Which electrician is right?

timbo59August 31, 2010

I hope someone here can help solve a few issues regarding differing opinions from two electricians weve had in to rewire a new kitchen. The area needed a complete revamp electrically because it used to be the family room.

We had one guy in to do the electrical work who proved to be a complete pain in the arse regarding his attitude towards turning up for work when stated, wasting an enormous amount of our time, etc. After blowing us off three times, and not even bothering to call on the last occasion to let us at least know he wasnÂt going to show (he has a cell phone stuck to his hip that he could have used at any time) we said enoughÂs enough and decided to dispense with his services. As far as we were concerned it was three strikes and he was out.

The new guy we got in took one look at the work and told us there were a raft of mistakes made by the previous electrician that would have to be rectified, including -

1) the fact that the guy had miscounted the amount of empty slots left on our board to use for the kitchen (factoring in the old ones being transferred across from the old kitchen) meaning that weÂd have to amalgamate a couple of the lesser used ones to make it all work.

2) That heÂd used the wrong type of cable going to where the new island will be placed. He used standard 10 gauge 20 amp cable - the new guy said islands require a special type of cable.

3) That the four receptacles placed in the walls to house the connections for dishwasher, disposal, cooktop, and wall oven would have to come out. As far as the latter three were concerned, he said the receptacles should go in the associated cabinets, not in the walls.

4) That the first electricianÂs idea of threading the wiring that comes with puck lighting (for under cabinet lighting) through the walls and studs is against code, because itÂs only meant to be used under or inside the cabinets.

5) That the first guy was a complete idiot because heÂd forgotten to allow for a switch for the disposal unit. The new electrician suggested a fix, which was to replace one of the new wall outlet receptacles at counter-top height with a larger box that would allow space for both the double outlet and a switch for the disposal. Thankfully there was enough excess cable hanging out the end that I myself was able to pull enough back into the wall and to the box in question so that the switch could be put in place.

WeÂve since paid off the first guy, but when the issues were raised he got hot under the collar and claimed that all his work was fine  didnÂt even want to back down on the issue of the missing switch for the disposal unit! Nor of course was any apology proffered for the constant time-wasting and lack of courtesy  this is the only person IÂve ever met who made cable companies look positively considerate by comparison!

So for my clarification, would anyone care to comment on any of the points made above, particularly number 3, because IÂd be interested to know.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

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Sorry to hear about your situation. Given the current economic conditions and it's impact on the trades, one would think that most electricians would be willing to kiss your behind.

1. By amalgamation a presume the plan is to combine lesser used circuits to free up space in the panel. The code is pretty clear on requirements for kitchens and baths, so I don't know if you have enough low amp circuits to combine things. As soon as you start playing with those circuits, you may be required to bring them up to current code as well. Which might include things like expensive arc fault breakers. It may be cheaper and more efficient to simply add a small sub-panel.

2. 20 amp circuits are typically served by 12 gauge wire or cable unless you have a long run to the service panel. Not sure about "special" cable. Perhaps he means flexible metal cable for protection against physical damage? I'm not sure the code actually requires it but rather requires NM to be protected against damage. There may be a way to accomplish the physical protection without running new cable.

3. Receptacles for the dishwasher and disposal are usually located under the sink. The range receptacle behind the range. Wall ovens are typically hardwired.

4. Lamp cord is not approved for in wall use although that rule seems to be frequently broken for undercabinet lighting. My recommendation is to use line voltage fixtures and the appropriate wiring methods. It's really not that hard to install undercabinet lighting neatly and properly although it will be more labor intensive.

5. A switch makes a lot of sense for a disposal. :-) Although there are air switches that can be mounted by the sink to eliminate the need for a wall switch.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 9:54AM
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My dishwasher and disposal are wired straight into the wall. No receptacle. My parent's disposal has no switch: it is a batch-feed and doesn't need it.

I've seen cooktops and wall ovens done both ways: receptacle and hardwired. I've also seen them done both before and after the cabinets. It depends on the installation and the cabinets.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2010 at 1:39PM
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