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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Virginia Beach, VA
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    123

    Default Very Curious about the mechanics of an electrical inspection

    Folks,

    When you are going through a home inspection, particularly the electrical system, what can you take apart or remove covers to see if there are any hidden physical problems?

    For example, can you remove the cover (blank) from a ceiling outlet box to see what's inside?

    Thanks in advance - Don

    2018 ASHI InspectionWorld

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Very Curious about the mechanics of an electrical inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Farrell View Post
    Folks,

    When you are going through a home inspection, particularly the electrical system, what can you take apart or remove covers to see if there are any hidden physical problems?

    For example, can you remove the cover (blank) from a ceiling outlet box to see what's inside?

    Thanks in advance - Don
    You can and should remove covers to most anything you feel you have a need to inspect.
    With some limitations: subject to your knowledge, skill and ability, and of course the HO not objecting.

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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
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    2,446

    Default Re: Very Curious about the mechanics of an electrical inspection

    What Rick said!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
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    1,363

    Default Re: Very Curious about the mechanics of an electrical inspection

    Not only will I tend to open things up but I'll also give a tug on wires at circuit breakers and neutral bus bars - having a poor connection is a big issue with me. Certainly I am not recommending this for those that don't have the background or stomach for it but it does yield some significant safety concerns. Above all - stay within your own comfort level.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    WESTMINSTER CO
    Posts
    1,090

    Default Re: Very Curious about the mechanics of an electrical inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Not only will I tend to open things up but I'll also give a tug on wires at circuit breakers and neutral bus bars - having a poor connection is a big issue with me. Certainly I am not recommending this for those that don't have the background or stomach for it but it does yield some significant safety concerns. Above all - stay within your own comfort level.
    if i find aluminum wires in main breaker panel-i will peek inside several outlets to see if there has been a copper alum transfer--dont want that to slip bycvf


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Anacortes, Washington
    Posts
    395

    Default Re: Very Curious about the mechanics of an electrical inspection

    Eric,

    You are a brave man to be tugging on stuff in an electrical panel. Things can go wrong in so many ways. I have never been zapped by anything more than 20 amps and never intend to!

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
    WWW.PacCrestInspections.com
    360-588-6956

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    43

    Lightbulb Re: Very Curious about the mechanics of an electrical inspection

    Reading about tugging on wires, then the 20 amp zap, leads me to believe that they are being checked "live". A cheap meter to check for power AFTER the MAIN is shut off should always be used. After all, who wants to mouth to mouth that 70 yr old man who had his hand on you when the current came through your finger. In addition anytime you remove a cover, say from a outlet, it exposes wires which have the potential to be life threatening. Liability is always a concern.

    Last edited by Richard Skalski; 11-23-2013 at 07:43 AM.
    Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,547

    Default Re: Very Curious about the mechanics of an electrical inspection

    In my area we are forbidden to do any work in a panel unless we are licensed electricians, so I keep hands and tools out of there.

    No, I do not open a simple junction box in a ceiling unless there is soot or suspicious wiring coming out of it. Even so, I would probably call for the amateur wiring to be removed by an electrician and move on, no need to examine beyond that in most cases.

    AL in the panel, an electrician needs to do a full examination of all the fixtures. Any extra inspection by me would be hit-or-miss, so again, mostly a waste of time unless there is evidence of scorching or soot.
    I will sometimes pull a receptacle when there is a question of using the wrong fixtures or connectors, remodeled rooms with AL wiring.

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
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    Default Re: Very Curious about the mechanics of an electrical inspection

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post

    ... I do not open a simple junction box in a ceiling unless there is soot or suspicious wiring coming out of it. ...
    I agree

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    AL in the panel, an electrician needs to do a full examination of all the fixtures. Any extra inspection by me would be hit-or-miss, so again, mostly a waste of time ...
    I agree

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    I will sometimes pull a receptacle when there is a question of using the wrong fixtures or connectors, remodeled rooms with AL wiring.
    When there is aluminum wiring, I don't see a need or benefit to pulling a cover, just call for an electrician.

    In my opinion, every outlet (receptacle, and light fixture) and switch needs to be examined.
    Simply pulling out the wires and pushing them back into the box can break the wires. This is something that should be done by the electrician. (S)he can make repairs as needed,at that time.

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

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