Electrical Tales From the Eastern Shore

1 Big Wire = 3 Small Wires

  • Task: To install an additional kitchen cabinet.
  • Problem: Main electrical panel is in the way.
  • Solution: Move the panel 2 feet to the left.
  • Problem:  Incoming power cable won’t reach.
  • Solution: Add extra length of cable.
  • Problem: We don’t have any heavy gauge cable.
  • Solution: Twist and splice 3 light gauge wires together and tape the joints.
  • Home inspector to Lady of the house: “Madam, this is a very dangerous situation. You should get a licensed electrician in here today.”  
  • Lady replies: “Oh no, it has been like that for twenty years!”

Cheap Electricity

I was just finishing inspecting an old farmhouse when the buyer told me that the barn down the lane was part of the property so I thought I’d better check it out. The electric was a mess with loose wiring, spliced exposed joints and rusted receptacles. There was no sub-panel, fuse box or main disconnect. I followed the incoming wires outside to a nearby utility pole which carried the power down the lane to the farmhouse. The wires werespliced directly into the overhead power cables. When I asked the farmer (seller) about the wires, he claimed it was news to him!

Listen to Your Dad

In a heavy downpour, I met the buyer, a young lady whose realtor was unable to be present. After showing her the rusted remains of the heating system in the flooded basement, I took her around the corner of the house to where this grey metal box was hanging off an exterior wall. The box was emitting sparks, steam and makingpopping noises. “That is the main electrical panel” I told her. “My dad said I shouldn’t buy this house,” she said. “Listen to your dad” I replied.

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