unprofessional electrical installation: When Sharp Screws Are Used In Electric Panel Boxes - 04/26/17 01:42 AM
When sharp screws are used in electric panel boxes.
I see it all the time.  The original screws that came with an electric panel box have been removed and replaced with different screws not meant for the box.
Why can different screws be "not meant" for the box?
For a couple of reasons at least:
>  The different screw(s) might be too long (!!).
>  The different screw(s) might have the wrong die (the male portion of the coupling) for the tap (the female portion) that was cut into the panel box hole.  A different die can change the original tap such that the proper screws … (10 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: Disposal Electrical Connector Clamps And Cover Plates - 12/21/16 02:17 AM
Disposal connector clamps and cover plates.
When electrical wires enter any junction box or appliance they should be clamped.
The clamp does what you think it does.
It secures the wire so it cannot come loose or be pulled out of the device thus pulling apart the electrical connection.
And very importantly, the clamp also seals the hole so no sparks can escape.
Disposals especially need this as the kitchen cabinet is one that is often entered, and it is a space with the potential for water to get onto an electrical connection.
Many times I have looked under a disposal only to find the electrical connection … (8 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: A Sure Sign Of Amateur Work Is Improperly-Installed Wires - 08/01/16 07:46 PM
A sure sign of amateur work is improperly-installed wires.
Anytime I see new light fixtures in a house, in new places, I always want to see the wiring. 
There are many specifics regarding wiring, with many associated code requirements.  The bottom line for all that is the word - SAFETY.
As regards electricity and electrical installations things should always be done as safely as possible.  That is why it is important to hire a professional.
Connector clamps or the slots on the sides of junction boxes should be used when attaching wires to boxes.
The insulation should be stripped such that no interior wires are exposed, … (4 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: Removing Insulation To Install New Light Fixtures Causes This - 07/30/16 07:54 PM
Removing insulation to install new light fixtures causes this.
There were a lot of new electrical installations in this house, all done unprofessionally and the wiring was inappropriate.
The old, single kitchen light was recently replaced with newer, chic halogen lights.
Three to be exact.
All were wired unprofessionally.
The insulation had been removed around each fixture to install it.
Bare drywall could be seen around each one.
These three spots without insulation took up a large portion of the kitchen ceiling, which comprised a lot of surface area, about 25 square feet.  They add up to more than 5% of the kitchen ceiling area.
Remember the 5% rule … (7 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: Electrical Receptacles CANNOT Be Shared - 07/26/16 06:50 PM
Electrical receptacles CANNOT be shared.
It's possible I have not seen this before.  I don't think I have.
This homeowner decided to finish the basement.
Apparently a kitchen needed to be installed down there as well.
A portion of the basement had been finished by the builder, but all that needed to change.
But some of what the builder had done, like the electrical, was used by the homeowner, but in an improper way.
This is the new receptacle for the new kitchen range.
It is a high-amperage appliance, with a high-amperage wire.  But the best place for the range was right where a receptacle from the previous … (8 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: This Is An Electrical "Repair" You Will Not Believe - 06/21/16 08:52 PM
This is an electrical "repair" you will not believe.
This is so disheartening.  What good is a license in a trade if it is demonstrated over and over that it means nothing?  In recent years my problem with the trades is the absolute disappearance of professionalism.  I could point to many reasons for this, but let's just leave it at the word professionalism.
My clients had a house fire that necessitated pretty much a complete rebuild.  While some aspects of the house remained, they needed virtually new everything.
The restoration company they selected has given them problems from the start.  To say they have … (13 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: The Drywall Told The Tale, And The Tester Verified The Truth - 06/06/16 08:28 PM
In this case the drywall told the tale, and the tester verified the truth.
When I see new electrical installations, I wonder as to how professional they might be.
This kitchen had 8 new canister light fixtures.
Walking in I knew where to look.
Getting out my flashlight I set it next to the ceiling to sweep across to look for drywall spots that would indicate what I thought to be the case.
And I was not disappointed.  I could see two spots just about the size of a junction box.
Breaking out the voltage tester I asked the Realtor to put it on a certain spot.
We saw what … (9 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: This Wiring Would Not Be Approved By A Boy Scout Getting A Merit Badge - 03/25/16 08:24 PM
For sure, this wiring would not be approved by a Boy Scout getting a merit badge.
There are more than 100 merit badges that a Boy Scout can earn.  One of them is called "Electricity."   This is one of the requirements to get the Electricity Merit Badge.  The requirements take up two whole pages:  "Complete an electrical home safety inspection of your home, using the checklist found in this pamphlet or one approved by your counselor.  Discuss what you find with your counselor."
So, let's say a 13 year old is crawling around the house and sees this.  I bet, I JUST BET(!), … (14 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: It Took Some Effort, But I Found This - 03/23/16 08:07 PM
It took some effort, but I found this.
A furnace room was newly finished, with improper framing, wiring, and they tapped a GFI in the nearby bathroom to create the circuit for the lights and receptacles in this new room.  Really professional.
To give a word to the work, it was a MESS.
A new sort of chase was created, apparently to hide an HVAC duct. 
That would not be uncommon.
But, I knew from my experience that this area was also where a builder would leave, or people would have, a light fixture.
I could just feel it.
Given what I had seen already, in terms of … (15 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: "New Attic Fan." But... - 03/21/16 09:13 PM
The feature list said, "New attic fan."  But...
Darn if I could find it.
I'm pretty sure I know where it is supposed to be.
Everything is ready.
But those wires are not safely ready to be used.
In fact, gee, aren't they touching?
 
