Something that I try and keep in mind as a Connecticut home inspector is that houses and the ways of building them have changed over the years. What was perfectly acceptable or perhaps never thought to be a problem, say 50 years ago, is today no longer a suitable method of construction.
One particular area of the home that probably has under gone and continues to experience the most change is the electrical service. During a training seminar not too long ago the instructor asked if anyone knew how many changes had been made to the newest edition of the electric code. Try and wrap your mind around this number;
To me it's incomprehensible how so many changes can occur in three years. Further how is anyone supposed to learn and know all those changes? Seems like a pretty daunting task to say the least.
So it's a good thing that as a home inspector in Connecticut it's not my job to know or enforce the electric code. Yet there is plenty to know electrically within the context of my inspections.
Take for example this electric service where it attaches to the house from the street. It has been there by my best guess around 50 years. And yet it is wrong by present standards because the wires are too close to the window.
This sort of presents for me a dilemma as an inspector. First off I know that this is an unsafe condition as I said by current standards, but it has been that way for 50 odd years. Quite probably that was thought to be perfectly fine when it was done.
So how do I report this to the client? In reality the seller should not be obligated to change the service, but the buyer needs to know it's a potential problem.
In this instance I have a simple and easy way out. The service wire is also 50 odd years old. It's frayed and in terrible condition and will need to be changed. When a new service wire is installed the electrician will have to locate the new wire based on the current standards.
The times they are a changin'.
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