I Forgot - Twice

By
Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

We all forget things, it is part of being human. We get older, life gets more complicated, and so the memory banks occasionally lose stuff in the shuffle. As a home inspector there are many things that I need to check through out a house. I jog my memory by carrying a computer and entering information into each appropriate area, this serves to remind me of what needs to be checked. It's kind of like having crib notes, but not having to worry about getting detention.

Recently I did two inspections where I found the exact same defect in new electric panels. It made me wonder do electricians carry reminder sheets to make sure they did everything for each job. I'm going to have to ask the next time I run into an electrician.

Oops, forgot the strapThe first time was on brand new construction. The panel and the electrical in general were well done and I had found nothing seriously wrong through out the house. The last thing I usually inspect is the electric panel. When I opened the panel and initially looked inside, everything looked good.

One small detail I do look to see is present is the panel bonding screw or strap. The bonding screw/strap should be there and connected in a MAIN electric panel on the ground/neutral terminal. For those of you not electrically savvy, that is the place where the white and bare copper wires get connected. The purpose of the screw/strap is to bond the metal panel enclosure to ground. It is a means of protection in case the enclosure was to become energized.

In the new house the strap had been forgotten. I almost didn't see it myself because of the numerous wires in the way which I pried aside for the photo. This seemed like a plain and simple, but not excusable, over sight.

Where's the screw?The following day I find the same thing again except this panel is equipped with a screw. The bonding screw comes with the panel when purchased. The electrician must install it if it's required (there are instances where it should NOT be present).

Again the electrical was new (about 4 years) with no significant issues through out the home. This time however it was the screw that hadn't been installed.

Like so many electrical problems in service panels this is a very simple problem to fix. Also like many of these problems it presents a potential safety hazard until it's rectified.

I think a reminder sheet for electricians might be a good thing to prevent them from forgetting things - twice.

 

 

 

James Quarello
2010 SNEC-ASHI President
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

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Ambassador
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Craig Rutman
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor
Helping people in transition

And this is the reason I'm adamant about my buyers having a professional home inspection performed.

November 27, 2010 12:38 PM
Rainmaker
1,172,441
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspector
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

James,

Sometimes getting a gander inside some of the panels I see, full of wires, it can be mighty tough to locate that bonding bar but I try.

November 27, 2010 05:30 PM
Rainmaker
615,860
James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

Andrew, Both these panels should have been inspected by the building officials in each town. Those mistakes should have been caught.

Jay, Could be and definitely no Uncle Bob.

Nor, I try to never take anything for granted, experience has taught me it's a bad habit to fall into.

Michael, Yep, sounds like a plan.

Dagny, I always want the buyers agent on the inspection. Actually in my opinion they should be there so when issues come up I can communicate the information to the buyer and their agent.

Cindy, It does seem the mind intermittently loses its grasp of information as we get older.

Ed, I have re-inspected homes years later for a new buyer and find the same problems present and uncorrected. The attraction of powerful is powerful.

Dennis, ....Wait it's on the tip of my tongue :)

Pam, There rarely are "major" issues in panels, but yes many of ones that are found need to be addressed for safety considerations.

Mike, Aren't electrician licensed and therefore regulated?

James, (awesome name ;)) Thanks, I'm glad you found it informative.

Don, Great suggestion.

Jim, I find more than a few that are okay.

Craig, Glad to were able to stop by during your hectic holiday weekend. You've probably been busy washing sand out of your trunks.

Steve, For sure. Sometimes they are so packed with wires it makes it difficult to get a good look.

November 28, 2010 07:55 AM
Rainmaker
229,341
Reuben Saltzman
Minneapolis Home Inspections
Structure Tech Home Inspections

I think you're being too easy on the electricians, James.  Do you need a reminder sheet to check for this?  Probably not.  

November 28, 2010 02:41 PM
Rainmaker
615,860
James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

Reuben, I would have to disagree based on experience. Looks like at least these two electricians DO need a reminder sheet. :)

November 29, 2010 07:55 AM
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James Quarello

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