What I'm Seeing Now

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"What Do You Mean? There's Access! That's A Full Six Inches!"

When the kitchen pantry is turned into a "laundry room," and someone suggests you leave enough access for the electric panel box, I can just hear the "pro" doing the work say something like, "What do you mean?  There's access!  That's a full six inches!"

I guess, perhaps, someone forgot to define what ACCESS means!

Being familiar with these houses, from the outside of the house I knew exactly where I would find the electric panel box.  It had been moved from its original installation in a rear, corner bedroom, to the front corner of the house.  Right at the kitchen.  And I knew that was where the pantry was located.

I was all set for having to take apart a pantry a bit to get to the panel box.

And then we walked in and I glanced at the kitchen I saw the stackable washer/dryer sticking out of the pantry!

That's when I said, "Uh oh..."

Sure, I'm going to move the stackable to get into the panel box.

And then put it back when done.  Easy peasy.

Well, to be fair, there was just as much "access" on the other side of the stackable as on the panel box side.  The stackable was centered very nicely.

Still, there was not enough room for the picky, curmudgeon home inspector to even open the door!  I couldn't even get my head in there to look up from below to count the number of circuit breakers!

What would happen if there had been an electrical emergency and the breaker(s) had to be turned off?

My recommendation:  often it is obvious that no permit was pulled to do this or that.  In this case the electric company had to be called to move the service point of entrance on the house.  That would have required a permit.  But was it closed when the County saw what this "pro" was doing?  No way.  The County would have required proper access.  And may not have wanted it 5' from the range, and humidity created during cooking!  The house is the house.  We inspectors observe and report.  And sometimes blog...

 

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 25 commentsJay Markanich • February 14 2014 03:18AM

Comments

 Good morning, Jay. Good grief! Stop being so darn picky. One can squeeze an arm in there to reset a tripped breaker!

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 4 years ago

I read a disturbing issue you called yourself picky.  why Jay no-one would have ever guessed. 

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 4 years ago

I actually experimented with that Michael!  It was hard to get in there to feel all the breakers!

James - even more, a picky curmudgeon!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Oy vey.  I bet this happens often - people move things for convenience and don't realize the safety hazards they create.

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) over 4 years ago

They would have realized it had a serious problem happened WOW WT Girl of the Floor.

Life experience can be a cruel, but effective, teacher.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

That's just crazy Jay. If you can't even open the cover, even a homeowner would think this is a problem right?

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 4 years ago

Hello Jay,

Picky, picky, picky...and your clients are very lucky that you are!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 4 years ago

Which might demonstrate that they have no understanding of what the panel box can do Tom.

That one wasn't too hard to see and/or describe Lisa.  And thanks.  Everyone has their gifts this morning.  Same to you all!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Hi Jay,

And us home inspectors will be blamed for causing a concern for the buyer. Not to mention the buyer wanting access and codes for the access to the panel. Like I said we will get the blame for causing concerns.

Have a great day in Bristow.

Best, Clint McKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) over 4 years ago

That's why I say the house is the house Clint!  Nothing we do!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Now this is just very very poor planning. Who in their right mind would block the electrical panel?

Posted by Suzanne Otto, Your Montgomery County PA home stager (Six Twenty Designs) over 4 years ago

The "pro" who did this job Suzanne!  Sheesh...

Poor planning is the polite way to say it.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Are you sure it wasn't Uncle Fix It!

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 4 years ago

Not sure Raymond!  But he sure is a "pro," huh?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Amazing what strange things, that just shouldn't be,  you encounter when inspecting a home.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 4 years ago

Just your basic house in Manassas Park, Chris Ann!

;>)

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay~ It's just ridiculous to think that something like that is ok. Why would the homeowner let the "pro" talk them in to it? Guess they really wanted to have the stacking washer/dryer in that spot.

Posted by Donna Foerster, Metro Denver Real Estate Agent (HomeSmart Realty Group) over 4 years ago

You really have to wonder what people are thinking.  You must get a lot of these crazy  photos with all the inspections you do.  

Posted by Rob Arnold, Metro Orlando Full Service - Investor Friendly & F (Sand Dollar Realty Group, Inc.) over 4 years ago

Donna - now the house does not have a kitchen pantry and the former laundry room was used to enlarge the shower.  Similarly professionally!

I do Rob!  I have a bunch of photos like this.  I expect all home inspectors do.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

PLenty of room to work on those breakers. Not like you ever need replace them or anything!

Posted by Than Maynard, Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862 (Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma) over 4 years ago

Or turn them off, or see which corresponds to what (if they are labeled, that is) or anything else regarding the house's electrical needs Than. 

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

I know of a place where the panels are all located in the laundry just like that one. Its a lot of fun trying open the box and inspect it. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 4 years ago

It was fun talking about it here Jim.  No openo.  Perfect Spanish...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Hey, they left enough room to reach your hand in and reset the breakers when they kick off! I think it's time to relocate the stackables.

Posted by Jeff Pearl, Full Service Full Time Realtor (RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA) over 4 years ago

Even that would be hard Jeff.  The hinges are on the near side, so the door really doesn't open at much of an angle.  So a tripped breaker on the near buss would be hard to feel for, to see which was tripped, and then re-engaged.  I confess to not trying.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

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