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  1. #1
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
    Jon Randolph Guest

    Default Sometimes it pays to look inside the disconnect

    Found this on an electric furnace this morning. This was the only equipment disconnect (other than the breaker in the service panel). Power was supplied by 60 amp breakers.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Georgetown, KY
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    536

    Default Re: Sometimes it pays to look inside the disconnect

    Are you referring to the burnt wires or the fact that there is no strain relief clamp or bushing on the wires coming into the back of the box???

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Tampa, Fl
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    155

    Default Re: Sometimes it pays to look inside the disconnect

    How many of you open every disconnect? I typically do if time allows and it is accessible. If it is an air handler disconnect in the hot attic...not as much.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
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    2,286

    Default Re: Sometimes it pays to look inside the disconnect

    We don't have electric furnaces. I do open/check disconnects on A/C and do occasionally find damage like Jon did.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
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    Default Re: Sometimes it pays to look inside the disconnect

    Ok I'll step forward. As anal as I can be I don't usually get into the exterior disconnect's wiring. I have no excuse, Robert is absolutely right. I think that I've been shamed into modifying my habit.

    Anyone else want to fess up? Don't leave me out here alone!

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  6. #6

    Default Re: Sometimes it pays to look inside the disconnect

    I'm with you Eric, & I'll be modifying my habit as well!

    Clarksville Home Inspection
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    TN License #307 | KY License #2402

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Georgetown, KY
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    536

    Default Re: Sometimes it pays to look inside the disconnect

    Shucks, you guys are screwing up my business model wanting me to open up all kinds of things and actually look at them.

    I thought all I had to do was pull up to the house, have the buyer sign the inspection agreement, collect a check and give them a report calling for further evaluation by qualified licensed experts in each area of the home.

    Crap, no more twenty inspections a day for me.

    Thanks!

    Where's that big sarcasm emoticon?

    Erby Crofutt, Georgetown, KY - Read my Blog here: Erby the Central Kentucky Home Inspector B4 U Close Home Inspections www.b4uclose.com www.kentuckyradon.com
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Re: Sometimes it pays to look inside the disconnect

    If it' safely accessible I open AC disconnects, mostly I'm looking for a missing ground to the condenser unit, however... "Air conditioner? I though you were looking for a pony!"

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Sometimes it pays to look inside the disconnect

    Quote Originally Posted by Erby Crofutt View Post
    ... or the fact that there is no strain relief clamp or bushing on the wires coming into the back of the box???
    That is probably the single most common defect I used to run across, including exterior disconnects at the condenser units.

    The electrician (being nice there) would remove a knock out of punch a hole in the back, then just stick the NM cable out of the wall and into the disconnect enclosure. After about 14-15 years of writing that up, the last 1-2 years I was inspecting, I started seeing them doing it correctly, or at least 'more correctly', i.e., still wrong, just not as wrong - they were at least trying to address the issue, with many actually doing it right.

    That's one thing in this business you need, the patience to continue to write something up even though 'everyone does it it that way', and to be able to continue to write those same things up year after year. Eventually ... e v e n t u a l l y ... you will begin to see changes taking place.

    Beat your head against the brick wall long enough and ...

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  10. #10
    Kevin Barre's Avatar
    Kevin Barre Guest

    Default Re: Sometimes it pays to look inside the disconnect

    Honestly guys, I can't see why you wouldn't look in all of them. It takes very little time, but more importantly, even though there's no fuse/breaker, you still need to verify that there are no issues. If nothing else, you'll occasionally find some bubba has done something like use #12 to feed heat strips or a 5 ton condensing unit.


  11. #11
    Rod Cicotte's Avatar
    Rod Cicotte Guest

    Default Re: Sometimes it pays to look inside the disconnect

    As an Electrician I see this as a prime example why people in your field should be looking into the power distribution equipment to the units you're are servicing/inspecting. The lack of a bushing in the above photo shows the load wire about to be frayed/sliced, routing the voltage through the ground wire energizing the entire external unit's frame and metal components, .


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
    Posts
    1,363

    Default Re: Sometimes it pays to look inside the disconnect

    Rod,

    If, as an electrician, you went through a home in significant detail, you'd likely spend some significant time. As home inspectors, we have a bunch of systems and components to look at, and in a reasonable time frame. And while getting into a disconnect take a couple of moments it does add up when you take these moments and apply them to other aspects of the inspection.

    I have found that over the years my inspections have grown longer. You continually build your level of education and as a result are evaluating more in the home. What gets old is the expectation from the agents and buyers that you should be going faster. As much as I like this work, that expectation is a real hassle to constantly have nagging at you. But as you mentioned, there are good reasons to take time for these moments.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  13. #13
    Rod Cicotte's Avatar
    Rod Cicotte Guest

    Default Re: Sometimes it pays to look inside the disconnect

    Thanks for the reply Eric. I understand where you're coming with the whole gambit of structural, mechanical, plumbing and electrical inspections done in the course of your business. As I just signed onto this site today, I've noticed that others that are not Inspectors may take a moment and do a visual of the easily accessible components in a house/dwelling. As an Industrial Electrician I try to promote safety at every opportunity. The photo in the thread looked a snake ready to bite, indiscrimenately, Inspectors, family members, pets, utility workers, etc. I hope to learn a lot from this site. Thank You, Rod.


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