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Old 01-25-2010, 01:33 PM  
lowpolyjoe
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Default Wiring Saftey Questions

Hey Everyone,

Hope this doesn't come up as a repeat post... I wrote a nice long post just after registering on this site and submitted it - but it a few hours later it doesn't seem to have shown up and my post count still says 0.

Anyway, I just found this forum. Looks like a good place for advice. I have some questions about some of the odd practices of the previous DIY'er who wired up some stuff in my house.

In my attic there is a 'between-the-rafters' type box with a simple ceramic light fixture in it that lights the attic. The metal box has sliding metal arms that are nailed to two rafters (assuming that's what you call the diagonal sloping 2x12's or 2x10's that make up a roof skeleton?). It looks fairly legit except that the romex running to it is sloppy. Is it ok to have one of these things attached to the roof skeleton like that?

There is a second light at the far end of the attic and i examined it a bit closer this weekend. Someone hung part of an old lamp from the beam running long-ways down the middle of the attic and stapled really thin lamp cord along that beam and plugged it into the base of the ceramic fixture mentioned above (it has an outlet in the base). It's a 10-15' run of super thin lamp cord and it *has* to go. My question is: is it safe to run 14ga romex along this main central beam in my attic and throw another 'between-the-rafters' type box in place of this hanging lamp?

These roof-mounted fixtures seem like the kind of thing where, if your roof ever leaks, you will get an immediate short unless everything is outdoor grade, waterproof housings, etc...? Is that the answer, waterproof housings? Or am i overly paranoid?

I also have an odd light switch in one room. It's a single unit that has 1 switch and two standard AC outlets. I've never seen anything like it before and seems like the manufacturer stuffed too much into a small package. Anyone ever heard of that sort of thing? Is it safe? I was gonna replace it with a standard switch but i actually use the outlets from time to time - although i never leave the house with anything plugged into it. Comments?

Thanks for your time,
Joe



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Old 01-25-2010, 02:01 PM  
Wuzzat?
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an immediate short unless everything is outdoor grade, waterproof housings, etc...? Is that the answer, waterproof housings? Or am i overly paranoid?
Water is not all that conductive, but if the circuit is on a GFCI you might get nuisance tripping.


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Old 01-26-2010, 06:07 AM  
ohmy
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Water is very conductive!

OP. don't worry about the roof leaking. If it does you will have water on more than your lights. The method you descibed is fine for the new light and those fixtures are typical for attics. Your correct about the switch/outlet combo. Those are generaly seen where there was not enough space for another device or larger box.

http://www.google.com/productsq=outlet+switch+pass+and+seymour&hl=en&aq= f

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Old 01-26-2010, 10:37 AM  
Wuzzat?
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Water is very conductive!
I hate to pull a Bill Clinton, but that depends on what you mean by 'very.'
Resistivity of Water

Check it for concrete, copper, salt water and the human body. You'd be surprised.

For it to trip a GFCI you'd need at most 120v/0.005A = 24 kiloohms. You might get that over a small distance.
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:46 PM  
lowpolyjoe
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thanks for the comments guys.

i think it does come down to how pure the water is, as far as conductivity goes. but probably just the sweat from my grubby hands on the junction box might put enough salt in the water dripping into the box to short everything out.

@ohmy: your link didn't work for me, but i typed the query in google myself and saw some switches. the one i have didn't come up though. the 1-switch + 1 AC outlet setup is common, but i actually have 1-switch + 2 AC outlets which seems excessive. i gotta get a picture. it's funny looking. guess i could swap it for a 1+1 setup.



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