63

I've been in my attic and saw that some of the wires have been chewed bare by mice. Whether this is the cause of the dimming or not, you need to immediately get an exterminator to rid your home of the mice problem and an electrician to assess and correct the damage. Bare/exposed conductors is an exceedingly dangerous condition that cannot wait.


54

Concurring mostly with Some Guy's answer here -- the reason why I take an aggressive tone in my other answers regarding FPE is because many of the OPs are coming to us because they want to do something to the breaker box, such as adding a new circuit or replacing a breaker that "died". Note also that all of this advice applies to panels labeled "Federal ...


26

Myths abound about K&T, and lots of it is ripped out unnecessarily. The K&T wire is exactly as thick as modern wire, and was installed by skilled craftsmen using bulletproof soldered joints rather than plastic wire nuts. The ceramic tubes will outlast civilizations. With certain important exceptions your K&T will outlast the house itself, ...


22

This happens all the time if an exterior GFCI is not weather-resistant. I've never had a weather resistant GFCI go up in smoke. Yes, they can be in a metal box, but they still should be marked WR (weather resistant) - this means the electronics inside are coated to reduce the chances of moisture causing exactly what happened with your GFCI. If it had ...


20

Yes, but negligibly. Any connection increases fire risk by increasing the chance of heat buildup due to resistance, sparks due to arcing, etc. The question is how much, and the answer is not much. Since you already probably have dozens of such connections in your home (including such high-current things as a microwave and kitchen range), and since most of ...


16

In fact, there are UL-listed power strips that provide an octopus of short cords-on-sockets. (by the way it was hell to find a genuine UL-listed unit of good provenance from Stanley; most of the Amazon listings are cheap Cheese junk off the Amazon marketplace.) It depends If it's blocky because it's a wall-wart style transformer, then normal loads simply ...


14

There is not a reason to replace the panel in a panic. It has worked this long, there is no reason to expect it to fail. Replace it when you can comfortably afford it. Yes, you almost certainly have FPE breakers. Adding 'New and UL approved' breakers does not improve the safety of the panel ThhreePhaseEle - Knows what he is talking about, I agree ...


12

This can be caused by a bootleg ground together with a poor neutral connection at the service panel. In building wiring, a bootleg ground is an electrical ground that is wired from the neutral side of a receptacle or light fixture in an older 2-wire home. This essentially connects the neutral side of the receptacle to the casing of an appliance or lamp. ...


11

Move the GFCI GFCIs have sensitive electronic components, as you found out the hard way. A regular outlet does not. If you can move the GFCI protection to an indoor location and then replace this with a regular receptacle, that would solve the problem permanently while still protecting against ground faults. Two options: Earlier in the chain. If there are ...


11

There are more issues to cope with: Damaged wiring, as jwh20 suggested. Yes, call electrician in and inspect all wires for damage. Enclose them in rodent-resistant tubes or something. (I am used to stone or brick walls so this is not an issue for me.) Excessive power consumption. In the ancient times, all the house wiring was powering were lightbulbs. Then ...


10

The damaged wires (and the underlying pests that could cause even more damage) are definitely your #1 concern. Once's that's addressed... The pulsing could be the thermostat in the toaster oven. To maintain a constant temperature, the heating coil is turned on when the interior is below the set temperature and off when it's above. There's usually some ...


9

I had this same situation. I made a (written) list of issues (with pictures) and gave it to the landlord. When it became clear that the landlord would not fix them, I called an inspector. It turned out that there was a completely different department overseeing residential safety inspection vs. building code inspection, but after getting that sorted, they ...


9

The possibility of the natural gas line transmitting the fire is extremely close to zero. Yes natural gas requires air, about 20% mixture of gas and air (more air than gas). Getting that mixture in a closed pipe, along the entire pipe, would near impossible without some pre-mixing first before the fire. Also if fires could be transmitted via the gas pipe ...


9

Obviously, other posters are correct to note that the bare wires are the real issue here. However, as explanation for the dimming itself: Many LED lights, especially those designed to be backwards-compatible with incandescent dimmers, are unusually sensitive to voltage fluctuations, moreso than incandescents. As Nate S points out in a comment on the ...


7

Assuming you are asking about US residential biphase 240 volt wiring (or equivelant), then there is nothing wrong with reversing the black and red wires.


