Are You Smarter Than a Home Inspector--The Answer

Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

Yesterday I wrote a post titled Are You Smarter Than a Home Inspector asking non home inspectors to identify the defects in an electric panel. No one actually took a guess. Chickens, LOL. Well today I will show you the answer.

You can see the same panel at the right but now it's labeled.

By the way my intent was not to embarrass anyone, but to show that we all have specialized jobs. Once in a whle you run into someone who thinks they can do what you do. They might say something like "that looks easy" or some other silly rationalization. I believe you get my point.

Back to this electric panel.  This is a sub-panel, not a main panel. As such there should be 4 main wires entering the box one of which is a ground wire.

You can see where I labeled in the top left corner we do not have said ground wire. This is bad. The second error which because the ground wire is missing is sort of moot at this point is the ground screw. That screw should be on the opposite terminal.

I could go into more depth, but your eyes would glaze over or you'd be looking for a rope and a high rafter.

So, were you are you smarter than a home inspector? I guess that all depends on what category the question is from. I'm no good at quantum physics. :)


James Quarello
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

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Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

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Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.


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Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Can't say I can answer this one ....I am sure my husband can and he goes with all our buyers and comes at the end of an inspection for our sellers....when you ARE A LOT afraid, be very on !

Aug 21, 2009 11:58 PM #1
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX


I can answer the question without hesitation "NO I am not smarter than a home inspector".  I would define myself as mechanically declined.

Aug 22, 2009 12:18 AM #2
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I am glad you are not neutral on the lack of ground.  We bond.

Aug 22, 2009 12:42 AM #3
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

I know the answer to THIS question..

Nope, no way. I don't answer any of those type of questions. And when I look at an electrical panel, my eyes glaze over and I feel my hair standing on end. 

Aug 22, 2009 12:43 AM #4
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing ( - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

Show a home inspector  a CMA or a BPO and ask them to complete them.

Then you'll feel smarter.

We all have our knowledge base.  It's the sharing of those knowledge bases that make our world go around.

Aug 22, 2009 01:44 AM #5
Ginger Moore
Wilkinson & Associates Realty - Gastonia, NC

Hi James, thanks for sharing. nice blog!

Aug 22, 2009 02:06 AM #6
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Mr James,

I am glad you were, eventually, able to get that one figured out without my expert advice.


Aug 22, 2009 02:27 AM #7
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Sally, I will keep on blogging.

Richard, I seen "professionals" who were also so declined. Problem was they got paid to be inclined.

Jay, I feel connected.

Andrea, I'm surprised you'd even get close to them after your shocking experience.

Erby,  Which was my point.

Ginger, You welcome!

Nutsy, Thanks buddy, but I had his one all the way.

Aug 22, 2009 07:40 AM #8
TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
Complete Home Inspections, Inc. - Brentwood, TN
Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029

Interesting! I see similar wiring configurations here in my area for sub panels. I agree with the ground lug having to be on the ground bar. I do not think I have ever seen a separate ground wire leading to the sub in our area. Main, yes definitely! Your area must have a different interpretation of the NEC. Either way sharp catch on the lug even if Nutsy did not kabitz...

Helping you live your American dream...

Aug 22, 2009 09:58 PM #9
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Michael, I don't believe it's an interpretation thing as much as an engineering issue if you will.

Aug 22, 2009 11:37 PM #10
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


After all these years of attending home inspections, I would say that it's dangerous to ever think you smarter than a home inspector.  Particularly when it comes to electrical work.  I could detect that it was a sub panel, not a main panel, but that's the extent of my knowledge. 

Aug 23, 2009 01:15 AM #11
Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Providing the very best of service to Sellers and

This is why a good home inspector is so vital to the home buying process.  Most agents are not equipped to comment upon a home's potential safety hazards.

Aug 23, 2009 03:34 AM #12
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Claudette, I think you would be at the head of the class just knowing the difference.

Tom, Which is why we are all specialists. I can't tell the difference between an REO and CMA :)

Aug 23, 2009 11:26 AM #13
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