Penalty Imposed for "Do It Yourself Wiring"

By
Home Inspector with H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties)

Homeowners sometimes think they are wise in doing electrical work themselves, and saving all that money that the "professional" would have charged them. Well, that may be the case... IF THEY DO IT RIGHT!

But, unfortunately, I most frequently come across what I call "Electrical Spaghetti" served up by the homeowner.

Homeowner

Here we have loose "Spaghetti" going everywhere. Homeowner, or amateur wiring is usually pretty easy to spot. The most common thing, is that none of the wiring is neat, and almost never stapled or secured properly to the framing. The wires at the top of this box should be fastened (staples) securely to the wood to conform to national code requirements.

More

Here is the other side of the wall, where wires are run Under joists, loose loops, and loosley run down the wall.

 

Non-professional wiring of water heater

This is the homeowners idea of wiring the hot water heater. The wire connections are exposed, and the wire is run loosely over the water heater, not secured, or in conduit.

The yellow, looped wire is providing power to the relatively new furnace unit.("Spaghetti, anyone?")

Almost right, but no cover

Even when they almost got it right, they forgot the simple addition of a cover over the junction box.

 

Exposed wire splices under kitchen sink

Exposed wiring under kitchen sink= "bad electrical jujuj" .

 

The homeowner figured he saved about $1500 in doing all of this himself (and he did.. for about 6 months). But now that he is selling his house, the lowest estimate that came in to "fix" all of the things he did...

was $2350. I don't think he thinks he saved money ... any more.

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Ambassador
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Jim Crawford
Maximum One Executive REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR

I do not think there is anything scarier than an amature or do-it-yourselfer doing electric work.

Aug 28, 2008 12:16 AM #1
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

Jim,

Maybe if there actually WERE stiffer penalties for homeowners and amatuers doing illegal wiring, it would not be so common?

Aug 28, 2008 12:24 AM #2
Rainer
336,210
Chip Jefferson
Gibbs Realty and Auction Company - Columbia, SC

Many skimp from hiring a GC to do the work right the first time. It comes back in alot of situations. Homeowners maintain your home but please call a pro when its needed.

Aug 28, 2008 12:30 AM #3
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

Very true Laura.  One of the worst things an inspector has to do, is write up defects and comments that were caused by the seller/homeowners handy work. I'm sure it probably ends up being embarrassing for them too, but I don't often get to see that side of it.

Aug 28, 2008 12:36 AM #4
Rainer
120,529
Carol Swain
Keller Williams Real Estate - Langhorne, PA
Realtor, -www.swainsells.com- Bucks County, Pa

I love it!  And you know the seller who did the work thinks it is great!  And when the buyer wants it done right, how do you get it through to the seller?  The joys of real estate.

Aug 28, 2008 01:14 AM #5
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

If it is a safety, health or code issue, then it should be realatively easy to get them to do something. If it is one of those "grey areas" where it's just not done quite right, or up to industry standards, or something to do with "fit and finish" then I think it might be more difficult.

Aug 28, 2008 01:47 AM #6
Ambassador
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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Kevin, those plastic two-nail wire staples are, 99% of the time, a sign that a licensed electrical contractor was not involved:)

Aug 28, 2008 01:51 AM #7
Rainer
128,647
Brian Belcher
RE/MAX Executive - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Realtor

Wow, scary. This always gives me an uneasy feeling, and who knows what other surprises are in store.

Aug 28, 2008 01:58 AM #8
Rainmaker
1,247,164
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Lousy workmanship but, of course, we see it all the time. Firefighters see similar work too.

Aug 28, 2008 02:00 AM #9
Rainer
137,882
Roy A. Peterson
Domicile Analysis of Texas - El Paso, TX
P.R.E.I.

 

Hi Kevin, I bet you that electrical panel was not even grounded. That some pretty nasty wiring. Were the sauce~Newbie Roy

 

Aug 28, 2008 03:50 AM #10
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

Thanks for the comments everyone! Roy... you must be psychic! This house really did not have a ground!

Charles, ah yes, the old plastic staples.... no self-respecting electrician would dare use them. :)

Aug 28, 2008 05:00 AM #11
Rainmaker
1,247,164
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Kevin,

I just had a water heater like that today. It could be a twin, the way it is wired.

Aug 28, 2008 01:21 PM #12
Rainmaker
204,468
Margaret Mitchell
Coldwell Banker Yorke Realty - York, ME
Seacoast Maine & NH Real Estate

Scary, truly scary.  And certainly not permitted because it would not pass code enforcement.

Aug 28, 2008 02:56 PM #13
Rainmaker
67,128
Kevin Corsa
H.I.S. Home Inspections (Summit, Stark Counties) - Canton, OH
H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector

This kind of work actually fools a lot of people into thinking the electric has been updated, and everything is a-ok, when in reality, the work could be catastrophic, and is dangerous at best.

Aug 30, 2008 12:27 AM #14
Rainmaker
179,897
Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

I truly believe that some homeowners think that if the house hasn't burned down YET the wiring must be right.

Nice post Kevin

Sep 01, 2008 07:50 AM #15
Rainer
86,824
Mike (Inspector Mike) Parks
The Parks Consulting Group, LLC - Circleville, OH
Inspector Mike

In Ohio you are allowed to do your own work.

That said there is NO residential electrical license in Ohio.

So ANYONE can do residential wiring unless the local building department requires a state (commercial) license to work in their jurisdiction.

Sep 10, 2008 10:56 AM #16
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Rainmaker
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Kevin Corsa

H.I.S. Home Inspections, Stark & Summit County, OH Home Inspector
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