7

The problems of 'greedy' power supplies can be resolved by using power bars which have proper individual sockets for each position. They also tend to have better quality contacts than the cheap multi-way strips. from https://olsondirect.co.uk/oldsite/13a_standard_flat.htm They also do USA standard ones, eg https://olsondirect.co.uk/oldsite/usa_15amp.htm


6

If you don't run conduit, you won't be able to pull wires with a pull string going through holes in studs anyway. So you might as well firestop them (or run conduit and firestop around the outside of it.)


6

A gas pipe is filled with nearly 100% flammable gas—at least under normal conditions. Propane and natural gas need to be mixed with air (or oxygen) to be combustible. The ideal combination for natural gas is 1 part fuel (by volume) to 9.7 parts dry air. A mixture of more than 15% (1 to 6.67) natural gas is not combustible! So, no. Under normal ...


6

No. As you seem to be aware, Roxul is a mineral wool product, and mineral wool is fireproof. You're right that it will "trap the heat" but this is exactly what you want and the result will be less heat transmitted to the surrounding wood, not more. Mineral wool is actually one of the few materials you can safely use for filling these kinds of spaces. Proceed ...


5

You should read up on what your legal rights (and responsibilities) are. Most landlord/tenant law in the US is at the state level, but your city and county may have additional rules. Most states have an easy-to-read summary of rental housing laws, and many major cities (including Baltimore, it seems) provide additional protection for tenants. You should also ...


5

You typically don't use domed head screws to mount the receptacle to the box (they stick out too far). You can get away with it if the back of the wallplate has a big indentation for those screw heads, but they usually don't. Those screw heads hold the wallplate away from the surface of the receptacle, so there is a gap between the wallplate and the center ...


5

In England, the regulation is Approved Document B of the Building Regulations 2019 In Wales, Approved Document B of the Building Regulations (Wales) and amendments In Scotland, Part 2 Building Standards technical handbook 2017 In Northern Ireland, Technical Booklets In general fire doors are not required inside dwellings of one or two storeys. In a three ...


5

If I buy a GU24 to E26 adapter and install a 30- or 60-watt incandescent in it: Is there a risk of fire because the fixture can't handle the heat produced by a 14+ watt light bulb? Is there still a risk if I remove the glass fixture and just screw the light bulb into the adapter? Would a 14+ watt light bulb potentially cause overheating in the ...


4

The way fire insert stoves work is relatively simple in conversion. You cut the damper out of the fireplace, run stainless steel pipe (6" dia.) up the inside of the chimney. The lengths are held together with 3-6 sheetmetal screws so this is an actual inside pipe assembly and it hangs off a sheetmetal cap that covers the top of the chimney and is silicone ...


4

A big problem with K&T is the horizontal runs - sagging over time means stress on the insulation, which becomes brittle from oxidation (not the wire - the rubber insulation), and can break off. You then have (a) bare wire(s). Should those wires come in contact with horizontal piping - particularly after something like a renovation, which usually ...


4

NEC Article 362 I've copied the NEC portions that cover corrugated HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) conduit for your reading pleasure. The NEC differentiates between corrugated and non corrugated HDPE conduits by referring to corrugated HDPE as ENT and non corrugated as just HDPE. Non corrugated HDPE is not allowed at all in any buildings, whereas ...


4

If the appliances have their own timers built in, then I don't think an additional in line timer adds significant safety or energy efficiency. And given that any device can malfunction, any additional device can introduce risk. If you already have a built-in timer, then most of the time I would keep it in the indefinite on position if the other appliances ...


4

This sounds like an issue from a physical damage standpoint While the NM cable only needs to be protected by guard strips if it's within 6' of a scuttle hole in your case, as per NEC 320.23(A) (referred to by NEC 334.23): (A) Cables Run Across the Top of Floor Joists. Where run across the top of floor joists, or within 2.1 m (7 ft) of the floor or ...


4

I know you've seen LED replacement "bulbs" that screw in, and you know those fail. What is failing isn't the LED. It's the conversion power supply which converts 230V to 3V for the LEDs, which tend to be built very cheaply. You could fix them, but it's not worth it. Don't let that scare you away from LED tech. The actual LED emitters proper have an ...


4

Your question is a bit broad since you've provided very little detail about the situation, but hiring an arborist to guide structural pruning would almost entirely eliminate risk of blowdown. We have large white oaks in our neighborhood, and they're rarely blown completely down, but they do tend to lose large, long, high branches in severe storms. ...


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