We all forget things, it is part of being human. We get older, life gets more complicated, and so the memory banks occasionally lose stuff in the shuffle. As a home inspector there are many things that I need to check through out a house. I jog my memory by carrying a computer and entering information into each appropriate area, this serves to remind me of what needs to be checked. It's kind of like having crib notes, but not having to worry about getting detention.
Recently I did two inspections where I found the exact same defect in new electric panels. It made me wonder do electricians carry reminder sheets to make sure they did everything for each job. I'm going to have to ask the next time I run into an electrician.
The first time was on brand new construction. The panel and the electrical in general were well done and I had found nothing seriously wrong through out the house. The last thing I usually inspect is the electric panel. When I opened the panel and initially looked inside, everything looked good.
One small detail I do look to see is present is the panel bonding screw or strap. The bonding screw/strap should be there and connected in a MAIN electric panel on the ground/neutral terminal. For those of you not electrically savvy, that is the place where the white and bare copper wires get connected. The purpose of the screw/strap is to bond the metal panel enclosure to ground. It is a means of protection in case the enclosure was to become energized.
In the new house the strap had been forgotten. I almost didn't see it myself because of the numerous wires in the way which I pried aside for the photo. This seemed like a plain and simple, but not excusable, over sight.
The following day I find the same thing again except this panel is equipped with a screw. The bonding screw comes with the panel when purchased. The electrician must install it if it's required (there are instances where it should NOT be present).
Again the electrical was new (about 4 years) with no significant issues through out the home. This time however it was the screw that hadn't been installed.
Like so many electrical problems in service panels this is a very simple problem to fix. Also like many of these problems it presents a potential safety hazard until it's rectified.
I think a reminder sheet for electricians might be a good thing to prevent them from forgetting things - twice.
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