 
Shouldn't those wires have a nut on top of each to keep them from touching?
Yes, yes they should!
Well, maybe they aren't hot. 
Touching the wire with a tester proves that the wires are dangerously hot.
Dangerous?  Yes, they are high, unprotected, and improperly hanging.  Look how the metal sheathing has been unwound.
What should we see?  Wires made safely ready for the installation of a future … (8 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: Homeowner Wiring Gone Wild! - 12/02/15 08:13 PM
Homeowner wiring gone wild!
No, it's not a video sold on late-night TV ads.
It's a disposal.
Do you see the red circle?
That is where the wire is supposed to go into the unit.
The wire should be secured with a connector clamp.
Connector clamps look like the above image.  They come with every electrical appliance!  There was one in the box along with this disposal!
The connector clamp not only holds a wire in place, but also intends to wrap around the insulation so the individual wires inside the protective rubber wrapping are not exposed to danger.
See how the wires are exposed above?  See how the … (12 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: So, What Am I? Follow The Trail. (I'm A Cute Homeowner Electric Job) - 12/01/15 06:33 PM
So, what am I?  Follow the trail.  (I'm A Cute Homeowner Electric Job)
I start here, in the crawl space, at a power strip plugged into a long extension cord, itself plugged in 40' away, along with a light fixture for the furnace unit that's under there.  I am wrapped up with electric tape, and oh so cute!  I like that!
From there I go out through a crawl space vent, which is covered so nobody can see what's really going on.  From this spot I go under a deck, which is low to the ground and so covered with lattice that no one … (12 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: Good Thing There Was A Light In The Attic To Show The Lack Of Insulation - 11/26/15 06:40 PM
Good thing there was a light in the attic to show the lack of insulation.
Gee, how else would we have known?
There was no mistaking the fact that there was a light there.
The fixture was excellently installed.  Not!
Okay, the switch didn't work, and the bulb didn't light up, but I'm sure it will one day.
And the fluffy insulation makes this space look snug and warm.
Or snug and cool, depending on your season.
Okay, that may have been a tad sarcastic as you can see there is NO INSULATION THERE!
This brand, new construction couldn't have presented itself better!
Sometimes I really wonder if the "supervisor"  … (15 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: Serendipity - An Inspection Short Story. Am I A Prince Of Serendip? - 09/04/15 07:35 PM
I would like to share something with you about serendipity - an inspection short story.  Am I a Prince of Serendip?
SERENDIPITY - noun - the phenomenon of finding valuable things not looked for.  First known use in English in 1754, coming from an ancient Persian fairy tale called "The Three Princes of Serendip."
Once upon a time there lived an engineer who worked for a printing company.  During printing the pages would often stick together in the humid factory and five-color printing came out blurry.  Willis Carrier, the engineer in our story, went about trying to solve that problem. 
In 1906 he invented … (16 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: It's Never Good When An Electrical Junction Is Not Accessible - 09/02/15 08:05 PM
It's never good when an electrical junction is not accessible.
And it doesn't matter where it is.  If it's not accessible behind drywall, inside of a junction box or as wires just taped or cobbled together with wire nuts, it is inappropriate and not to code.
Why not?  Because access to the junction is the minimum standard!  And it is important to be able to get to any electrical junction.
So when I saw brand new light fixtures in this dining room ceiling I knew what to do.
Why does this stand out?
Because this house is 24 years old. 
