Peter McCarthy Electric Co., Inc. - Specializing in Older Buildings in Chicago
Adventures in Old House Wiring....

How not to install a fixture. Part 1

Three more reasons why it may not be worth it to have a handyman or UN-conscientious electrician "throw up" a florescent light fixture in your vintage building.

1. They didn't understand or didn't care that the neutral wires be spliced together properly. The code requires all wiring splices to be "electrically and mechanically sound." 0 for 2.  These wires were barely all held in contact by the wire-nut.

2. Premises wiring should be brought into the fixture through an approved knockout, with a proper fitting or at least a bushing to keep the sharp edge of the fixture knockout from slicing through the insulation and creating arcing. (and then a fire down the road.)

3. Ideally, the fixture will be installed such that the junction box in the ceiling will be metallically bonded (and thus grounded) by 6 or 8-32 machine screws to the actual metal fixture housing. "Throwing it up there" with some drywall screws or toggle bolts may keep it from  falling down on someones head, but it won't ground it. If its not grounded, it could be the source of a severe, if not fatal shock, if you contact the metal housing while in contact with moisture in the kitchen.

You don't always get what you pay for, but you never get what you don't pay for. Keep your family safe. Use a real electrician. Your kids will thank you for it someday!

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