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  1. #1
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
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    Default When do you refer an electrician???

    When do you refer an electrician?

    While inspecting a house you find 5 three wire receptacles without grounds (they were two wire but they replaced it with a three wire receptacle and didnít connect a ground). The other receptacles are either two wires no ground or three wires with a ground.

    Do you refer a qualified electrician to either replace the three wire receptacles with two wire ones or add grounding to the three wire receptacle? Say this is the only electrical issue. Do you refer this or just recommend the buyer get this taken care of?

    I referred it out to an electrician but would like to see what you guys would have done?

    Also do you recommend the buy have an electrician take out old fused sub panels or upgrade when the main pan. is fuse?

    Thank you for your time.

    Have a great day!
    mk

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  2. #2
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    If an electric issue, plumbing issue, roofing issue etc of any kind is found you must defer/refer it to an electrician or plumber or roofer.

    To not refer it then you must be guessing that they know how to fix it or you are telling them what is wrong and how to fix it. I for one do not want someone calling me up because their husband is dead because he took my advise and fried himself or fell off the roof or vented sewer gas into the home.

    Pretty short and simple. You find an issue then defer it to the proper trade for further eval and repair. A lot of folks will tell you not to add the eval but why not. You found something you believe to be wrong in a certain way but when it gets pulled apart it may have some other route cause.

    Defer for further eval and repair

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 03-19-2010 at 06:56 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    ...fell off the room...
    I hate it when that happens.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
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  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    I hate it when that happens.

    What????????????????

    You never fell off a room??????


  5. #5
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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    IMO, whenever possible a recommendation should reference the appropriate individual/organization to perform the further investigation correction, repair or replacement.

    For most any electrical issue beyond changing a light bulb, that's going to be an electrician.

    I used to use "qualified person" for something like installing a missing cover on an otherwise correctly wire junction box, but I don't even do that anymore as I can easily imagine Harry Handyman deciding that "maybe this wire nut needs tightening too" - so these days it's an electrician, and nothing but.

    Sure, I have to bite my tongue and not tell the client that they can get that GFCI receptacle outlet for $11 at the pumpkin patch, turn off the power the breaker, and replace it themselves instead of paying in electrician $75 to do it.

    But I do not want to find myself in the position of getting a registered letter from (to paraphrase Jerry P.) "the surviving spouse's attorney ".

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  6. #6
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    Smile Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    I recommend an electrician for any repairs dealing with main service equipment. I do not recommend electricians for basic repairs such as damaged switches, receptacles, light fixtures etc. It's up to the buyer/seller to determine if these types of repairs are beyond their ability. It's up to the inspector to find and identify the problem not to always determine how and who it will be fixed by.

    When I find ungrounded 3-prong receptacles in an old home that has early NM cable with only two wires and not a ground wire I do not recommend that they be replaced with 2-prong receptacles or that they be rewired so that they are grounded. I state that the homes 3-prong receptacles are ungrounded and that this is common in older homes with wiring that has only two wires and not a third ground wire. I state that installing GFCI receptacles is one alternative to grounding. I know that some people will disagree with this, and that's alright. I just don't believe in the replace with 2-prong thing makes sense. Or that recommending they rewire the majority of the home is practical advice.

    Just to be clear I alway call out for repairs when I find ungrounded receptalces in homes with modern grounded wiring.


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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    Quote Originally Posted by Trent Tarter View Post
    When I find ungrounded 3-prong receptacles in an old home that has early NM cable with only two wires and not a ground wire I do not recommend that they be replaced with 2-prong receptacles or that they be rewired so that they are grounded.
    1) Ask yourself: what is the reason (for example) single-insulated hand tools are supplied with a grounding plug?

    2) IMO, it's important to point out the manufacturers' of may types of common consumer electronic equipment require that they be connected to a grounded receptacle.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 03-20-2010 at 06:55 PM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  8. #8
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    First thing is to do your best to determine if the 3 wire grounding type receptacles have been installed improperly. Make sure there is not protection by a down stream gfci or a gfci circuit breaker in the panel for those grounding type receptacles on the branch circuit that doesn't show a visible equipment ground like a bare wire.. You do not need the grounding conductor for a gfci protected circuit you just won't have protection from shock but you will have from electrocution. By this I mean you could have an energized metal box but if no equipment ground the circuit breaker cannot trip. No current flow because no equipment ground. If you touch the metal box or an energized metal trim faceplate you likely will receive a brief shock as current can now flow to you. The gfci senses the current flow in the hot conductor (ungrounded) but no current flow in the grounded wire and trips.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    Repair or replace by a licensed XXX contractor. Every issue. Cracked switch plate cover. Licensed electrical contractor. Missing screw on switch plate cover. Licensed electrical contractor.

    If they choose to use some lesser type of contractor and something goes awry, they are not going to come after me. They make the decision who to pay to do the work.

    "The Code is not a peak to reach but a foundation to build from."

  10. #10
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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Krueger View Post
    When do you refer an electrician?
    Do you refer a qualified electrician to either replace the three wire receptacles with two wire ones or add grounding to the three wire receptacle? Say this is the only electrical issue. Do you refer this or just recommend the buyer get this taken care of?

