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  1. #1
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
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    Default What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    As a home inspector how would you deal with this (see pic below)? Three 20 watt lights above a stove wired through the cupboard into the wall to a regular switch.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    Materials not approved for this use/location, fire and shock hazard.

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

  3. #3
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    Post Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    Improper installation, unsafe; consult licensed electrician.

    Randall Aldering GHI BAOM MSM
    Housesmithe Inspection
    www.housesmithe.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Krueger View Post
    As a home inspector how would you deal with this (see pic below)? Three 20 watt lights above a stove wired through the cupboard into the wall to a regular switch.
    If they were working and looked like they were installed so that they would not be a problem:

    I would point them out to my client and tell them that they were installed by the homeowner in a DIY manner.

    I would then most likely tell them that they need to be careful with the wires in the cabinet and that ideally you would not want to have the wires going through the cabinet like they are.

    I would not call for an electrician to repair or correct it unless I saw other problems than what is shown in the picture.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5
    Elliot Franson's Avatar
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    The cable is subject to physical damage in this location and thus it is not in compliance with the letter or spirit of the NEC. Either relocate the cable or protect it from damage.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    Amateur workmanship, Exposed wiring, recommend an electrician provide protection, such as conduit, or reroute the cable.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    That is not an approved wiring method to be fished in a wall to a switch it should only be used exposed and pluged into an outlet that used an approved wiring method.


  8. #8
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    If they were working and looked like they were installed so that they would not be a problem:

    I would point them out to my client and tell them that they were installed by the homeowner in a DIY manner.

    I would then most likely tell them that they need to be careful with the wires in the cabinet and that ideally you would not want to have the wires going through the cabinet like they are.

    I would not call for an electrician to repair or correct it unless I saw other problems than what is shown in the picture.
    No other problems. Thank you


  9. #9
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    I realize this is not to code but wasn’t sure I should make a big deal out of it (calling in an electrician). I did point it out to the buyer who walked the inspection with me and explained how it should have been done.

    Thank you all!

    mk


  10. #10
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    It is a code violation.

    2008 NEC article 400.8 Uses Not Permitted.

    Unless specifically permitted in 400.7, flexible cords and cables shall not be used for the following:

    (1) As a substitute for the fixed wiring of a structure

    (2) Where run through holes in walls, structural ceilings, suspended ceilings, dropped ceilings, or floors

    (3) Where run through doorways, windows, or similar openings

    (4) Where attached to building surfaces

    Exception to (4): Flexible cord and cable shall be permitted to be attached to building surfaces in accordance with the provisions of 368.56(B)

    (5) Where concealed by walls, floors, or ceilings or located above suspended or dropped ceilings

    (6) Where installed in raceways, except as otherwise permitted in this Code

    (7) Where subject to physical damage


  11. #11
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    Looks like a two wire lamp cord. If it's wired directly to the switch it's wrong and I'd call it out (permanent light fixtures need to be grounded). I'd also mention the incorrect screws securing the kitchen cabinet. Drywall screws don't have adequate shear strength and shouldn't be used.

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  12. #12
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    Looks like a two wire lamp cord. If it's wired directly to the switch it's wrong and I'd call it out (permanent light fixtures need to be grounded). I'd also mention the incorrect screws securing the kitchen cabinet. Drywall screws don't have adequate shear strength and shouldn't be used.
    Never looked at the screws. Would you just tell your client about the screws or recommend repair??

    Thank you all for the advice.

    mk


  13. #13
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Krueger View Post
    Never looked at the screws. Would you just tell your client about the screws or recommend repair??

    Thank you all for the advice.

    mk
    Recommend repair. When cabinets fail, it can be ugly.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  14. #14
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    Recommend repair. When cabinets fail, it can be ugly.
    Good info I never thought of checking screws.

    Thank you
    Have a great weekend all!

    mk


  15. #15
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    One of the decisions I made a while back was to get really serous about liability control, and one of the things that means to me is reporting and recommending correction of every such condition.

    For example, if someone wired those lights with a switched neutral, and someone else gets fried while changing a bulb in an under-counter light while holding on to the faucet for support, I will have noted not only the obvious code violations (referenced to "current national standards") but there will be boiler-plate noting that such "non-standard electrical wiring is an indication that there many be additional significant defects in this wiring and any attached switches, fixtures and and similar system components, the discovery of which is beyond the scope of the inspection", and that that "all such non-standard installations should be identified and corrected by the electrician when they are correcting the defects identified in this report" as such defects "can create an increased likelihood of property damage by fire and/or injury or death by electrocution".

