0

I live in a house that has significant issues. Here's the current one I'm wondering about.

This electrical outlet box seems to be "live". There is 120v voltage running between one of the electrical lines and the box. No voltage exists between the two wires, or between the other wire and the box. What is going on here? Would this exist because it was originally knob and tube before an upgrade to BX-cable? (I don't see any lot of knob-and-tube though) Just how unsafe is this - can it be closed up and grandfathered in as this is all pre-existing?

How would I test for where the break in the insulation is (thereby causing the neutral or hot wire to run through the armored cable housing)?

Here's a full set of photos of the situation. https://photos.app.goo.gl/PDBPdcyjYsZ1gFh3A enter image description here

9
  • 2
    It's possible you are looking at wiring for a switch rather than an outlet. So you're being fooled that what you call the N wire is not going to the panel but rather to an outlet with nothing plugged into it. It's also possible the N wire is broken or disconnected somewhere. But the box itself should be connected to ground and that should be bonded to N back at the electrical panel. – jwh20 Oct 28 '20 at 16:28
  • 1
    I'll also add that if there is active K&T wiring in this properly, by all means DO NOT just close it up. It's dangerous and should be replaced! – jwh20 Oct 28 '20 at 16:30
  • Thanks jwh20! That sounds correct - this piece of exposed metal was hooked up originally. I touched a piece of metal to the area and got showered in sparks, so I wanted to enclosed whatever was going on there in a junction box and maybe add the option to put a little light in the closet. httpsss://photos.app.goo.gl/V8ZSZ552Hu1X3hdSA – Peaches Stevechu Oct 28 '20 at 19:01
  • @jwh20 What's so dangerous about K&T? It doesn't offer any grounding, but other than that I don't know that it's inherently unsafe and demands immediate replacement. – Steve Sether Oct 28 '20 at 19:56
  • 1
    @jwh20 -- never say never -- there are places where K&T was in use up until the 1950s, which leads to oddities like K&T jobs run with plastic insulated wire (instead of the bad old rubber/cloth stuff), or even with grounding wires! – ThreePhaseEel Oct 29 '20 at 0:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.