    I referred it out to an electrician but would like to see what you guys would have done?

    Also do you recommend the buy have an electrician take out old fused sub panels or upgrade when the main pan. is fuse?

    Thank you for your time.

    Have a great day!
    mk
    refer [rɪˈfɜː]
    6. (tr) to hand over for consideration, reconsideration, or decision to refer a complaint to another department.
    (as in a referral like we all hope to get from past clients)

    de∑fer 2 play_w2("D0091600") (d-fŻr) v. de∑ferred, de∑fer∑ring, de∑fers
    v.intr. To submit to the opinion, wishes, or decision of another through respect or in recognition of his or her authority, knowledge, or judgment. See Synonyms at yield.

    v.tr. To commit or entrust to another.




    I think there may be a little confusion with terms here. I never "refer" an electrician, plumber, or anyone else on a house I am inspecting because I don't want the client calling me when uncle Bob who I referred did a lousy job on the repair or to have any thought that I might have something to profit by finding the problem.
    Now I might "defer" to a qualified engineer, electrician, or whoever to see if there is a problem with something that I can't figure out.
    Some of the inspection schools and people skilled in laying off liability will tell you to defer, defer, defer whenever possible, but I do not agree with that philosophy.
    If an inspector doesn't know enough to tell a client that they have a problem that needs to be fixed by a competent professional then I think the inspector is cheating their client.
    The client pays good money to get a professional opinion of the problems, not to be told to call this specialist or that specialist to determine IF there is a problem.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  11. #11
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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    refer [rɪˈfɜː]
    6. (tr) to hand over for consideration, reconsideration, or decision to refer a complaint to another department.
    (as in a referral like we all hope to get from past clients)

    de∑fer 2 play_w2("D0091600") (d-fŻr) v. de∑ferred, de∑fer∑ring, de∑fers
    v.intr. To submit to the opinion, wishes, or decision of another through respect or in recognition of his or her authority, knowledge, or judgment. See Synonyms at yield.

    v.tr. To commit or entrust to another.

    I think there may be a little confusion with terms here.
    I agree there may be a little confusion with the terms here ... but not as you are inferring.

    The client pays good money to get a professional opinion of the problems, not to be told to call this specialist or that specialist to determine IF there is a problem.
    Correct. AND THEN the home inspector "refers" the repairs/corrections off to a licensed and competent contractor.

    As soon as the home inspector "defers" to the contractor the home inspector as put the decision of what is what off to the contractor, who may well state "There is nothing wrong with (blank).", leaving your client in a tough spot.

    However, "referring" the repair/correction off to a licensed and competent contractor is what all home inspectors SHOULD do.

    Ted, as far as I could find, is the only one who used "defer", and he used it correctly, albeit in a way which is contrary to what should be done (he said 'to defer', you and I are saying 'not to defer' - the home inspector makes their call, and if there is something which seems 'not right' but the home inspector does not know what is 'not right', then the appropriate contractor comes in to 'make all necessary repairs', or, in the case of an engineer - to 'design appropriate repairs').

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I agree there may be a little confusion with the terms here ... but not as you are inferring.



    Correct. AND THEN the home inspector "refers" the repairs/corrections off to a licensed and competent contractor.

    As soon as the home inspector "defers" to the contractor the home inspector as put the decision of what is what off to the contractor, who may well state "There is nothing wrong with (blank).", leaving your client in a tough spot.

    However, "referring" the repair/correction off to a licensed and competent contractor is what all home inspectors SHOULD do.

    Ted, as far as I could find, is the only one who used "defer", and he used it correctly, albeit in a way which is contrary to what should be done (he said 'to defer', you and I are saying 'not to defer' - the home inspector makes their call, and if there is something which seems 'not right' but the home inspector does not know what is 'not right', then the appropriate contractor comes in to 'make all necessary repairs', or, in the case of an engineer - to 'design appropriate repairs').
    I used it in the way as there are many items that we only see part of. Those situations need a little deeper digging or when they open something up or take more foundation measurements or or or or. There is almost always something just a little more or a little different in some way. That does not mean one does not know what they are talking about. In most cases there is a little more work to do to find the full scope of work than what is on the surface.


    Do you know the full scope of waht a short may have done....Or how much a foundation has moved even though you know it moved....Or how much work may be involved to correct a leak around a window....Or how much rot is in a wall......Or exactly what the depth there is to a water leak and to what extent it caused damage....etc etc etc

    Like I said in the grander scope of things there is always more behind the surface of an issue. Further/deeper eval is needed in most cases. Or you can state it that eval is needed by the appropriate tradesmen for pricing. How about that roof flashing. To what extent is repair needed beyond what you see on the surface.

    I do not refer any tradesman directly. I do like referrals coming in my direction. If I were in the referral business I guess I would be referring folks. In our state it is tough to refer anyone directly without some form of statement coming back that we are getting no financial gain. I don't want the liability of referring anyone.

    In my opinion...For any home inspector to think that everything they write up is the full extent of repair needed is going to wind up footing the bill for a lot of items. Way to much going on in many cases to think you have the answer to it all.

