What I'm Seeing Now


The Drywall Told The Tale, And The Tester Verified The Truth

In this case the drywall told the tale, and the tester verified the truth.

When I see new electrical installations, I wonder as to how professional they might be.

This kitchen had 8 new canister light fixtures.

Walking in I knew where to look.

Getting out my flashlight I set it next to the ceiling to sweep across to look for drywall spots that would indicate what I thought to be the case.

And I was not disappointed.  I could see two spots just about the size of a junction box.

Breaking out the voltage tester I asked the Realtor to put it on a certain spot.

We saw what I predicted we would see.  It lit up.

In fact, it lit up in the two places I said it would light up!  What's that mean?

The tester demonstrates that there are two junction boxes buried in the drywall of the ceiling.

There used to be two light fixtures in the kitchen ceiling.

Wanting to get modern and chic this seller removed them, using the connections there to furnish electricity for the new canister lights he wanted in the ceiling.

Once done, he covered each box with drywall and had a new, chic kitchen!

What should I have seen instead?

Each of the junction boxes, indeed any electrical connection inside a box, should have been covered with a round plate.  Those two plates would have demonstrated where the connections were, and allowed access.

The code requires visible access to every electrical connection, be it a box, a switch, a receptacle, or whatever.  If there is a problem with the wiring, or if work has to be done, access must be visible and provided so quick work is possible.

My recommendation:  electrical codes are there for a reason.  They provide a minimum standard, and sometimes even the best practice, for electrical work to provide a floor for practice and safety.  No access to electrical junction boxes behind drywall is very unsafe.  It is very unprofessional.  It shows that work has been wrongly done here, and can be a sign of findings to come.  And in this house there was other improper and unprofessional electrical work done all over!



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 9 commentsJay Markanich • June 07 2016 03:28AM


Jay, DIY electrical work is not an option, not for me anyway! It is a dangerous proposition at best. 

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 4 years ago

We re-did some lighting in the kitchen remodeling and are going to be adding more as we continue this house long project....and all of it will be done by John...our licensed electrician.

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

Good morning Jay. It is sometiimes difficult to detect shortcuts! Enjoy your day!

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

Jay Markanich It seems to me the remodeler could just as easily placed a junction box accessible in the attic with the wiring feeding each can light. Would this have been acceptable? I see this often when reviewing home inspections with home inspectors.

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

That's an interesting detection - I don't think I've ever seen it done! Thanks for sharing Jay Markanich 

Posted by Jennifer Mackay, Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582 (Counts Real Estate Group, Inc.) over 4 years ago

One should have a healthy respect for electricity... it can lite you up!

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

So that explains the blank cover plates I have been seeing in ceilings.  As always, learning from your posts!  Thanks

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

Andrea - DIY is not for anybody who doesn't know exactly what they are doing!  Part of the problem is the TV show that says you can finish a room in one hour.

S&D - there are two key words in that sentence - licensed and electrician.

Wayne - over time you learn to look for the clues that open the box!

S&N - the boxes are already there!  He took the time to try to hide them.  So unsightly, you know, to have a cover plate!


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

Jennifer - this isn't my first rodeo.  I had two of those this week!

Been there Fred.  I got lit up big.  (Bad box)

Stephen - the code is the code.  You were seeing the rules in action!

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

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