We are always amazed as we repair and replace stuff in our old house. Amazed and terrified in most cases. Take, for example, the outside lights we replaced a few weeks ago. They were junky looking lights and one had stopped working. They looked ancient so we figured it wasn’t worth trying to fix them up. Up I climb on my ladder and off comes the set screw holding it all together. My jaw dropped as I lowered the light from the box holding the light in the wall. Both lights were connected to regular 12 gauge wire by telephone wire (24 gauge). In case you are not familiar, 12 gauge wire is a pretty typical size wire for running electricity through a house. On the other hand, I used to play with 24 gauge telephone wire as a kid when I wanted to mess with flashlight batteries and tiny gizmos. Twelve gauge wire is rated for a maximum of 25 Amps in free air, or 20 Amps as part of a 3 conductor cable (i.e. typical household usage). Telephone wire is not rated at all for household current.
Ok, I know, I am going on and on. I just can’t imagine what would make someone decide to connect an obviously very skinny wire (diameter of 0.0201 inches) to a very not-skinny wire (diameter of 0.0808 inches…4 times the diameter of the other). Even if you know little about electricity, I would think one would at least pause for a moment upon seeing such a difference. Check this out for a graphic
Fortunately my house didn’t burn down. I don’t know how previous owners didn’t have problems aside from the fact that the lights were probably rarely used because of their location. As we work through the issues in this
money-pit adventure of home ownership, I shudder to think of what else lies in wait for us.
Anyone else see crazy stuff in your house and wonder how you survive?