Electrical Issues…A Great Reason NOT to Waive your right for a home inspection.
July 27, 2021
We’re in the COVID Era. Many people are in a panic, including, for the first time, panicking about where they live. My wife and I came to New Jersey, from Staten Island, NY in 1987. We, like many New Yorkers, sought a better life and standard of living for our young and expanding family. And, without a shadow of a doubt, we achieved a better life in the Garden State.
As a licensed home inspector in Monmouth County, NJ I’ve done many inspections for people moving to NJ for a better life. NJ’s beaches and rural, suburban areas were a welcome change and attraction for people moving from Staten Island, Brooklyn and occasionally Queens. At one time the cost of living in NJ was an attraction too but unfortunately that may no longer be the case but that’s not important when compared to the other, quality of life issues.
Covid has been the catalyst for change in many, many ways. As it relates to the real estate business, Covid is pushing people to NJ. To some degree people are still coming to NJ for a better quality of life but 2020 has given New Yorkers other reasons to flee the Empire State and the Big Apple; Congestion, crime, unbridled riots the summer of 2020 and more. To some degree the real estate industry in NJ has benefited. I heard that Connecticut is also a welcome alternative to New York.
This all means that the competition for buyers is tough. Many buyers and too little inventory. Supply and demand. What gives? Bid prices go up and sellers put stipulations that only structural or environmental inspection will be permitted. What? For buyers that’s a bad proposition. You could be buying a money pit or a safety hazard.
Here are some examples of egregious electrical issues recently found that you would have no knowledge of if you gave up your right for a FULL inspection. One area that a run of the mill DIY homeowner must never do is electrical work! It could kill if not done properly, start a fire and worse. The examples shown are, in my opinion, so bad that there’s no way they were done by a licensed electrician or an apprentice working under the guidance of a licensed electrician. Items 1 and 2 are from one house inspected the week of July 19, 2021. Items 3 and 4 are from a house inspected the week of July 12, 2021.
- A sub panel that’s mis-wired. Neutrals and grounds are together on 2 different bars. One set, on the top right is wrong because the bar is, by design, electrically isolated from the metal box (Also part of the electrical ground). So the ground wires are not really grounded. “No big deal” you say? Wrong, it is a big deal. If one of the hot wires short circuits it will want to go to the ground wire and to an earth ground. But due to the way it’s wired, there is no metallic path to an earth ground. The electricity from the short circuit will energize all of the other wires in the house and potentially electrocute someone or start a fire.
- The same panel’s ground bar (Bottom left) also has neutrals wired to it. The grounds are grounded but so are the neutrals.
- At another house there’s a 20amp circuit breaker with a 14 gauge wire. That’s definitely a safety issue. If you don’t believe me try Googling, “Can a 14 gauge wire be connected to a 20amp circuit breaker?” The 1st response is, “You can not use 14 AWG anywhere on a circuit that has a 20A breaker.” For me it’s case closed.
- At Regal Home Inspections, LLC we use combustible gas detectors and check the natural gas valves and couplings around the water heater, furnace or boiler and dryer when accessible. Yes, we found a gas leak. Do you want to move into a house with a gas leak? Of course that’s rhetorical question, of course you don’t. But if you give up your right to an inspection, that’s what you may end up doing!
Don’t give up your right to a full home inspection. If you plan on renovating the bathrooms and kitchen, fine, exclude them from your inspection and maybe the seller will be OK with that. But do not give away your right to identify Material Defects that effect the safety or habitability of the house.
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