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Antioch, IL

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reply to robbin

Re: Before I Rip This MF'ing Wire Out

said by robbin:

Yes, store of a bygone era. Been there since 1952 -- seriously, you think they are going to be a problem that needs to be warned about?

It's ok. While I will acknowledge his expertise in the field, I realized long ago that expertise does not necessarily equate to common sense. Nunya doesn't know me at all, but it is a shame that most take the cynical approach to everything rather than extending the benefit of the doubt. In all fairness, though, I tried to keep my posts succinct so as not to annoy the tl;dr crowd, which limits the amount of information he had to go with.

I have a wife and an eleven year old daughter, two Border Collies and a 10 acre piece of property, Nunya. The house is 2500 square feet, and there are two heated outbuildings (30x50, 30x40). We bought it three years ago next month. We will have it paid off after three or four more years. I'm almost 54 years old, and I have worked and saved for a place like this all of my adult life. I'm not going risk what I've worked for by taking any shortcuts. As I said earlier, I know my limits, and if I am going to call in a professional, you can bet your ass I'm going to make sure he's qualified to work on my pad.

Now then, allow me a moment to come down from this particularly high horse, and I will explain what the problem was. I was able to figure it out this morning, thanks to the informative explanations provided me here.

When I awoke this morning, it occurred to me there are some outside outlets on this house. I have been using the one outside my front door to light up an artificial Christmas tree I set up down at the end of our dead end street, about 450 feet away from the house. I remembered these are not GFCI outlets out there, so I ran to the inside wall switch and turned the tree on. It did not light up, which told me this outlet is on the same circuit as the bathroom breaker is! I went outside, unplugged the cord and flew down to the basement and turned the breaker on. It did not trip, and the lights and fan in the bathroom worked once again.
I had to wait for a little more daylight, but I knew there had to be a problem somewhere along the 450 feet worth of cords.
I looked out a front window towards the tree after a little more daylight, and saw this:

Zooming in a bit, I noticed the cord had been moved, even though no one had walked across the front yard for a few days:

Threw on my shoes and a coat, and found this:

These will give you an idea of the tree, the cord length out to it, and where it sits at the end of my road.

There is a lot of wildlife around here, so it's pretty obvious something chewed threw the cord. It was something small, however, because there are no obvious footprints. It was probably a damn squirrel that hasn't been killed by one of my dogs yet.

Red Green, yes, that's them. Here's a picture of their store front:

I took a ride into town to meet Mr. Gelden again. I explained everything and showed him these pictures in my camera. He then gave me a little information on his background.
He went to work for Carey Electric back in the late 1950s. When Mr. Carey died, he bought the business and has been running it with his wife since 1982. They have a 4 man crew, and do any kind of electrical work. He appears to be close to 70 years old, and his wife hinted that she wants to retire soon. As you can see from the picture, the signs out front have been there since before 1982.

Thanks, everyone. I really appreciate the help.

Sunnyvale, CA
You must have some killer rodents to chew all the way through the cord like that.

I have one heavy duty outdoor extension cord that was attacked by animals. Close inspection of the cord found that for almost the entire unwound length of the cord there were thousands of fine punctures in the insulation (looked more like needle punctures then bite marks). I don't know what animal did that (squirrels and feral cats are common in my backyard) but whoever did it was very thorough. There are about 100 punctures in a one inch length of the cord and it seemed that this rate was the same for about 20 feet of it (most of the cord that was wound into a coil had been left alone). From a distance the cord looks fine, only up close you can see that the insulation has become very porous.
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said by leibold:

... Close inspection of the cord found that for almost the entire unwound length of the cord there were thousands of fine punctures in the insulation (looked more like needle punctures then bite marks). ... that the insulation has become very porous.

I've seen lightning do that to wiring - no massive charring or melting, just lots of tiny porous holes in the insulation.
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