What I'm Seeing Now

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Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot - Charred Neutral Wiring

When I saw the hot tub crushing, I mean, resting on the rear deck I stuck my hand in and the water was feeling hot, hot, hot.

Looking at the horribly unprofessional, I mean, interesting wiring to the hot tub and entering the house I knew it was a homeowner job.

Going into the basement and seeing the not-at-all surprising, I mean, obviously homeowner-finished basement I knew things would get interesting. 

Opening the panel box and looking at the wiring I thought I heard Buster Poindexter in the background,

Me mind on fire -- Me soul on fire --
Feeling hot hot hot!

Party people -- All around me --
Feeling hot hot hot!

The wiring corresponding to the circuits labeled "Basement" were hot, hot, hot!  Those are the basement neutral lines in question inside the red circle.  There was similar charring on one neutral line on the neutral bus on the left side!

And the hot tub wiring was interesting too, beside the red dot.

So, the box has experienced, or is experiencing, heat where it should not.

Above the panel box the drywall had been removed to get all this new wiring into the box and it had been competently, I mean, recently repaired also.

I bet it's the same guy!

Not seeing a permit sticker anywhere, and the basement bathroom was not on the public record, so I expect no permit was ever pulled or closed to do the work.

The listing information and feature list inside the house did tout the finished basement, extra bathroom, and hot tub though!

My recommendation:  seeing new work anywhere in a house, or seeing a bathroom or something else that does not appear on the public record, is a sure sign of homeowner activity and demands questions.  It's best to ask the questions up front, because after the fact, once the homeowner is shown an inspection report identifying so many problems, sometimes things begin feeling hot, hot, hot!

 

 

 

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 • January 26 2015 02:23AM

Comments

Good morning Jay. This is so scary. I bet you see a lot that makes you hot, hot, hot. Have a good day.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 3 years ago

I see this so much Sheila that it's simply a matter of recommending that an electrician evaluate the entire house.  If the seller doesn't want that to happen the deal will fall through.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

If as you suspect the owner did that I wonder what else has been done by him/her.  I agree they need a licensed professional to take a look

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 3 years ago

If what I can see is a problem, imagine, James, what is going on with what we can't see.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Jay, you have me thinking if I was the buyer I would be walking away! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) over 3 years ago

I find permits are not pulled by all parties, homeowners and professionals alike. I always recommend, when the house is not newer, that a customer check into whether any permits exist for the house. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) over 3 years ago

Wayne - they have an electrician looking into things to evaluate it.

Jim - is good practice this.  I agree.  And last week I flew right over your house, and waved.  I couldn't tell if you wave back or not.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Amazing!  If I was the buyer I would be wondering what other DIY projects the owners had completed incorrectly.  Scary!

Posted by Alicia Utz, REALTOR & Military Relocation Professional in NOVA (EXIT Realty Associates) over 3 years ago

I do permit searches on all the properties I inspect. James is right, even "professional" contractors are guilty of not pulling permits. Now I got this song in my head for the day.... thanks a lot buddy 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbc_LxfhSoY 

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 3 years ago

We had that exact conversation Alicia!

Fred - of course they don't.  And shake it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Jay, seems to me they used the wrong guage wire. Probably wrong breakers as well. Good thing they hired a professional inspector. They dodged a bullet.

Posted by Mark Horan, "The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC & (Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC) over 3 years ago

Mark - having looked into probably 20K boxes, I don't get into sizes of wires and breakers even when it's obvious they are wrong.  Older wiring is slightly bigger than newer stuff and when the box is older wiring can get confusing.  I leave that to the electricians.  The basement breakers were generically labeled, so I don't know what they corresponded to.  Again, I leave that to the electricians.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Jay - Interesting post, and certainly items that need to come up during the negotiation process of any contract on this home. I would definitely have an electrician look into the wiring of this.

Posted by Troy Erickson, Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor (Diverse Solutions Realty www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com) over 3 years ago

That's the plan Troy!  Then they will have to see what the homeowner is willing to pay to fix it!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

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