Backstory: we recently added some furniture to a previously-unused room to make it a quickie guest bedroom for some upcoming family visits. On a whim, I got my electrical tester and plugged it in to a bedside outlet to make sure it worked properly. "Open Ground". Goodie. Since I had to open the boxes up anyway, I decided to bite the bullet and replace the outlets in the room with TR.
The first outlet (the one with the ground issue) had very little slack, but other than that the wires (including the ground) were all present and seemed to be in good condition. Then I opened up the second box (which got the line from the service panel and daisy-chained a runner out to the one with the ground issue), and found, to my horror, that whomever had last wired this outlet had not only disconnected the ground on the runner to the other outlet, but had cut it off at the jacket. HUUUUUGE no-no. Luckily, they'd made another more minor boo-boo, and there was roughly two inches of outer insulation on the wire in the box (from what I remember of HoH, electricians are supposed to leave a max of only 1/4" of outer insulation in a wallbox), so I was able to cut the jacket back and expose enough bare wire to get a couple good twists around the ground on the service side, making the electrical in the room safe to use.
I figure this hack job can't have been done by the original homebuilders; a lot of things in this house have been worked on by the son of the original homeowners, and virtually all of them have had pretty obvious defects in the workmanship. The wiring problems, at least, I can clean up as I find them, but this guy has renovated bathrooms, framed out a loft space into an enclosed room, installed a spa, and has probably touched more of this house than I know. My questions to the board are:
- Would this guy, not being the homeowner himself, be required to be licensed in Texas and to pull permits for this kind of electrical work (running subpanels, fishing new wire, installing wallboxes)? I know in the legal world, you can represent yourself, but if you don't then the person who represents you must be a member of the bar. I wonder if the same applies to home construction.
- In a similar vein, would the guy have been required to get the work inspected?
- If something defective in the house causes a real problem before I catch it, do I have any recourse against him, or against the original homeowners who let this hack work on their house?