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I'm aghast & reeling-more info re my earlier post (long!)

Posted by sooz (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 2, 11 at 2:19

I posted earlier and called it "Evidence of "heat" inside outlet" and am reeling.

I had another electrician (#2) come out to give me an opinion for re-wiring the house. He asked why I thought I needed it and we got to talking about the recent work that Electrician #1 did & how that the crew said there was evidence of heat in the outlets. Electrician #2 asked if he could see what #1 did. I took him outside to the "new" panel and sub panel, and he took one look and started mentioning his concerns. At that point, I got a notepad, pen and my camera.

Earlier that morning, I called #1 and asked for the permit for the second time, and was told it wasn't needed for the work that was done and he became very defensive, saying his work was up to code and didn't need a permit.

After #2 left, I emailed my concerns to #1 along with photos, and asked him to make an appointment to come and correct the work his crew did. No response. I went to City Hall and they confirmed that yes, indeed, a permit was needed.

I stopped payment on the check, sent Electrician #1 an email and made a phone call saying so, and saying I would pay by Credit Card. Figured that would give me more recourse if I dispute the charges until the work is corrected. Surprise surprise, #1 is not happy, and within 15 minutes or so, he shows up at my door (only DH is home) and pounds on the door and starts yelling and making threats about a lien, how I'm trying to gyp him etc.

I then had Electrician #3 come out the next day and do an evaluation for a report about #1's work--his first comment was "What a hack job! You didn't pay this guy yet, did you?"

Both #2 and #3 will be writing up a report for me to take to the Contractors Licensing Board, as they both found the same issues as problems, the least of which are NO permit, no paperwork given to me about anything, and negligent, incompetent work. Now mind you, I don't know much about electrical work, but things were explained to me so I do have an idea.

Here are the concerns, along with photos, that I emailed to #1 (I've changed the wording here a bit, but you get the idea of what was sent):
1) I was supposed to get a 125 panel, but I have a 100 amp panel, with non-Murray breakers in a Murray panel. Some of the circuits inside the 100 amp panel are 125 amps. They overphased and put in a 125 main, overfused bussing, panel, meter socket. The sub panel is overfused for the size of the feeder wires.
2) The nipple connection the sub panel to the main panel is not installed correctly. It is supposed to have lock nuts on both sides.
3) The blue lock nut is supposed to be on the outside to seal the box, but it is on the inside of the main panel.
4) There are two neutrals under one screw in the main panel. This for sure would not pass inspection.
5) The neutral bar and ground bar are supposed to be separate at the sub panel. Instead, the whites and bare copper wires are together, but they should be separate. It needs a separate ground bar bolted to the box, so a separate ground bar needs to be added, and all the ground wires should be put in that bar.
6) The A/C is not on a "tied" breaker. It should have a tied-together breaker.
7) A "used" breaker was placed inside the box, instead of a new one. An IET breaker, which are no longer made, was also used inside the box.
8) Cutler Hammer is the sub panel and they used Murray breakers, but the sub panel only has one Cutler Hammer breaker. Shouldn't all the breakers be Cutler Hammer?
9) The LB pull box is not installed properly. There is no cover and not only is it supposed to have a cover, but it is also supposed to be accessible. On the inside of the LB, one of the crew cut a hole and shoved stuff inside. It is supposed to have a fitting. The LB going to the inside of the house should have caulking to keep water from going inside the house. Missing 4 lock nuts on the nipple that connects the main service to the sub panel, the nipple connection is too short and is loose.
10) The panel tops are not sealed.
11) The new recepticle for the separate circuit for the refrigerator and for the washer have a problem. The hot side was wrapped around a screw counterclockwise. This should have been wrapped clockwise according to Wiring 101, right?
12) The recepticle for the washer uses a sheet metal screw in the back of the metal box. This should be a green ground screw, not a sheet metal screw, right?
13) Additionally, in the recepticle for the washer, the ground connection is two twisted bare copper wires without a connector. This should not be crimped, and using two tails and a wire nut is also not a correct way to address this problem.
14) The ground wire is exposed to physical damage. The ground wire should be a #4 bit it is a #6 and this is undersized for exposure to the elements. A red wire was used for the ground. It should be green or bare.
15) There are wires exposed outside.
16) Upon removal of the "patch" job in the wall above the outlet we use for the washing machine, it was discovered that they did not run new wires for the washer, there is no ground wire for the washer, they cut the ground wire and buried the splice inside the wall.

Yes Electrician #1 has a current license and was highly recommended on ServiceMagic and yelp. I don't know that his crew has any kind of a license, as the licensing info on the Contractor's Licensing Board says he is the sole employee and as such, does not have to provide Workers Comp. However, the two crew members who did the work said they'd been with #1 for 4 and 2 years respectively. Electrician #1 never once came out to check the work, not even when he showed up all angry to yell at my DH.

I guess the good news is that #2 and #3 both said I don't need the house re-wired.

Here is a link that might be useful: Original post--what started the new inspections!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I'm aghast & reeling-more info re my earlier post (long!)

Sorry - that stinks! When I said in the other post that it had a 'faint odor' my senses must have been numbed by a slow Internet connection. Hope you get this resolved without too much hassle or cost.


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RE: I'm aghast & reeling-more info re my earlier post (long!)

The ground screw is not required to be green by the NEC, but it must be a machine screw in a threaded hole, not a self tapping screw.

The first 'electrician' is in a world of hurt and knows it.

I would not allow him to set foot on the property, and would report him to the AHJ immediately.

Not allowing him to 'fix' his poor work may have some repercussions under local law.

A few minutes with an attorney would be well spent at this point, especially if he has already mentioned the 'lien' words to you.

He may lose his license (more likely a fine) for not pulling a required permit, especially if you [pursue the complaint against him.

Talk with the AHJ.

You may need to pull a permit yourself to get an inspector to review the work.


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RE: I'm aghast & reeling-more info re my earlier post (long!)

No wonder I'm always losing service magic bids. They have people like this hack electrician out bidding against me. Make sure to explain all of this to service magic as well to make sure they do not use him any more. They might not care though since they make $20-$50 off of him every time someone calls him. They should care though since their company is supposed to only refer top quality contractors. I'd certainly atleast leave the company a bad review on service magic.


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RE: I'm aghast & reeling-more info re my earlier post (long!)

Why the new thread?
Why not keep related info together?

Here is a link that might be useful: Original thread


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