Home Inspection Beyond the Breaker Box and with Power On

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On 11/1/2013 8:47 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Don't know. usenet sure is strange. I did full quote the OP on my last post, so you can see the text there.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Assuming that this is a for-real post, what the inspector did is normal. That's what he is supposed to do so he can see inside the box to make sure it is code compliant. Whenever I have a new electric service panel installed, that's what the township building inspector does when he does the final inspection on the permit (along with other inspections regarding the grounding, grounding rods, jumpers across the water meter and hot water heater, etc). And, of course, his report is going to contain boilerplate safety language so the OP or anyone else doesn't later say that he said to repair certain items and neglected to say to turn the power off first and use qualified licensed electricians to do the work etc.
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On Friday, November 1, 2013 10:16:15 AM UTC-4, TomR wrote:

That's one thing all of these inspectors are good at, CYA. Can't say that I blame them. They have enough stuff in there to protect themselves. On the Peoples Court a few weeks ago a guy was suing his home inspector for $5K in damages because he also did the termite inspection. Soon as I heard the two sides in the case, I figured it was unlikely the home buyer was going to win, because it's so hard to prove, especially with termites, that it was obvious and the inspector should have found it.
But this case was a little different. The buyer had heard through his real estate agent that the house had a termite problem in one area. He specifically told the inspector about it and to look there. Inspector said there was no evidence of termites. Six months after buying, the termites were swarming all over. He called in a treatment company and the company said that mud tunnels were there and easy to spot, etc. Inspector claimed that they were hidden, termite guy must have removed trim mouldings, etc to see them, etc, etc.
So, the homeowner won this one. But... The home inspection contract says that if the inspector screws up, damages are limited to the lesser of the cost of repairs or the cost of the inspection. So, the guy won $400, which isn't much of a victory.
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On 11/1/2013 12:25 AM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Invasive? Knocking holes in sheetrock and ripping off roofing Mike Holmes style is invasive. This guy was doing his job.
Safe practices? Maybe for you. He probably does this on a frequent basis and it's really no big deal. I bet you would have really been up in arms if he had shut off power to the house and you had to reset all those blinking clocks.
Gall? Making judgments is his job. He's not going to do the work and he wouldn't be wise to suggest the buyer or home owner undertake the repair.
He found a problem, but he has basically gone as far as he can. Did you expect him to be expert in every system in the home? Good luck with that.
I think I wish he had inspected the house I bought. Maybe I wouldn't be out $20k in repairs for stuff that an inspector should have caught.
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I am in the process of selling my house. What do you all think of a home inspector who takes off the breaker box cover off (not just opens the door to expose the breakers; he had to remove four screws to get the cover off), exposes the wire connections, all the while keeping the main breaker shut and so the insides of the box remained electrically hot as he did a visual inspection and took photos? The breaker box has a prominent sticker in it that says to open the main breaker prior to removing the cover.
In his report, the inspector commented: "Any electrical repairs attempted by anyone other than a licensed electrician should be approached with caution. The power to the entire house should be turned off prior to beginning any repair efforts, no matter how trivial the repair may seem. ... Missing strain relief at panel. Have a licensed electrician make further evaluation and corrections as needed."
I am surprised first at how invasive this inspector was. Second at how he ignored safe practices by not securing the power. Third that he would have the gall to make judgments on the sufficiency of the internals. Fourth that he would go a step further and suggest he really does not know enough (so what's he doing in there in the first place?); get a licensed electrician to evaluate.

Sounds normal to me. The breaker box has to have stickers like that on it for lawsuit protection. I bought a house about 9 years ago and the inspector pulled the cover off. I worked as an electrician for a company before retiring. We opened many boxes that would make the house box look small. Also higher voltgage and current ratings.
He is not going to make any corrections. The statement about getting a license electrician is boiler plate from the computer. Meaning it should be corrected.
He could be checking to see if aluminum wiring is used in the house. That could be a deal breaker for some.
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On Friday, November 1, 2013 11:01:15 AM UTC-4, Ralph Mowery wrote:

This is the first person I've heard complaining that a home inspector was too invasive in his procedure. Every other one was "You can't believe all the stuff he missed, he never went up on the roof, etc... "
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On Fri, 1 Nov 2013 08:11:24 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

He's SELLING the house. Of course the BUYER'S inspector was too invasive. They always are (if you're the seller)! ;-)
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On 11/1/2013 9:01 AM, Ralph Mowery wrote:

When you worked on the high capacity equipment you needed personal protection equipment. Minimal protection would be required for a house panel and I don't worry about the many people here that remove panel covers. But I think there is at least one state (MN?) that doesn't want home inspectors in panels.

I agree it is boiler plate. In MN (and many areas) a homeowner can work on the electrical in their own house. If allowed where the inspection was made, the boiler plate interferes with that.

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When I first started there were not many rules. Just the plant safety glasses. Later there were several classes of protectioin required determined by the ammount of power in the circuit. Everything from just cotton or natural fiber cloths and safety glasses up to a heavy cal rated coat, hood and gloves. There were several steps in between the two extreams.
Even people in the area had to be so far back that did not have on the protection. From a few feet to something like a thousnd feet. Most higher powered circuit cabinets had stickers on them telling the level required.
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The inspector noted a missing strain relief. That was perfect. He then us ed standard boiler plate warning the homeowner about doing any repairs him/ herself. That was also exactly perfect, he was doing exactly what a good i nspector was doing, finding a deficiency and warning the homeowner about th e dangers of making repairs him/herself. I would give that inspector a 10 0% rating, especially compared to what I have seen and heard about many ins pectors since my wife is a Realtor and has dealings with many levels of ins pector competency.
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wrote in message
I am in the process of selling my house. What do you all think of a home inspector who takes off the breaker box cover off (not just opens the door to expose the breakers; he had to remove four screws to get the cover off), exposes the wire connections, all the while keeping the main breaker shut and so the insides of the box remained electrically hot as he did a visual inspection and took photos? The breaker box has a prominent sticker in it that says to open the main breaker prior to removing the cover.
In his report, the inspector commented: "Any electrical repairs attempted by anyone other than a licensed electrician should be approached with caution. The power to the entire house should be turned off prior to beginning any repair efforts, no matter how trivial the repair may seem. ... Missing strain relief at panel. Have a licensed electrician make further evaluation and corrections as needed."
I am surprised first at how invasive this inspector was. Second at how he ignored safe practices by not securing the power. Third that he would have the gall to make judgments on the sufficiency of the internals. Fourth that he would go a step further and suggest he really does not know enough (so what's he doing in there in the first place?); get a licensed electrician to evaluate.
He was trained by Obama!
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wrote:

Hell, no. The inspector seems half way competent.
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On Thu, 31 Oct 2013 21:25:28 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I'd think he's doing his job.

I'd say he was doing his job and covering his ass at the same time. I'd tell the buyer to pound salt, if they required that I use a incensed electrician, though. If they want a licensed electrician to inspect my work, fine. They pay.

Nonsense. Opening a live box is no big deal. I've worked in many live boxes. I'd rather not but it's not all that dangerous.
He's not a licensed electrician or fire inspector, so he's giving his opinion couched exactly as he should. He's actually leaving the door open for you to claim that it's fine as is. It's up to the buyers to decide whether to cancel the purchase because of this and up to you to decide how to fix it if they demand that it be fixed. It's called "negotiation". Personally, I've just fixed whatever the inspector finds, as I see fit. If the buyers don't want to let me do the work, they can find another house. It's mine until they sign the papers and hand me the check.
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