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Nail through electrical wire

Discussion in 'DIY Disasters' started by poolio, 12 Dec 2012.

  1. poolio

    poolio

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    Hi all,

    Last night I managed to hammer a nail through a gas pipe under a floorboard (not ideal!) Gas is off and the pipe is being fixed up tonight, so no drama.

    However when the board was lifted this morning, to my horror I saw that I was literally about 0.5mm away from driving the nail through a white cable, which the chippy told me was a mains electrical cable.

    So I was just wondering, does anyone know what would have happened if I had hit that cable? I've read various things from certain death to simply tripping out the electrics.

    Does anyone know what the reality would have been? I realise it's a bit moot now, but must admit it freaked me out quite a bit thinking I was a gnat's whisker away from electrocuting myself, or worse still blowing the house up!

    Thanks
    Poolio
     
  2. Jackrae

    Jackrae

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    You've answered you own question

    Worst personal case - electrocution

    Worst domestic case - house fire if consumer unit failed to trip circuit

    Question why did you manage to pierce gas pipe and almost same with electrics - is there no protection (metal shields or simply air space) over these to prevent such events
     
  3. poolio

    poolio

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    Nope there is no protection. I thought I was nailing into a joist below, but some kind soul has in the past cut the joist and laid cables & pipework directly under the floorboards. Nice.

    [/quote]
     
  4. maltaron

    maltaron

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    Hole in the gas pipe and spark from piercing cable!!! Does'n't bear thinking about.
     
  5. xr4x4

    xr4x4

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    Thats normal. (not on gas tho afaik)

    They should be laid in the middle of floor boards, or clearly maked if on sheet flooring.
     
  6. Jackrae

    Jackrae

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    Bl**dy cowboys

    You are indeed "lucky". That gas leak could have been a very slow weep, building up in the enclosed floor space and then just waiting on a source of ignition (light switch). Result BOOM !

    I'm baffled - what's supposed to be the purpose of the rags
     
  7. xr4x4

    xr4x4

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    stop the pipes rattling/squeaking maybe.
     
  8. poolio

    poolio

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    Yeah I asked about the rags, the engineer said they were told "hold it all in place"... ?! Think you're probably right about the squeaking. But it's a big ol' mess down there, the whole cavity is filled with crap - paper, sawdust, cardboard... seems like quite a big fire hazard to me but the engineer seemed unconcerned. Not much I can do about it without raising the entire floor.

    Also the wiring seems to be in pretty poor shape, with several chafed cables and - fanfare please - one mains cable which somebody else DID put a nail through!

    The engineer said if it was his house he'd just put the boards back and not worry about any of it, as it's been fine for years... I must say this runs against my cautious nature, but on the other hand I don't really want to open a very expensive can of worms.

    Argh!
     
  9. Jackrae

    Jackrae

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    Excuse me - but that guy ain't no engineer !!
    For that matter neither is the telephone technician, the washing machine repair man, the gas technician, the car mechanic etc etc etc (unless of course they have the paperwork to confirm otherwise).
     
  10. turnups

    turnups

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  11. Rapidkirk

    Rapidkirk

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    Should have been ok, you probably would just blow the fuse, I once sawed through a house mains cable, in my early years, it had a wooden handle, so it just blew a piece of the end of my saw. Might be worth investing in a wire and pipe detector, Stanley do one for about £20 onlinehttp://www.rapidtoolsdirect.co.uk/product/stud-finder-stanley
     
  12. poolio

    poolio

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    Thanks for all the replies.
     
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