    "However, "referring" the repair/correction"
    They are going to do their own eval to find out what the extent of repair is needed to give the folks a cost of repairs so they can get the job to make the proper corrections. To think anyone is going to walk over to the area of concern and check nothing out what so ever and just do exactly what you wrote is ludicrous. They will evaluate it first. Defer it to the party that gets referred to correct the situation at hand Some items are cut and dry. Others are not.


  13. #13
    dana1028's Avatar
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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Krueger View Post
    Also do you recommend the buy have an electrician take out old fused sub panels or upgrade when the main pan. is fuse?mk
    I'll stir the pot as no one has addressed this.

    NO! I'm a licensed electrical contractor and I don't recommend changing out fused services/panels with breakers just for the sake of change.

    If there are no other issues [e.g. lack of sufficient ampacity, damaged/deteriorated equipment] there is no reason to replace fuses for breakers.

    Fuses are safer, more reliable and react faster to fault conditions than do breakers; in overload situations breakers may never trip [depending upon mfr. and trip-time curve of overcurrent] - fuses will blow.

    Need more circuits and no fuses left in panel? Install a subpanel.

    It continues to amaze me that insurance companies will often require a homeowner to replace their fuses with circuit breaker type services [I get a lot of work that way] - yet leave the real culprit [old, damaged knob & tube wiring] in place...and somehow feel they have created a safer dwelling !!??

    'Fuses can be over-fused' - sure; then install S-type fuses....you can just as easily over size a circuit breaker [$3 for a breaker at Home Depot].


  14. #14
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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    Everything I call out gets the following statement.

    Hire a qualified contractor and have them fix it.

    There is no law that says they must follow your recommendation, but if you want to stay in business for a long time, you better say nothing less.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    Quote Originally Posted by John Dirks Jr View Post

    Everything I call out gets the following statement.

    Hire a qualified ( Competent ) contractor and have them fix it.

    There is no law that says they must follow your recommendation, but if you want to stay in business for a long time, you better say nothing less.
    .
    ...
    ..
    .


    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
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  16. #16
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    The last three houses I inspected had open ground issues. I recommended a qualified electrician- evaluate and repair as needed. The realtor was not happy with me because I recommended ďanother contractorĒ.

    I have two friends that are realtors in this area and they both said the inspectors they have used will call out an issue but they donít recommend an electrician especially for common things like open grounds in old houses. They just call it out and leave the decision up to the realtor- buyer/seller.

    If you see a few nail pops (not through the shingles) on an asphalt shingled roof you might call it out (put it in your report) but not recommend it be repaired by a roofer. If you see the foundation is settling and you have large cracks with movement you would recommend a foundation specialistÖ

    Maybe the issue is what is serious enough to be recommended to a specialist and what isnít.

    Iím new in this business so Iím trying to balance being fair/doing the best for my clients and making the realtors happy so I can feed my family. I will never over look an issue to keep my referrals from any realtor-Iím just struggling with the issue of recommending a specialist all the time. I will always call out the issues.

    Is there anything that states we as home inspectors have to recommend repair or replacement? If not it would make life easier. Iím afraid I canít compete if I keep recommending specialists.


  17. #17
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Krueger View Post
    The last three houses I inspected had open ground issues. I recommended a qualified electrician- evaluate and repair as needed. The realtor was not happy with me because I recommended ďanother contractorĒ.

    I have two friends that are realtors in this area and they both said the inspectors they have used will call out an issue but they donít recommend an electrician especially for common things like open grounds in old houses. They just call it out and leave the decision up to the realtor- buyer/seller.

    If you see a few nail pops (not through the shingles) on an asphalt shingled roof you might call it out (put it in your report) but not recommend it be repaired by a roofer. If you see the foundation is settling and you have large cracks with movement you would recommend a foundation specialistÖ

    Maybe the issue is what is serious enough to be recommended to a specialist and what isnít.

    Iím new in this business so Iím trying to balance being fair/doing the best for my clients and making the realtors happy so I can feed my family. I will never over look an issue to keep my referrals from any realtor-Iím just struggling with the issue of recommending a specialist all the time. I will always call out the issues.

    Is there anything that states we as home inspectors have to recommend repair or replacement? If not it would make life easier. Iím afraid I canít compete if I keep recommending specialists.
    Is there any liability in making the buyer aware of an issue and write it up but not recommending that it be fixed?


  18. #18
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    Default Re: When do you refer an electrician???

    Quote Originally Posted by dana1028 View Post
    I'll stir the pot as no one has addressed this.

    NO! I'm a licensed electrical contractor and I don't recommend changing out fused services/panels with breakers just for the sake of change.

    If there are no other issues [e.g. lack of sufficient ampacity, damaged/deteriorated equipment] there is no reason to replace fuses for breakers.

    Dana,

    Actually, there is a VERY GOOD REASON to call for replacing fuses with a new breaker panel.

    That reason is ... INSURANCE ...

    MANY - yes, MANY - INSURANCE companies will not insure a house with fuses.

    That makes it a very good reason to recommend replacing the an old fuse panel.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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