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I got a maintenance contract with a property management company in 2013. They own numerous section 8 apartment buildings around town with a total of 131 apartments that are all nearly identical in layout and building materials used. The electrical systems and wiring are about 35 years old. The strange part is that it's as if someone threw a switch and all the apartments' wiring is failing at the same time and in the exact same way. These photos are from different apartments and buildings and they all have burned out wiring. All the devices are back stabbed and the splices are crimped and wrapped with tape. Has anyone seen this type of situation before?

















 

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Well the main issue is that the bucanon (sp?) crimps are NEVER to be used on current carrying conductors. :eek: They are listed for grounding pigtails only, and only when used with the proper crimp tool.

I'd make sure you have an iron-clad release of responsibility on this job, or be prepared to repair ever single connection in every box in every unit.

Yikes.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
mxslick said:
Well the main issue is that the bucanon (sp?) crimps are NEVER to be used on current carrying conductors. :eek: They are listed for grounding pigtails only, and only when used with the proper crimp tool. I'd make sure you have an iron-clad release of responsibility on this job, or be prepared to repair ever single connection in every box in every unit. Yikes.....
I've already sold them a complete replacement of all devices and splices, but they are only having me do them when the tenant move out. On every repair, I send them a recommendation on company letterhead to replace all backstabbed devices and splices post-haste. Thank you for the information about the crimps being only listed for grounds. Fire is imminent in these apartments. Yikes indeed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
dmxtothemax said:
Hope you have got a good insurance company ? You could well need it ! But 35 years isn't too bad, Especially if it was done as cheap as possible to begin with !
I've got great insurance, but I did not install this old electrical system. I am not liable for this fire hazard, the building owner is. Oh, these buildings were once military housing for a large Army community that no longer exists.
 

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I've got great insurance, but I did not install this old electrical system. I am not liable for this fire hazard, the building owner is. Oh, these buildings were once military housing for a large Army community that no longer exists.
Ah, so the original install never had to comply with the NEC to begin with?
 
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I had a similar job on a 54 Apt. units in 9 buildings. The building was about 80 years old and had been remodeled and updated a few times. It had the old #12 solid copper wire with a silver coating and rubber and cloth insulation about 1/4" thick per wire. The client wanted the circuits isolated to each Apt. because the breakers would trip and the neighbors fridge would stop. Some other problems were feeling electricity in the showers and burned up wires in overhead boxes.
I saw a lot of boxes that looked just like your pictures and plenty of octagonal boxes that had no insulation left. All the wires were crimped with the old friction tape wrapped and many twisted the wrong way for wire nuts. Plenty of bad work had been done by some maintenance guy who did not know that it mattered which wire was black or white. Over 50% were wrong.
I ended up pulling all new wire, some new conduit, boxes and breakers along with replacing every wiring device. One benefit of pulling new wire was we were able to pull another circuit and a ground.
No more fire trap or the owner paying for spoiled food. Oh, an we got rid of the tingly feet in the shower.
 

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Those are designed to be used for current carrying conductors, the style in the OP's pics are not. :rolleyes:
Sorry slick, but those used in the pic were used for current carrying conductors. (way before you were in the trade)
There are two problems with the installation.
First, and the reason for the burnt wiring, they didn't use a Buchanan crimp tool, looks like they used a Stakon tool. Didn't make a proper connection.
Secondly, to save time, they just crimped to the incoming and taped the joint, kinda like those fancy green marrettes you guys use for grounding.
That tells me the contractor was in a hurry, and trying to cut corners. Speed on splices, or back stabbing saves a ton of labour. ( off topic- this week, replaced a parking lot backstabbed plug which was about 40 years old, so it stood up to time and the elements rather well)
Even though spring type splices were available, it took many years for the engineers to upgrade their specifications.
 
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Those are designed to be used for current carrying conductors, the style in the OP's pics are not.
You sure? I don't use those because I don't like them, but looking at Ideal's website, these are the 2006S crimps:

And these insulators are designed for 2006S or 2008S:


Though I agree in OPs picture it definitely appears to have been used improperly (wrong crimp tool and no insulator), I think they could've been used safely.
 

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Gaahhh! Those evil 14 cubic inch brown Union boxes. I suppose that's better than shallow sectional boxes, though.

I agree with the others - those connections failed because of improper termination and crimping.
 

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Sorry slick, but those used in the pic were used for current carrying conductors. (way before you were in the trade)
There are two problems with the installation.
First, and the reason for the burnt wiring, they didn't use a Buchanan crimp tool, looks like they used a Stakon tool. Didn't make a proper connection.
Secondly, to save time, they just crimped to the incoming and taped the joint, kinda like those fancy green marrettes you guys use for grounding.
That tells me the contractor was in a hurry, and trying to cut corners. Speed on splices, or back stabbing saves a ton of labour. ( off topic- this week, replaced a parking lot backstabbed plug which was about 40 years old, so it stood up to time and the elements rather well)
Even though spring type splices were available, it took many years for the engineers to upgrade their specifications.
You sure? I don't use those because I don't like them, but looking at Ideal's website, these are the 2006S crimps:

And these insulators are designed for 2006S or 2008S:


Though I agree in OPs picture it definitely appears to have been used improperly (wrong crimp tool and no insulator), I think they could've been used safely.

Thanks to both of you, I stand corrected. I fell victim to the "Urban Electrician Code" in regards to the proper use of those crimps. Former EC's have told me they were not intended or listed for use on anything but grounding conductors.

One of the reasons I love this place is learning new things and revising outdated/incorrect thinking. :thumbup:
 

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The crimps look like crap for sure.....it was certainly just thrown together.
I find it interesting that all of the terminations and devices are begining to fail at exactly the same time. I would think that heavier loads used in some areas would have caused some to fail earlier than others.
Apparently, not only were the buildings done in exactly the same way but the tenants used exactly the same loads.:laughing:
 

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Well devosf is only replacing them once the tenant moves out; some of those devices could have been non-op for years. And tenants are notorious for not actually informing the landlord of problems. No one normally goes around checking each plug on turn over.

Or their might have been a change in priority. It could be that up until recently the landlord ignored complains that receptacles were not working. So now there is a backlog.
 
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