What I'm Seeing Now

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"Spectacular Under - Cabinet Lighting!"

"Spectacular Under-Cabinet Lighting!" read the feature list.

And there it was, bright and beautiful.

Whenever I see something new like that, and touted, I look at it!  Who did the work?  Was it professionally done?

I could not find a power source.  The lights were magically lighting!  Actually, not finding a power source, I had a theory, verbalized it, and then went about searching.

Looking high in a corner cabinet there it was.

The power source!  Luuuke, feeeeel the force.

What was it?

That is an extension cord.  And it disappears into the wall behind the cabinet.

It is also not a grounded cord.  He actually cut the ground prong on the black transformer.

First,  extension cords are not intended for permanent, long-term electrical needs.

Second,  one should never disappear behind a surface.

Third,  and very importantly, an extension cord should NEVER be hard-wired into anything!

It turns out it was the homeowner who did this fine work.

He split the extension cord, stripped it and connected it right into the receptacle.

Thank goodness it is balanced on the left side with drywall screws holding the switch onto the wall.  Very zen.  Excellent feng shui.  Yes, that was a bit sarcastic.

How do I know it was the homeowner?  Because he called me the next day, while I was driving.  He is the fast-talking, loud, interrupting, knows-everything type, who felt I was out of line dissing his fine job.  Each time I tried to speak he cut me off to berate me with another tirade about what a schmuck I am, and all home inspectors universally.  Alrighty then!  When I finally got a word in I simply said  it needs a professional to look at it and that I would be calling the Fire Marshall.

He suddenly got real humble and said I didn't need to do that, he would get it fixed.

My recommendation:   really, I never call the Fire Marshall.  This homeowner doesn't know that.  I was the parent who laid out consequences and let the child imagine how serious the punishment could be.   That fit well here.  But this kind of installation, while not a high-amperage draw on the circuit, is not good, amateur, potentially dangerous and should not be done.  A proper receptacle in the wall would be good, and something a PRO would probably do!  The lights are great, but the installation needs professional attention.

 

 

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 20 commentsJay Markanich • April 16 2015 02:31AM

Comments

Jay, you find some interesting installations and we get the benefit! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) over 4 years ago

Isn't it amazing how people attitude changes when they learn someone else knows more than they do?  A "I know it all" that really doesn't know it at all...  

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

Glad to help Wayne!  These kinds of things are fun.

James - Leonardo Da Vinci said that he always accepted the advice of an expert (that's a pretty humble attitude) and never argued with a know-it-all because they will bloody your nose.  So I didn't argue...

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

 Good morning Jay. It is amazing what we find during our inspections. For some reason, people just like to fool with electricity.

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

Some think they are creating value Michael.  To a degree, yes!

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

Good morning Jay,

It is amazing that one has to use a higher authority to get some people back to earth.

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

Good morning Jay. I am really scared just reading this. Incredible.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 4 years ago

Raymond - I expect the Fire Marshall wouldn't even take my phone call, but it's a fun ruse!

Sheila - the stuff people do!

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

Jay, another great example of a good idea gone bad due to poor execution.

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) over 4 years ago

Yicks ...who DOES that ?  With such consequences...spoofed or not...easily reality.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 4 years ago

I learned many years ago to always be suspicious of home owner repairs or modifications.

If the repair or modification is a matter of safety, inspection is critical.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 4 years ago

Tom - they are beautiful lights and provide a nice ambience and practicality.  But a mess.

S&D - consequences indeed!

Lenn - this is a case of both - safety and inspection!

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

Oh my, good for you for pulling the fire inspector card.  The guy thought he was Mr. Fix-It but he could have been Mr. Burn-It.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) over 4 years ago

Jay, A little re-purposing isn' all that bad... well yeah it is ;)

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 4 years ago

Jay Markanich YIKES! That was sure one shocking discovery. Another reason why HD & Lowes weekend warriors need to sell their tools. Great catch!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc.) over 4 years ago

I'm sure he did the backsplash too... I wonder if he watched a You Tube video before he done that!

Spectacular may be the wrong word... how about stupendous?

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 4 years ago

Jay, it's amazing how individuals with no knowledge of local codes implement solutions to electrical problems.  And then have the nerve to berate professionals who's job it is to find these issues.

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) over 4 years ago

It was a bluff that worked Kat.  I seldom bluff.  But he was on my nerves, and deserved it!

Don - recycling?  Double duty?  One man's trash, another's tresure?

S&N - not shocking yet, but could have been one day!  I see interesting installations all the time!  Why call an electrician when "I can do it" for $4.79?

It twern't the best Fred, especially up near the cabinet bottoms.  Very uneven.

Stephen - there are many of those out there!  I think HGTV has contributed a lot to the "I can do it" mentality.

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

Oh my, Jay. At least he didn't use bell wire. I do find a lot of amusing homeowner or jack-leg best friend wiring. Normally, we're on a service call trying to find out why something no longer works when we discover it. It does provide job security. 

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 4 years ago

Mike - personally I think speaker wire is a great choice.  Bell wire is so, well, small...  does size count?  But what's a wire among friends?

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

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