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18 Electric Wiring Fails That Will Make You Wince

It's best not to take shortcuts when it comes to the electrical work in your home.

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Baseboard-heater-in-crawlspaceStructure Tech

Baseboard Heater in Crawl Space

It might sound like a good idea to heat your crawl space in winter to perhaps prevent frozen pipes and warm your house a little more but it’s extremely dangerous. It’s a huge fire hazard and at the end of the day, it’s not going to warm your place anymore, at least until the house stops burning. It’s better to insulate the crawl space because it can save you a ton of money and block it to prevent pests from getting in.

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Bent-outlet-coverStructure Tech

Bent Outlet Cover

This might deserve a showing in the Museum of Modern Art for how well the outlet cover bent and hasn’t broken. It pays to put some thought into electrical box placement to avoid this stuff from happening. It reminds us of a fan we once saw with similar artistic qualities.

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Breaker-Panel-under-kitchen-sinkStructure Tech

Breaker Panel Convenience

What a good idea. Just move all the paper towels, soaps and potions out of the way and you’ll have instant access to your breaker panel. Learn what you need to know about breaker box safety here.

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Light-SwitchPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Dr. Frankenstein’s wall switch


We think this is a way to turn on a light switch to a room that has no access but-not sure! Believe it or not there are electronic ways to remotely operate lights with wireless switches.

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light switchCOURTESY JAMES BROCK, BOSTON HOME INSPECTORS

Wacky Wiring


Brock captions this photo, “When homeowners install their own wiring.” Need we say more? Some electrical repairs or upgrades should be left to the professionals—or you risk getting electrical shock and/or causing a fire.

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Hanging-Fan hung by electrical cable and hangerCourtesy of Structure Tech

Hardhat Area

It’s never a good idea to hang a ceiling fan from electrical cable only. They make ceiling fan braces that make the job safe and easy.

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Anger-Issues outlet bustedPhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Bust’n out!

What in the world made a thing like this happen? Whatever it was, it calls for a new outlet install.

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Crazy-lighting cordsStructure Tech

How not to add lighting


Pretty sure this wiring system won’t pass the electrical inspection. There are right and wrong ways to hang a ceiling light, and this is the wrong way.

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CSST-Ground-Clamp-on-CSST plastic coated gas lineStructure Tech

Proper grounding-not!

OK think about it. This guy grounded to a PLASTIC COATED gas line. Unless they changed the rules, plastic is a non-conductor. How many other electrical mistakes do you suppose you would find in this house?

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Aluminum-Wire-Scorched melted unsafe wirePhoto: Courtesy of Structure Tech

Hot Wired

This breaker is rated for both aluminum (AL) and copper (CU) wires. But that rating didn’t prevent this aluminum wire connection from loosening and getting hot enough to melt the plastic insulation. Here’s more on aluminum wiring and how to make it safe.

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Disposer-switch-with-no-boxStructure Tech

A Potentially Shocking Disposer

Not a bad idea to have a switch on the new disposer. As long as you don’t have to open the cabinet door to get at it-and that it’s properly installed!

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Covered-outlet Half-Hidden OutletStructure Tech

Half-Hidden Outlet

To use the bottom outlet, simply snip the plug off your device and stick in the bare wires. These home inspector nightmares are truly mind-boggling.

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Extension-cord-powered-circuit-(1)Structure Tech

Extension Cord-Powered Circuit

We think the idea here is to plug in an extension cord and use it to fire up another circuit. Maybe it’d be a little better to simply add another circuit.

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lights in atticStructure Tech

Mid-Century Attic

Not many people decide to decorate their unused attic space, but these homeowners did! Check out these 14 iconic mid-century modern decor elements.

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chandelier above bathtubFamily Handyman

Liberace’s bath

Believe it or not, there are regulations regarding the distance between your tub and a light fixture. If you’d rather move the whirlpool tub than the light fixture, here’s how to install it.

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CO-Alarm great goof home inspector nightmares carbon monoxide monitor on cable outletStructure tech

Poor Cable Detector?


Determined to find out if carbon monoxide was at fault for his poor cable reception, uncle Walter devised a plan…Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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Copper-tubing-for-fuses-(2)

No Fuse, Big Problem

Just because it fits, doesn’t mean it’s a fuse. Yes, copper tubing will conduct electricity, but this is VERY dangerous! And I feel an eerie presence of the ghost of Charles Darwin…don’t let it happen to you!

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Clothes-hanger-blocking-panelboardCourtesy of Structure Tech

Extra clothes rod

Clever why? Well, it’s the shower curtain tension rod silly. It’s easy to violate electrical codes if you don’t know what you’re doing.