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Cut romex behind the wall

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Rileyesi, Aug 11, 2003.

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  1. Rileyesi

    Rileyesi Guest

    A friend was hanging a new light fixture (replacing an existing one) and
    accidentally drilled into the romex behind the wall. He found out because when
    he flipped the switch, the breaker tripped. He removed the new fixture and the
    screws holding in the metal box, flipped the switch, and the other two lights
    on the switch came on just fine.

    Question. How concerned should he be about the cut romex that is in the wall?
    Most likely, the wire is not cut, just had some of the insulation scrapped off.
    In fact, by his best guess (by measuring the resistance) the screw cut into
    the black wire and not the white. To get access to the romex would be a real

    Any suggestions?
  2. in message
    The black wire is the hot wire in AC electrical systems. It would be better
    if the white one was cut instead. It definitely wouldn't be good having a
    metal box connected to the hot wire.

    Personally, it wouldn't bother me. Thermal expansion, condensation, and big
    mice are the only things I can think of which could cause it to short out
    and start a fire. Even then, it has to be a fairly high impedance short to
    start a fire (otherwise the circuit breaker would trip). It doesn't sound
    like a too likely hazard to me. I would remove all the appliances connected
    to the circuit and then measure the leakage current at the circuit breaker.
    If it is too low to be accurately measured, I would simply replace the
    circuit breaker with the smallest one your appliances can get away with and
    continue to drive a car, swim alone, tell people they are fat, or other
    things which have risk in life.

    Howard Henry Schlunder
  3. Jim Hancock

    Jim Hancock Guest

    Any nick or cut in the copper conductor, even if not shorted or grounded, is
    dangerous. That section of the wire is no longer capable of carrying the current
    the cable was designed for and will over heat before the breaker trips. A fire is
    sure to follow. Which will be easier - replacing the wire or rebuilding the house?
    You should be able to fish a new line between boxes without having to remove the
    old one. Just disconnect it.
  4. This is a test of a new newserver. I switched in the hopes of making my
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    should not have that horrid (!) adviertisement.
  5. Terry

    Terry Guest

    It's a pain but I'd fix it correctly.
    Reasons; a) Safety of life. b) If fire happened and it was
    apparent to an insurance investigation that damage had occurred
    due to a known fault that had never been fixed his insurance
    policy might be deemed invalid?
    Any chance he can reach into the wall and tug up some slack wire
    to reterminate it in the metal box etc.?
    That's 2 cents. For what it's worth.
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