unprofessional electrical work: 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 work: 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 work: 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 work: 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 work: 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 work: 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 work: 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 work: Exposed To The Elements Two Different Ways - 08/03/15 08:16 PM
This 1968 electric service conductor is exposed to the elements two different ways.
First, the original insulation has become completely fried by the sun. 
Solving this problem, we see that this homeowner has excellently wrapped the conductor with electrical tape.
After all, we all know that electrical tape is meant for electrical things!
So get out your favorite roll (it's right there beside the duct tape) and have at it!
Now we know that duct tape has 1,001 uses.  But being called "duct tape"  this homeowner knows it is not for electricity, so for this repair he opted instead for electrical tape.
Well done!
Second, the large gap … (16 comments)

unprofessional electrical work: More Power, Scottie! But She's Giving You All She's Got, Captain! - 06/18/15 07:55 PM
In a house recently I saw the so-called "Wonderfully Finished Basement!"
The sellers had bought the house from a Flipper.  They did not get a home inspection.
The listing agent was VERY INTERESTED in the home inspection my clients had asked for.  She wanted to know what was what.  She said, "And I demand photos!"
Well, famous last words.  I can provide enough photos to make her eyes bleed.  And they set her up for all the disclosure issues that follow.  In Virginia, sellers have no responsibility to disclose anything, but agents do!
Just walking into the wonderfully-finished basement  I knew things would be interesting!
The … (16 comments)

unprofessional electrical work: "Spectacular Under - Cabinet Lighting!" - 04/15/15 07:31 PM
"Spectacular Under-Cabinet Lighting!" read the feature list.
And there it was, bright and beautiful.
Whenever I see something new like that, and touted, I look at it!  Who did the work?  Was it professionally done?
I could not find a power source.  The lights were magically lighting!  Actually, not finding a power source, I had a theory, verbalized it, and then went about searching.
Looking high in a corner cabinet there it was.
The power source!  Luuuke, feeeeel the force.
What was it?
That is an extension cord.  And it disappears into the wall behind the cabinet.
It is also not a grounded cord.  He actually cut the ground … (20 comments)

unprofessional electrical work: 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 work: Remodeling One KNOWS Is Unsafe Without Looking Much Further - 08/07/14 09:33 PM
Seeing this I knew we were dealing with remodeling one KNOWS is unsafe without looking much further.
Seeing a few new-looking breakers in the panel box I was anxious to remove the cover to look inside.
But one of the older circuit breakers was wired up with this wire.
It enters the box like any other wire.
It's what it does later that is so, um, creative.
Notice that the white (neutral) wire goes straight up?
Weirdly, it goes directly into a breaker newly labeled "1".  On the cover it says that breaker services the attic.
Neutral wires do not, (um, well, … (58 comments)

unprofessional electrical work: The Improper Use Of Electrical Connector Clamps - 05/09/14 09:54 PM
Proper electrical work is extremely important and I often see the improper use of electrical connector clamps.
Oftentimes the clamps are skipped entirely.  When I see that the installation is a sure sign of unprofessional work. 
And when the clamps are installed, but incorrectly, that is also a sign of unprofessional work!
There are various kinds of connector clamps.
This one secures the cable servicing my disposal so the electrical connection inside can be made.
It holds tightly!
The purpose is two fold, however.
1.  The cable is secure and cannot be pulled out accidentally.
2.  The connector seals the … (18 comments)

unprofessional electrical work: Electrical Voltage Where And When It Should Not Be - 03/30/14 08:36 PM
I'm never pleased when there are a lot of homeowner (or clever uncle) electrical "upgrades" in a home, but I am ESPECIALLY not pleased when there is electrical voltage where and when it should not be.
What you say?  That's not so odd.
Unfortunately that would be a correct retort!  But still, I am especially not pleased!
And you say, "Okay, okay, what's up this time Markanich.  You are such a whiner."
Interesting you should say that - I was looking up!
The electrical issues in this house were bothering me, and at the end of the inspection we were all … (33 comments)

unprofessional electrical work: "New Professionally Installed Roof And Attic Fan" - 12/07/13 09:28 PM
New can mean a lot of things, so when I see a feature on the list that reads "New professionally installed roof and attic fan," I am going to wonder. 
And check it out!
The front roof was in the sun and looked newer, but not NEW.  The house is 30 years old.
But I could tell immediately upon seeing the rear roof that it was NOT NEW.
How can I tell that?
Do you see the drippy black stain?
That is a spore called gloeocapsa magma.
It is commonly referred to as black algae.
Around here it begins to develop … (15 comments)

unprofessional electrical work: What Light Above Yonder Kitchen Sink Breaks? - 12/06/13 09:03 PM
On a recent "completely remodeled and gorgeous!" condo near Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. I ran across quite the "features" list.
And they were selling it for big bucks!
Glancing at the under-cabinet lights I was forced to look further.
What light above yonder kitchen sink breaks?
It is the halogen, and Juliet is obviously the electrician because that dizzy chick should stick to balconies and boyfriends and not be anywhere near wiring.
Arise fair home inspector, and kill thy fear
that is already sick and pale with grief,
and inspect the fair wiring resting so, above the "gorgeous" cabinet top!
'Tis a … (16 comments)

unprofessional electrical work: I Find That One Electrical Problem Leads To Others - It Did Here - 11/19/13 07:24 PM
Whenever I read or hear that there has been substantial remodeling done on a home, I find that one electrical problem leads to others - it did here.
Often it has been done by a homeowner.
Often it has been done without a permit.
Often it has been done by a contractor who is not an electrician.
Often it has been done incorrectly.
Often it is obviously incorrect.
Often it is dangerous, and the people living in the house don't even know.
I found the sub panel first. 
Predicting the most common problem, where the white (neutral) … (46 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

Email Me

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




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