This is a brand new condo in one of the oldest neighborhoods in the area - Alexandria VA. My client is a single woman, in her 60s, from the Middle East. She works where I was born (George Washington University) and speaks English like a native.
One thing she was interested in was the electric panel box. She needed instruction. She did not understand how to turn things on and off and what each "button thing" meant.
I assured her it was all very easy to understand, and that I would demonstrate as we looked at the box.
She, the Realtor and myself all crowded around the electric panel box. I realized I spoke too soon! It is written in pencil (not recommended). I then spent almost an hour going back and forth between the box and various places in the condo.
LET ME TRANSLATE, WELL, AS MUCH AS I CAN.
Some are obvious, like #3 and #4.
#5 - gIf n. 1 - this turned out to be one of the two kitchen circuits. Kitchens come with at least two 20amp circuits. Each is controlled by a GFI receptacle for shock protection. I think this is an attempt at identifying one of those two GFI circuits.
#6 - 9 - these are clear, the disposal, range (gas), microwave, washer.
#10 - londry - this I figured out to be the bathroom. In the bathroom is a small indent in the wall housing a stack-able washer/dryer. It turns out everything in the bathroom that does NOT have to do with the washer/dryer, or "laundry." This includes the GFI receptacle.
#11 - bathroom - as there is only one bathroom, I never did figure out what this did. I even checked every branch circuit receptacle on the walls.
#12 - livin room - the living room receptacles.
#13 - ligth Reeseclic - I honestly have no idea. I can't translate the word, or find what it turned off. Is he trying to say "receptacle?" If so, it turned nothing off.
#16 - waTer heaTer - the water heater is gas, so I don't know what he is indicating here.
#17 - spey pire - again, I could not translate the words, or find what it services.
#18 - gIf N. 2 - this was the second kitchen circuit! It is GFI protected and that second one, in fact, turned off!
Now, imagine how educated my client felt after that exercise! DO YOU THINK SHE HAD ANY BETTER IDEA OF WHAT THE PANEL BOX DOES AND WHAT THOSE "BUTTON THINGS" CONTROL?
She understood the idea, but that is not much help. Obviously someone who understands how to label a panel box and can write and spell the real English words needs to completely redo this box!
As an aside, the supervisor stopped by and of course my client wanted to show him the mystery electric panel box. It turned out he did not have much more of a grasp of the language than did the "electrician."
Calmly, and in his language, I began to explain that someone needs to figure out and label this box in a way that people will understand. When they found out that I could communicate to him, they wanted me to broach the other things we found - relative to receptacle placement, plumbing traps, odd ceramic tile, a shower drain that sends all the water to a corner - well, you get it, a VARIETY of things!
IN THIS AREA, THIS IS WHERE WE ARE IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF THE CONGREGATION! THIS IS WHERE WE ARE.
My recommendation: just because someone is "licensed" in a trade, does not mean that he is competent or capable in that trade. Electricity is too important to leave to chance. The electric panel box is too important to leave to a lack of understanding. This box needs to be corrected, clear and labeled in pen. New construction should always be inspected by an independent, licensed and competent home inspector. Imagine inheriting that panel box!
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560