What I'm Seeing Now

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"Uncle Bob" Wires Another House!

My phrase for improperly-wired stuff is that Uncle Bob came over to help out.  And he always wires things the way he used to do it when he served during "the big one."  Uncle Bob my term for unprofessional work.

Such was the case on a recent inspection.  From the back yard I noticed three spot lights and three exterior lights over a deck.  From there these lights all looked fine.  A closer look was needed.

When I went under the deck I saw where the wiring came from.  Inside the house, and through a hole drilled into the deck's ledger beam.  I don't know where that wiring came from.

That junction should be inside a waterproof box. 

The white cable you see is not meant for exterior application.

The gray cables are meant for exterior applications, but not like what you see here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the wiring behind one of the lights over the deck. 

It is quite water vulnerable!

It is not protected inside the box in the wall.

It is right beside aluminum siding, which is conductive!

Looking toward the corner on the left of the picture you might be able to see another cable which goes up to service a spot light high on the corner of the house.  It is similarly wired. 

All of the exterior lights were similarly wired!

 

 

 

This is the wiring for the spot light on the front of the deck.  From the yard it looked great - one could not see the wiring.

This should also be inside a box!

This cable has been improperly stripped and the individual service wiring has been pigtailed in the open and run into the light fixture!

The ground wire is blowing in the breeze.

Uncle Bob strikes again!

Let's hope lightening doesn't strike!

 

 

My recommendation:  From a distance, things can really look good.  When you see such things, you would expect them to be properly done.  Hire a home inspector to have a closer look.  He will, and you can inspect what you expect!

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 17 commentsJay Markanich • June 21 2010 07:51AM

Comments

It is nice to see a black painted plywood behind a 200 amp panel and wires semetrically joining it with precision straightness, labeled and that gives you the feeling this electrician is a craftsman, like an artist in the way he does his "surgery". Nice contrast to the situation you ran in to.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 8 years ago

A good home stager would have specified wire nuts in more complementary colors.

Oh, wait...  Are you telling us we shouldn't be able to SEE the wire nuts?  Hmmmm...

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 8 years ago

Looks like something I would do if I were doing the wiring. That is the reason I don't mess with electricals, I don't know what I am doing. Best advise is to use a qualified electrician.

Posted by Scott Baker, Realtor Homes for Sale in Cincinnati, West Chester, Mason, OH Area (www.eHomeReports.com Coldwell Banker West Shell) over 8 years ago

Andrew, this was one of many things!

Mike - personally I would have gone with the burgundy and gold wire nuts, but you can't always get what you want.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

That is always EXCELLENT advice Scott!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Did Uncle Bob and Cousin Bubba get any points for using wire nuts and not electrical tape?

Posted by Bill Saunders, Realtor®, www.BillSellsHotSprings.com (Meyers Realty) over 8 years ago

Oh gee whiz Jay....there you go just trying to make homeowners safe.....at the expense of hiring a quallified contractor.....

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 8 years ago

While impressive, Bill, um, no.

S&D - I am sure that the sellers will say that this has been there a long time without any consequence.  That really doesn't matter!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

It is amazing and scary what people do!! Thanks for the post and have a great week.

Posted by Pat O'Reilly (RE/MAX..214-289-6176 Irving and all of Dallas Fort Worth) over 8 years ago

Thanks Pat.  And I think this stuff has been in place for many years!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

As always, an informative post.

Just saw you on Fox 5 tonight, which is kinda eerie because we rarely watch the news at this time of day.  Great appearance!

Posted by Susan Haughton, Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results. (Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545) over 8 years ago

Well what do you know Susan!  I have not had a chance to figure out how to post it yet!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Well, at least Uncle Bob tied it off.  Not sure my Uncle Bob would have.

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) over 8 years ago

Yeah, but no duct tape Jack.  Had to write it up.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay, Uncle Bob meant well, and he certainly saved them a lot of money over hiring a professional that would have insisted on wasting money on weatherproof boxes and grounding rods. Of course, the insurance adjuster may not have appreciated the savings when they came out after the fire and nothing was there.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 8 years ago

Bob's Your Uncle is supposed to be a good thing.

I might have to re-think this Uncle Bob thing.

Posted by Jim Mushinsky (Centsable Inspection) over 8 years ago

Ed - enough of Uncle Bob's wiring and they might not have been able to determine what caused the fire!

Jim - he does seem to get around.  I have had other inspectors comment that he is alive and well where they live, and that is pretty much everywhere!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

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