Everyone has snake moments. You know, those times when something just jumps out at you and your heart sinks, your pulse rises, your knuckles turn white and your face goes ashen. If it is a big enough snake you might even experience the taste of adrenalin in your mouth and the smell of urine in your pants.
Home inspectors seem to be less prone to these moments than the general population and it may in fact be part of what it takes to be a home inspector.
Rats, spiders, ants, stinging insects, tight spaces, faulty wiring, sewage, flooded crawl spaces, Cujo, environmental hazards—and even snakes are some of the things that home inspectors have to deal with on a daily basis. Most normal people do everything in their power to stay away from these things.
But when you think about it, most people have to pay to get their adrenalin rushes—home inspectors get paid to have adrenalin rushes.
The other day I had an unexpected snake moment.
Aren’t they all unexpected?
Anyway, I had removed the cover from the electric panel when it struck like a coiled Diamond Back.
I should clarify that I have been working with residential electrical panels and wiring homes for more than 40 years, so there is not much that is likely to cause me to become unglued. But the nature of snakes is that they quietly just show up when you least expect them.
This particular snake was observed winding its way across the live bus bars of the electrical panel—giving me an ever so slight taste of adrenalin—yet allowing me to remain continent.
The part that really got me going was not so much that wires crossed the bus bars—I see that sometimes. But the fact that one of the wires was BARE COPPER, and only a ½ an inch away from the 4th of July, it gave me pause.
Anyone working inside this panel—especially anyone not smart enough to know what snakes might be hiding in there–could be in for a BIG surprise as the snake exploded in a flash of blinding light.
Hopefully they would live to see the light.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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