What I'm Seeing Now

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Basement "Apartment"

Anytime I see a basement "apartment" I know I am in for some fun.

Looking inside the panel box I knew they had done some wondrous new things to the house (6 double taps and one triple tap in an original, and very small, 125amp panel box), but I could not figure out where the wiring came from to service the basement "apartment."

It had two fluorescent light fixtures and three new receptacles.  Each receptacle was overloaded, necessarily.  They were all three-hole, but not one was grounded.  But where did the electrical service for all that come from?

Looking up inside a small hole in the ceiling beside the furnace, and using my telephoto camera lens to bring me a few feet closer, I found it!

Ahhh, the ubiquitous and ever useful extension cord!  We couldn't remodel without it!

The wiring was done for about $8!!

Once again the camera goes where my body can't!  It took a few tries to get a clear photo. 

And then, from there, the closer photo of how the first light fixture is plugged in!  The second light fixture is connected to it!  No photo was possible, but I could see the connection with the camera, albeit blurry.  Terrific work.  Grand mom is really safe.

And from the lights, a wonderful splitting of wiring happens inside the "ceiling" from where conduits extend down to service the receptacles glued on the wall!

1.  The extension cord is meant maybe to service one lamp.  You can see how small it it.
2.  The grouding prong for the lights must not be necessary.  So they are not grounded.
3.  If the lights are not grounded the receptacles, which come from the lights, cannot be grounded.

This was consistent with the light found in the kitchen ceiling.

A load-bearing wall had been removed between the kitchen and living/dining rooms!

People see the HGTV "open concept" on TV and think they can get it in their house too!

And that new space surely needs a new light!

And yes, this light is wired with one wire nut and three connections merely with electrical tape.  It's gorgeous.

Oh, the sagging there now is another consequence of such wall removal.  But that is so common these days it is almost not worth commenting on!

My recommendation:  when there are "new" spaces, like apartments and "open concepts," have a careful, careful look!  Sometimes only a camera can get to where the human body cannot!  But be sure you get an informed, experienced home inspector who has a camera!  That's the best of Best Practices.  And let the games begin.

 

 

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 14 commentsJay Markanich • June 16 2014 03:18AM

Comments

That doesn't look safe at all.  And, yes, I've seen the impact of removing weight bearing walls. Not good and even worse if there are cabinets w/ granite added.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 4 years ago

It isn't!  In this house I just went from thing to thing, Debbie.

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

Good morning, Jay.... of all of the systems within a home, the wiring is the most "fumbled with" and the most dangerous....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 4 years ago

Barbara - so many house fires here happen because of homeowner wiring jobs.  It isn't something to be taken so lightly.

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

Good morning Jay,

Lost a deal on a home a year ago with more extension cords  and an inground pool (no permit and built under high power lines).

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

Yes sir I have an extension cord and I know how to use it....or not. 

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 4 years ago

Extension cords are more than just a convenient way to plug in a lamp...so many uses. So many. 

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

Did they extend the cords up to the power lines to get the power there for free, Raymond? I actually saw that in South America!

I remember a t-shirt in Manassas a couple of decades ago Cindy - "I have a knife and I know how to use it."  It had to do with a bobbit of some sort...

Too many Suzanne.  They haven't figured out how many yet...

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

So what's a load bearing wall?  I have clients that will walk into a house and offer that they can take out the wall just like they do on TV. Then the long explanation starts

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 4 years ago

Oh My!  This is a scary sight!  Luckily you found these problems and they can be remedied before the house goes up in flames

Posted by Alicia Utz, REALTOR & Military Relocation Professional in NOVA (EXIT Realty Associates) over 4 years ago

That's what I mean Ed, people see things and think it can be done anywhere and everywhere.

Alicia - there were many more things!  I'll be interested to see where this goes.

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

I've seen and heard of you in the double tap but never a triple.  New one on me

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

I laughed when I read "recepicles glued on the wall". That I haven't seem, but the rest....

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) over 4 years ago

It is very unusual James.  And here I had two just last week!

Robert - you can use Elmer's for just about anything!

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

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