Actually the contractor’s notch was below all the rest. As you can see the HVAC contractor decided the shortest distance between two points was a curved line. The joist has been completely compromised. At least the notch has provided a place for the homeowner to run an electrical wire.
You might be wondering why I think it was “homeowner wiring.” Well I can’t be 100% certain. Just an educated guess in that “real electricians” almost never use those handy dandy 2 nail plastic wire staples.
When I see this kind of staple or any other kind of staple than the type pictured below, it is almost always an “announcement” that I am going to find more instances of less than professional wiring in the home. The wiring might just as well be painted red.
As a side note, those staples are perplexing because they actually make a lot of sense when one thinks about it. With a metal wire type staple there is the potential of over-driving the staple and the metal actually working its way through the wire which would result in contact between the two conductors. With the plastic staples this could not happen. So why don’t electricians use them? Habit, they are not required to, and the fact they take more time to install are probably the main reasons.
This joist was most likely modified when changes to the heating system were made during a remodel 20 years earlier. In other words it has been this way for considerable amount of time. So clearly, even though this has not become a problem yet, I would still consider it prudent to make proper repairs. Structural supports like this can be very forgiving depending on how the floor above is used, and changes in use could affect this weakened area.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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