Where Are My Keys?

Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

When given our first key as a young person, spontaneously we lose it. Is it any wonder so many kids have a key dangling from their necks. You search the house, frantically lifting and turning every object within arms reach. You swore you left them hanging from a hook on the wall in your room. Now your mind desperately tries to retrace your steps in a near futile attempt to remember where you left your key.

Allen wrench in neutral terminal of an electric panel in a Connecticut homePersonally I believe diabolical gnomes have targeted our keys along with sunglasses, phones and socks, in an evil plot to drive all of us slowly insane. Or at least waste some of our time searching for these misplaced items.

Another frequently misplaced object for those of us who are handy and frequently perform repairs is tools. I have spent much time searching and cursing for a lost wrench or screw driver, only to find it right where I left it. Of course where else would it be, but in the last place I looked.

Does anyone look further than the last place? If so what exactly would you be searching for? But I digress.

These thoughts occurred to me recently when I opened an electrical panel and found an Allen wrench left in the neutral terminal. Did the electrician frantically search for this lost wrench on the next job when it came time to tightened down a terminal? Did he remember on the way home that evening and simply thought it not worth the trouble to return and retrieve the wrench?

One can never know, but I wonder how long before he found his keys.

Posted by

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

 ASHI Certified Inspector

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Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

This is a first, and wondering how he did not see it when re-installing the cover to the panel.

Sep 21, 2012 10:30 PM #1
Cheryl Eskridge
Eskridge Real Estate - Eagle River, WI
ABR, CRS, GRI, PMN, Broker, Licensed in WI & TX

Oh my we should just use the key pad panels and forget the keys! Don't you think that would be a good idea. Oh but then would we remember the code! Maybe if it was something simple like LOVE, BEER, DOGS, CATS, or whatever keeps your memory going.

Sep 21, 2012 10:44 PM #2
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

James, I have spent so much time retracing my mental steps in search of the elusive keys that I worry I might have worn out some neural pathways!

Sep 21, 2012 10:48 PM #3
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life

To kind of propel off of Cheryl's comment, I can honestly say beer doesn't do much for my memory ;)

Sep 21, 2012 11:16 PM #4
Janna Scharf
Keller Williams Realty Coeur d'Alene - Coeur d'Alene, ID
Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Expert
I can easily visualize my husband searching for that wrench for days, maybe even years!
Sep 21, 2012 11:22 PM #5
Rob D. Shepherd
Windermere/lane county - Florence, OR
Principal Broker GRI, SRES

When I lose things if its not found today then it never is.

Sep 21, 2012 11:26 PM #6
Dale Bledsoe
Crown Key Realty - Tracy, CA
Realtor in Tracy, California

I spent years as a key loser. Finally I moved into a new larger home and decided that from here on everything would have a place and everything would be in its place. Tools, wallet, watch, keys. Everything. Sometimes it takes an extra minute but I has been worth every lost minute as I am sure there have been many more found minutes given back. Excellent post James.

Sep 22, 2012 02:00 AM #7
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

The electrician is frantically looking for the gnomes who stole the socks, insanely unaware of the missing tool.

Thanks James.

Sep 22, 2012 08:34 AM #8
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

James- you made me think of something a cable guy left at our house... it was a long - maybe 4-4 1/2 foot long thing that could only be described as a giant nail.  We called the cable company to let them know but no one ever came to pick it up. It has sense traveled with us to 4 different homes. 

Sep 22, 2012 09:50 AM #9
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi James,

When I first saw the shot I was thinking what in the world is he doing that for?

Many tools get left behind by contractors. I have found them all over the place. In attics, crawl spaces and even in walls.

Have a great day in CT.

All my best, Clint McKie


Sep 22, 2012 01:52 PM #10
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Amazing!  So, did you report that the neutral connection appeared tight? 

As to the gnomes, I am with you.  Do you have any ideas for searching in the last place first?


Sep 22, 2012 10:38 PM #11
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Winston, It is strange, but I could see, after replacing hundreds of covers myself, how one could notice the wrench.

Cheryl, How do you remember those lock box combo's? :)

Mona, Who hasn't? And not just keys.

Jason, I concur :)

Janna, Yep! I know all about it :)

Rob, You chalk it up as a loss?

Dale, Great story. Goes to show we can change things with a little will power. 

Tom, :)

Kathy, That is too funny :)

Clint, For sure. I have found my share of tools and, um, other hidden "stuff". ;)

Jay, It would make the search more efficient if you just go to the last place first and get it over with. 

Sep 23, 2012 09:32 PM #12
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Jim, while that tool will work to do the job, it is not the one typically used by electricians to do the job---they like the t-shaped ones with the insulated handles :)

Sep 30, 2012 05:06 AM #13
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Charlie, Maybe this was a way for the electrician to have an excuse to buy a T handled Allen wrench. Most of the electricians I saw used Allen wrenches attached to ratchets in order to get the torque needed for the connection. 

Sep 30, 2012 09:25 PM #14
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