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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    292

    Default Glowing wire nut

    This was a scary sight! The photo is kind of blurry as it was a very close up in a dark attic. The bright spot is the coil spring inside the wire nut glowing cherry red. The glowing wire nut used to be a red like the two above it in the photo.

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  2. #2
    Tim Moreira's Avatar
    Tim Moreira Guest

    Default Re: Glowing wire nut

    "Survey Says"

    Fire!!!


  3. #3
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
    Richard Rushing Guest

    Default Re: Glowing wire nut

    Philip,

    I had one about 5-6 years ago where the home was vacant and the "owner/seller" let me in. No lights were on and the *service main* was off.

    The seller says, "it's ok to go ahead and flip the main disconnect to turn on the power. I thought I had left it on, but I gess I turned it off to save energy."

    Well, I reluctantly go flip the main (seller said--"it's ok"), lights come on and I head around to each room and turn every fixture on (as I always do) to fully illuminate the home and put as much of a load on the panel as I can to try and see if there is any nuisance tripping.

    I got about 90% of the lights on when some of the fixtures started going dimmer. I thought... whaaaaa-t now! I go to the service panel and low and behole... that sucker had several conductors glowing like the wire nut in your picture.

    Now, in the mean-time, the seller had managed to walk-out and drive off. Since I had his number and the number of the buyer, I called both. The seller comes back over and says, "What did you do?" My reply was...

    I tried to burn down the house by using the existing wiring system you have installed. The seller then says (at the same time the buyer is walking in the front door), Bull-S#!+!! All I told you to do was to flip the breaker, not to touch anything else.

    About that time the buyer asks, "what's going on". I told him that we almost had a fire and the panel was, "of the glowing-in-the-dark type". Buyer looked at the seller and said, "you told me that you were going to take care of the wiring issue that you knew you had!!"

    After a few choice words to the seller, I left and then called the city code compliance inspector and the fire marshall. I drove by the home two days later and the home had been red-tagged, by order of the Fire Marshall.



    Rich


  4. #4
    Shannon Guinn's Avatar
    Shannon Guinn Guest

    Default Re: Glowing wire nut

    I've seen this before. What has happened is the person who made this "flying splice" either didn't tighten the wirenut down properly or didn't twist his wires together right or both. Due to an improper tap the electricity is still trying to do it's job by trying to bridge the gap and as a result it causes an amp surge which increases heat which starts to melt the plastic surrounding the wirenut which usually leads down a path no homeowner wants to come home to. Again, a DIY'er or a hack job. People should always use a licensed EC. I always ask people if they would let an unlicensed "dentist" work on their teeth. And yes this should have been in a box with a proper cover!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Glowing wire nut

    Luckily, the smell of melting plastic sheathing is pretty unmistakable... at least if you know what it is. I once lived in a apartment with baseboard heaters. One of the wall thermostats pretty much melted from the all.... the smell was unbelieveable... luckily I was home. I could faintly smell that burning plastic until the day I moved.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    1,217

    Default Re: Glowing wire nut

    If the wire nut is loose so there is a gap between the wires the coil spring wire in the wire nut can become part of the circuit. I don't know the amperage rating of the coil spring wire but I suspect it is less than 15 amps.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    25,313

    Default Re: Glowing wire nut

    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon Guinn View Post
    Again, a DIY'er or a hack job.
    Shannon,

    I see you frequently jump to the conclusion and state that it is an do it yourselfer or handyman when we ALL have seen that type of work done by licensed electricians at new homes which are being inspected at original purchase.

    Are you saying that you *have never* seen a licensed electrician do any work other than "expert and professional work"?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
    Shannon Guinn's Avatar
    Shannon Guinn Guest

    Default Re: Glowing wire nut

    Jerry, just to clarify my statement, a hack job can be performed by anyone including, but not limited to, licensed professionals. In my jurisdiction though, I get a lot of homeowners who wire the job "themselves" in other words there are a lot of guys around here who hire non-licensed guys who either have only been in the trade a short time or who have worked in construction and think they can wire, and who charge a lot less because they don't have to pay liability, workmans comp, local, state, or federal taxes. But to answer your question yes I have seen licensed electrical contractors perform shoddy work using carry-over materials or just the cheapest materials they can find. When I call them out on violations they always seem to blame whatever is wrong on "the guys" in which case I have to remind them that they are the captain of their own ship. Just like the old saying goes, you're only as good as your last job.


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