Electrical defects in homes certainly make up the largest portion of most inspection reports and usually represent the biggest portion of the Summary as well.
Considering that most people are scared to death of electricity, I find it a little curious that there are so many electrical defects in homes. Almost NO homes are free of electrical defects. This would mean that in spite of the purported “fear” of electricity the vast majority of home owners appear willing put their fears aside and mess with the beast.
Complying with the National Electrical Code takes years of training and experience and therefore identifying shortcomings in electrical installations is usually quite easy. They tend to stick out like feathers on a rabbit—you just know they don’t look quite right.
Take this can light installation in an attic at a recent inspection.
This is one of about 15 can lights and they were all wired this way. The purpose of the junction box at the light fixture is to have a place to conceal the electrical connections in a safe place. Why would anyone think it would be OK to NOT use the junction box at all and make up the connections “outside” the box? Now while I suppose this is a version of thinking “outside-the-box,” it would, in this case, be better to think “inside-the-box.”
But I must say that this installer’s basic knowledge of junction boxes themselves was a bit interesting as can be seen in this next photo.
With another roll of tape perhaps we would have a cover installed too.
It truly boggles the mind—and no amount of thinking outside the box is going to help explain it, as the “thinking part” was not to be found.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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