It can be mind numbing to realize how something we own or indulge in has become a huge almost out of control monster. For example that collection of beer cans from around the world or a figurine set that looks like Times Square on New Year's Eve.
Or a house that over the years has grown and grown through addition after addition.
Such was the case on a recent home inspection. The original home was a modest cape code style with it appeared three bedrooms. The home was now a small manor with five bedrooms and no less than five additions. As add-ons go, this entire home was well done, but there are always issues with every house.
Because of the almost Lego like adding of new living spaces over the years, the house of course has also had numerous alterations and additions to the mechanical systems. An old radiant heating system had been replaced with a newer hydro air system. The system included three air handlers, three A/C compressors and what looked like miles of duct work. The one major necessity for all this new heating and cooling equipment is electricity. In fact you need a lot of "juice" for all that new space just to run lights and outlets. So it came as no surprise to find the house had four electric panels salted through the spread.
One of the characteristics of electricity is that if you begin the systems wrong, all that follows, even if has been done "right" will be wrong...
And a potential hazard.
As I wander the vastness of this house I came upon the first electric panel and everything was looking okay. The second one was basically all right with one major flaw. I was not to know it was a harbinger of electric panels yet to be inspected.
The third panel I found was the original and main service panel. It was a large 200 amp enclosure, which as expected was stuffed to capacity. What wasn't expected was the fact the panel was wired incorrectly. Interestingly, the other two panels I had viewed so far were wired from this main panel. What that meant was a licensed electrician on several occasions had been inside this panel and never noticed or bothered to correct a major wiring issue. Like falling dominoes, the other panels all follow suit and are ultimately unsafe as well.
As things grow, one is hopefully they are increasing with out deficiency. Unfortunately there may be times when those given the job of caring may not be paying attention to the details.