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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Electrical Mystery Solved!

Today I was working at a friends home who is getting ready to sell her home in Lockeland Springs (East Nashville). I was working on a short list of repairs fixing some rotted wood, painting doors and working on an electrical mystery.

The mystery was to figure out why a countertop GFCI outlet in the kitchen wasn't working at all. In fact, it hadn't worked since it was installed. I took the cover off and tested the wires and found that they were connected properly. This meant that I had to go searching in the attic.

In the attic I found the junction box for these counter outlets and made sure the connections were tight. The wire was hot coming into the box, but the outlet below was still dead. This meant that there was a problem in the wire between the two or there was more happening in the wall that was unseen. It was still very much a mystery!

I got some new 12/2 wire and fished it through the wall into the attic. As I was pulling the 'bad' wire out of the junction box I found the problem.

When the box was installed it was placed directly over a nail that was sticking through the wall from the wood siding outside. The nail was in the perfect place to pierce the wires that were pulled into the box!

If you look closely in the picture you can see the nail in the hole at the bottom of the box where the wires came through.

When I checked the other wires I found another one that was also damaged. The nail had hit two wires and probably caused some heat from the looks of the charred wire sheathing.

I clipped the ends and got rid of the offending nail and put the junction box back together. After some testing, everything was now working correctly.

I love it when mysteries get solved and I get to be a part of it. It was a good day.


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