New bathroom medicine cabinet & sconce--old walls & AC

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by garynyc, Nov 2, 2008.

  1. garynyc

    garynyc New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Hi all;

    Images http://garynyc.exposuremanager.com/g/misc_photos


    I'm installing a new medicine cabinet and a small sconce in my old NYC bathroom. The walls are lath and plaster, and I have already removed the 1940's cabinet that was recessed. I sheet rocked up the hole, and want to use the original sconce electrical mount and keep the 2 socket outlet that's already on the wall. I cannot open the wall to do any work, and I don't want to/cant replace any of the ancient wiring that exists. The cabinet is a wall-mount unit and has built in lights and a single socket, prewired by the manufacturer with two pairs and a ground wire that I need to connect to power as well. Without ripping out all electric and replacing/re-running wiring (not allowed by building), how can I safely wire the cabinet, wall sconce and existing outlet? Thanks in advance!
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    If the building will not allow you to replace the wiring then why would you think that what you want to do would be allowed?
  3. garynyc

    garynyc New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Answer

    Im going ROGUE!
  4. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    So what you are saying is you are asking for advice on how to do something illegal
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2008
  5. garynyc

    garynyc New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Answer

    tHANKS FOR THE HELP...YOU'RE A PEACH
  6. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    you are welcome
  7. jar546

    jar546 In the Trades

    Messages:
    432
    Location:
    USA
    1) Notify the building owner of what you intend to do.
    2) Pull a permit with the City (required)
    3) Hire a professional and keep the rest of the tenants safe.

    OR

    Buy 1 roll of black duct tape, 6 yellow wire nuts, a 25' short handyman roll of 12/2MC cable, a pair of linesman plier, a digital multi-meter(good for AC voltage), an insulated set of screwdrivers (#2 phillips and a flathead), a 1-1/2" metal extension ring for octagon boxes, one fixture stud, super glue, electricians tape such as 3M black '33', a utility knife and of course a book from Home Destruction full of how to mistakes. Take all of this, place them on E -B -ay and see how much money you can get.
  8. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Or you can just call the building owner/super and tell them to set the whole thing up.

    It is NOT your place or responsibility to do ANY electrical work in a NYC apartment if you do not hold a NYC electrical license and insurance.
    You can go "rogue" if you want someplace else. There are MANY more lives at stake here than yours!! Remember that.
  9. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Gary, this situation is a DEATH TRAP.
    PLEASE, for your family's sake, DO NOT do anything more.
    You obviously have no clue what you are doing or you would not have EVER relaced, or considered replacing, that receptacle. Even with a GFI.
    That whole mess is not legal or safe!!!

    [​IMG]
  10. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    Messages:
    422
    This is an unsafe situation for YOU!

    Those metal medicine cabinets with built in lighting can be quite dangerous if they are not properly grounded. There does not appear to be a ground wire in that electrical box! I don't know if the metal on the electrical box is grounded or not (like via conduit)?

    Then that "grounded outlet" is not a GFCI and there is no ground wire there.

    What this all means is that you are at risk of electrocuting yourself! Not to mention the risk of starting a fire and possibly causing the death of other tenants. Would this be manslaughter?

    Anyway you have started this project and now need to do something. A professional electrician needs to examine that wiring and the wiring of the building, then depending on if there is a ground there or not, wire it one way or the other.

    If I had that medicine cabinet in my bathroom, I would want it grounded or GFCI protected. And if grounded, I would want to make DARN sure it was a good ground. This means I would check to see if that metal electrical box was in fact grounded or not. And being an old building, I would test the ground if it was via conduit. (Connections come loose.)

    What I would do if I were you is to come clean with your landlord, say you will pay for the repairs, then hire an electrician. The thing is the electrician will need access to the building electrical room to see if any metal conduit used is in fact grounded or not.

    Then I don't know about your electrical codes, but the electrician might be able to install wire molding and bring that outlet down. Here is what wire molding looks like...
    http://www.lashen.com/vendors/hellermanntyton/default.asp

    Then again I don't know about what is allowed there in NY, but the electrician may be able to GFCI protect the outlet as well as the metal medicine cabinet so you will not be electrocuited (should there not be a ground there). Or maybe not. I don't know?

    Maybe they would make the electrician run a new grounded wire from the main electric panel?

    Also be aware that the insulation on wires behind light fixtures can crumble in old buildings like yours. This is because the light fixtures place a LOT of heat on those wires. Over many years, the heat wrecks the insulation. So just moving those old wires around might cause the insulation to fall off!
  11. garynyc

    garynyc New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Issues

    Ya the wiring is really old--this last configuration was here all the 14 years I've been there. The insulation is definitely crumbling around the wires, and I don't see a ground anywhere. I'll definitely check with the super to get a licensed electrician to take a look.

    Thanks for looking out...

    Gary
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