In houses built in that era I … (25 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: Bungee Me - 05/25/15 07:58 PM
Bungee me. 
The Bungee cord (sometimes spelled Bungie Cord) is an elastic cord originally developed for the airplane industry.  As a strong elastic cord, surrounded by a woven wrapping, it was able to be wrapped around early-on airplane parts to hold them in place.
If you go to a site that describes the purposes of bungee cords, it might say something like:
"to provide a means of securing objects while providing support and absorbing shock."
Well, I can say, I could sure use a little of that lately!
Maybe I could see if Wrench has a few bungee cords around the garage.   He can probably show … (32 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: The Feature List Said, "New Attic Fan ," And It Was True! - 03/11/15 07:01 PM
On this home inspection the feature list said, "New attic fan," and it was true!
Yep, it was TRUE, but NOT ACCURATE.
And the new unit in question?
There it is, high and center in the photo.
Brand new, right in place, apparently unused!
Well, it would have to be unused.
It isn't really hooked up.
I'm pretty sure that for the attic fan to work the wiring has to be attached to a live wire so it has electricity!
That may be in the rules, anyway.
So what's going on there?
What's that other thing hanging down?
That's the old … (83 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: Improper Electrical Installation - Unprotected Wiring - 02/04/15 07:28 PM
The title says it all, improper electrical installation - unprotected wiring.
Romex wiring, where there is a protective sheathing around various wires that do different things, needs to be installed right.  If held with staples, for example, they should not be hammered in too far.  If the wiring enters a junction box, it should be clamped.  Things like that.
Another consideration is how the wiring is cut in order to service an appliance.
The clamp should be onto the sheathing, with the wiring separated inside a junction box to connect to what it needs to connect to.
Here is the attic … (27 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot - Charred Neutral Wiring - 01/25/15 06:23 PM
When I saw the hot tub crushing, I mean, resting on the rear deck I stuck my hand in and the water was feeling hot, hot, hot.
Looking at the horribly unprofessional, I mean, interesting wiring to the hot tub and entering the house I knew it was a homeowner job.
Going into the basement and seeing the not-at-all surprising, I mean, obviously homeowner-finished basement I knew things would get interesting. 
Opening the panel box and looking at the wiring I thought I heard Buster Poindexter in the background,
Me mind on fire -- Me soul on fire --
Feeling … (14 comments)

unprofessional electrical installation: Sometimes You See Electrical "Stuff" And Still Can't Understand It - 11/02/14 06:10 PM
In older homes that have been lived in and "fixed up" by different people for a long time, sometimes you seel electrical "stuff" and still can't understand it.
This is a working switch. 
It is a new but old switch. 
It is wired incorrectly.
It is not grounded.
The wires aren't protected.
It controls three things simultaneously.
The mantle light used to be controlled by a builder-installed wall switch.
That wall switch now seems to do nothing. 
When the new but old switch is turned on, all three things in the label turn on at the same time.
This is the … (26 comments)

 
Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) Rainmaker large

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Bristow, VA

More about me…

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Address: Bristow VA 20136

Office: (703) 330-6388

Mobile: (703) 585-7560

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An experienced home inspector's look at current home inspection events and conditions along with his useful recommendations.


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