occurring at some stage.
I found this cable inside a wall. It was in service and live.
Unwrapping each layer confirmed that the cables had just been wrapped in insulation tape.
As the insulation tape breaks down, it is highly possible that arcing could occur, with a likely fire following.
This was a fire waiting to happen.
This was a connection to a light fitting.
While soldering wires together is acceptable in certain circumstances, where insulation is removed it must be replaced to the same standard.
While insulation tape can be used in some circumstances, in this instance the insulation tape was not an acceptable insulation method and would likely break down in time.
Also the cables were also poked back into the ceiling space – which is also non-compliant and dangerous.
This was a significant fire hazard and safety risk.
While there were other dangerous faults found within this house, the top few items were the worst, and were so serious, that I was horrified.
Some of the replacement cable I have installed
The first thing that you see when you open the man-hole is correctly clipped cables.
The Wiring Rules specifies that cables that can be accessed must be mechanically protected. This can be in the form of being clipped to timber as shown here.
If it isn’t mechanically protected like this, it might not be legal nor safe.
Wiring can be supported in a variety of ways. Occasionally we use timber to provide support (either at the top, or at the bottom of the ceiling space). Timber provides mechanical protection for cables that are “likely to be disturbed” as determined by the wiring rules.
We can also use metal cable trays, but these aren’t usually used in domestic premises as they are too expensive and not needed.
This ceiling space was particularly difficult. It was a colorbond 14° truss roof, meaning there was very limited access. At times I had my faced wedged between fibreglass insulation and sarking just to get cables through.
There were a number of instances where getting one cable down a wall took nearly 3 hours due to such limited access and the low truss roof. Crawling from one end of the roof to the other (without tools), took around 10 minutes.
The roof was littered with debris (some metal) – from bad trade work. Air-conditioning ducting (which was installed extremely badly – seen here) limited access in some areas, and there were other complications as well.
Some of the my cables were able to be run close to the edge of the ceiling where mechanical protection wasn’t necessary, but some, like those shown here, had to be supported by timber like this.
It was a fair bit more expensive for the client using cable supports like this (around $175 per circuit), but the client wanted to clean up the ceiling space and make the repairs needed without the risk of damaging the new cables.
One of the requirements of the Wiring Rules is to mechanically protect cables where cables are “likely to be disturbed”. So to some extent, some of the new wiring had to be done like this anyway.
1: The white cables shown towards the top half of this photo (the neatly clipped ones) are what the wiring rules deem “likely to be disturbed”. These cables penetrate a top plate (the timber at the top of a wall) between lines 1 and 2 and can be walked on. As such mechanical protection was required.
2: I have screwed a piece of timber with a channel cut into it over the top of the new cables.You can see a screw at point 2.
This piece of timber is strong enough to be walked on, and is suitable for mechanical protection. The new power cables are also separated from the network cables at the other end of the new piece of timber – as required. There are other ways to do it, but this was the best at the time. I used other methods in other areas of the roof.
3: The blue cables are network cables and are pre-existing. The white cable all twisted and looped is an old telephone cable. I did not installed them, but if I had more photos of them, I would be able to show you how NOT to run network and telephone cables 🙂
In life we often say “you get what you pay for”.
While it isn’t exactly clear what the previous electrician charged the client for the oven/ stove installation, they broke the law with this appalling, and dangerous work, and the client has had to make repairs to something that should never have had to be repaired!
Sometimes a cheap and quick job, costs much more than a quality job with a long workmanship.
At the completion of work I undertake…
“You ALWAYS get what you pay for”.
At the completion of this job, I was able to give this client a 10 year workmanship warranty on my electrical work, because I made sure that my work was of the highest standard.
And to top it off, I was able to offer a 25 year parts and labour warranty on some of the equipment I have used.
A double win for the client.
Now I ask you, do you want to pay someone to do a job twice…
Or just once?
It is worth it in the long run!
Bye for now,
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