I’ve tracked down most of the parts needed to start the second floor wiring, but I haven’t quite summoned the conviction to start. Part of the problem is the fear of the unknown. I have a pretty detailed plan, and I’ve done most wiring tasks before, but never quite this “from scratch”. Over-planning is my specialty. The other problem is the weather. To start wiring I’m going to have to pull the plastic off our ceiling, and that plastic is the only thing standing between our indoor air and a very effective ridge vent. It may not be freezing outside right now, but it’s still colder than I’d prefer for my bedroom temperature.
I have lots of books on wiring, and the internet can be a useful resource too, but one of my best points of reference is simply to look at the existing wiring in our house, and not do anything like that!
Okay, just kidding.
But seriously, let’s play “code check” with a few pictures from our woodshed. Don’t worry. All of this wiring has been disconnected since a couple weeks after we bought the house.
This wiring junction hangs from the ceiling as you enter the shed. It’s not protected by a junction box, like it should be. It doesn’t use wire nuts. It has an exposed common wire (which can still electrocute you when the circuit is active). It also has no ground wire anywhere (which has been required since the 60s). That metal box on the left .. ungrounded.
This light fixture dangles directly from the wire that powers it. I have no idea how someone thought this was a good idea. There’s no box to support the light or protect the wire junction. The wires are strung across the ceiling joists “closeline style”, which is against code. They are also less than 8′ off the ground, and thus should have conduit protection. That white spot … that would be a hole in the roof.
Look, more wire junctions outside a box! Also, the actual electrical box has no face plate (which protects you from the energized bare screws on the sides of the outlet). Like before, this is ungrounded wire. It’s also not protected by GFCI … in a shed .. with dirt floors .. and a leaking roof!
Outside this wall is a motion light. I guess they didn’t want to buy a fixture box, so they just drilled a hole in the wall, screwed the fixture on the outside and threaded the wires through the hole. Another unprotected junction.
There are so many ways to kill yourself in this shed if those wires were still hot. The former residents must really not have liked their kids. The sad thing is that all this work was done somewhat recently, at least since 1984, as it uses NM-B cable (which became available then).