What I'm Seeing Now


With Electricity, Close Doesn't Count

Surely, when connections should always be strong and tight, with electricity, close doesn't count. 

I have always heard the cliche that close only counts playing horseshoes, throwing hand grenades, dancing and nuclear war. 


Notice the lone wire in the center of the photo.

That is a neutral connection.  It is not "hot" as far as some panel box connections go, but it is relevant.

Touching it I could make it move.  It was laying on the neutral bus, but not connected to anything.

It's hard to know what the neutral lines service when one looks into a panel box.

There are many of them, lined up, screwed under a lug in one or two or three long buses, but none is labeled.

When noticeably loose, I always wonder what circuit a neutral line is supposed to service.

In this house, interestingly, I got a very low voltage reading from one of the kitchen circuits.

Could it be this one?  Maybe!  The house was vacant, so we don't know if there are any other abnormalities.

This needs professional attention!  I will not go in there to "help."  There are too many stories out there from Good Samaritan home inspectors who attempt to "fix" something simple during a home inspection and end up causing big problems!  It's sad to say, but many times I have run into booby traps sellers have left for me, something that has been broken previously and left for me to "test."  Then, if it "breaks," they can claim I "broke" the thing during the home inspection and try to get me to pay for it.

My recommendation:  if it isn't right, it needs to be called out, brought to everyone's attention, and repaired, and  PARTICULARLY when a problem involves electricity.  Safety first, always, safety first. 




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 20 commentsJay Markanich • August 29 2013 05:01AM
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