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Thread: Head Scratcher

  1. #1
    Greg Frazier's Avatar
    Greg Frazier Guest

    Default Head Scratcher

    I came across an interesting one a couple days ago. I was in a 50 yr old house trying to get the dishwasher to start. No luck. I told the client I'd come back to it later in the inspection. Later we were in the kitchen and she asked me a question about removing the can opener bolted to the underside of the cabinet. I showed her where the screws were and then unplugged the can opener so I could plug in my tester. The dishwasher started! So apparently the receptacle is now acting as a switch. I'm trying to visualize how this can happen. Any takers?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    4,112

    Default Re: Head Scratcher

    Could be a back stabbed outlet that made connection when the cord was wiggled when you unplugged it.
    In any case, it is wrong, get an electrician to fix it.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  3. #3
    Evan Grugett's Avatar
    Evan Grugett Guest

    Default Re: Head Scratcher

    This is definately a repair item for a licensed electrician.
    The longer you do this you will find that why they did it is not as important as the fact that it is improperly installed. If you hadn't been able to get the DW started you would have reported that it needed to be repaired/replaced and the repair tech may have discovered the receptacle/switch use.
    In my market area, most Home Inspectors do not unscrew or take apart devices or equipment (beyond using "normal operating controls"), if it breaks you own it, even if it is a wrong installation. You are a "guest" in the premises with no standing in NY State.

    Evan Grugett

    Evan Grugett Inspections
    “Educating the Real Estate Consumer”

    PO Box 188
    Eastchester, NY 10709
    914-723-5795
    egrugett@optonline.net




  4. #4
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
    Richard Rushing Guest

    Default Re: Head Scratcher

    Evan wrote: "if it breaks you own it, even if it is a wrong installation"

    That's simply not the case here. If it was installed wrong and it breaks-- you have a much bigger stick to beat'em with when they start the, "you broke it" crap-- just because you touched it.

    If it was in need of repair "before" you touched it, why wouldn't it be in need of repair "AFTER" you touched it for the same condition.

    I just don't get that...

    rr



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    4,112

    Default Re: Head Scratcher

    Greg, I would still bet on a loose connection at the outlet.
    As you know, it is broken, and needs a qualified someone to fix it.
    But you are right to question "WHY", knowledge never hurts and it this instance, it could be the difference in calling for an appliance repair person or an electrician.
    In this circumstance, I would have repeated the sequence of events to try and determine the cause (i.e. wiggled the outlet to see if the problem was there) but that is just me.
    I always took my toys apart as a kid just to see how they worked.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  6. #6
    Greg Frazier's Avatar
    Greg Frazier Guest

    Default Re: Head Scratcher

    Thank you, Fritz & Jim. I did repeat the sequence with the plug and with my tester. Same thing happened. One of the puzzling (and downright irritating) things about this board is how some folks on it automatically assume the poster doesn't know what he is doing as far as reporting. OF COURSE I referred this to an electrician. Thanks to all for the replies.


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