    This is likely not going to be of much help in the case of smaller claims (except to the extent that having pointed it out to the client verbally at the inspection. and again in the report, they may be less likely to feel I'm responsible if the circuit fails and the electrician they call in to correct the problem charges them to replace it) - either I'm going to cover a small cost cost out-of-pocket (if I feel this is wise) or my E&O going to cover a larger one rather than fight it out in court.

    But if I am hit with a big dollar claim for personal injury, death, or fire damage, and my E&O carrier choosers to fight, they will be in a much stronger position to do so.

    Last edited by Michael Thomas; 08-07-2010 at 08:44 AM.
    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  16. #16
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    Mike Kruger,

    Regarding the use of Flexible Cords, Cables and Fixture Wire, I suggest the following recent article from EC&M from the July 2010 issue by Mike Holt.

    It is directly on topic for your pictured and as described defective condition, and offers you multiple citations and discussion as to why the pictured and as described condition(s) is/are not allowed.

    The following clickable link should take you directly to the article:Flexible Cords, Cables and Fixture Wire and the NEC

    I hope you find it helpful.

    H.G.

    Highlighting the zip cord into wall, the fact that once installed to the building surfaces (walls) the cabinets become afixed as in become a fixed surface to the home, kitchen, etc., protection from damage not only at penetration - but the fact that the cabinet, shelf, or cubbie area by design is for storage of objects, and its use as an unapproved substitute for a permanent wiring method. It is further wrong if the area pictured has a door.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 08-09-2010 at 08:26 AM.

  17. #17
    Andy Jarchow's Avatar
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    Talking Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    Mike Kruger,

    Regarding the use of Flexible Cords, Cables and Fixture Wire, I suggest the following recent article from EC&M from the July 2010 issue by Mike Holt.

    It is directly on topic for your pictured and as described defective condition, and offers you multiple citations and discussion as to why the pictured and as described condition(s) is/are not allowed.

    The following clickable link should take you directly to the article:Flexible Cords, Cables and Fixture Wire and the NEC

    I hope you find it helpful.

    H.G.

    Highlighting the zip cord into wall, the fact that once installed to the building surfaces (walls) the cabinets become afixed as in become a fixed surface to the home, kitchen, etc., protection from damage not only at penetration - but the fact that the cabinet, shelf, or cubbie area by design is for storage of objects, and its use as an unapproved substitute for a permanent wiring method. It is further wrong if the area pictured has a door.
    Thank You H.G. I will check it out.

    mk


  18. #18
    Joe Driscoll's Avatar
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    one question comes to mind, is this low volage lighting? Noticed the wire is similar to wire used by manufacturers such as seagull lighting for undercounter lights, it is rated for surface and in cabinrt use, it is 10-2, although I wouldnt have routed it in this fashion. And as long as splice is in switch box, it does have a/an UL listing. Out of curiousity why would screws require shear strength ?


  19. #19
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    "one question comes to mind, is this low voltage lighting?"
    The Op said it was wired into a switch, so it's very unlikely to be low voltage.

    " And as long as splice is in switch box, it does have a/an UL listing."
    Low voltage wiring is not allowed in to be in the switch with line voltage.
    The UL listing applies if the wire is being used in the proper application.

    " Out of curiousity why would screws require shear strength ?"
    Drywall screws are hard and brittle and can break under the heavy load of cabinets.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  20. #20
    Joe Driscoll's Avatar
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    I have seen LV wires to a switch, both line and load to a remote transformer either in base cabinet and in basement or crawl space below kitchens. Brand new as well as older homes, so to me it would require further investigation. As far as the screws, I have seen cabinet manufacturers ship the cabinets with what appears to be drywall screws, but have been assured by manufacturers that they were in fact multi-purpose screws rated for such uses.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    Joe
    I was mearly trying to answer you questions.

    "I have seen cabinet manufacturers ship the cabinets with what appears to be drywall screws, but have been assured by manufacturers that they were in fact multi-purpose screws rated for such uses."

    Well, maybe you have.
    Screws to hold up a cabinet should be pan head screws. Drywall screws and screws like the one shown are flush type (have a tapered head). A tapered head can split the wood and pull through. Pan heads have a lot more holding power.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Joe
    I was mearly trying to answer you questions.

    "I have seen cabinet manufacturers ship the cabinets with what appears to be drywall screws, but have been assured by manufacturers that they were in fact multi-purpose screws rated for such uses."

    Well, maybe you have.
    Screws to hold up a cabinet should be pan head screws. Drywall screws and screws like the one shown are flush type (have a tapered head). A tapered head can split the wood and pull through. Pan heads have a lot more holding power.

    See typical cabinet screw. They can be slightly different in finish, but most look like this and are at least 3" in. in length.

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: What problems would you call out if any (as a hi)?

    Sheetrock screws do not have the shear strength either. Sheetrock screws have a very low shear strength.


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