Peek A Boo GFIs

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

There should be no such thing as peek a boo GFIs.

In modern houses kitchens have two, and sometimes three, circuits.  Each is protected by a GFI receptacle.

One thing I always do in a home inspection is check the GFI receptacles.

All of them.

In the kitchen I make sure that everything that is supposed to be GFI protected is in fact protected.

For example, if there is an island, it should be protected.

And the refrigerator should NOT be protected!

So I look around.

And that's an easy check!

I plug in my device which evaluates the circuit and push the "test" button!

When I see the lights go out and hear the receptacle snap, I turn it back on and move to the next.

In this kitchen I heard the snap, but could not find the receptacle.

I looked all over!  GFI receptacles are sometimes put in what I consider to be odd places. 

Behind this kitchen wall is the laundry room.  I thought, "Did they put the GFI in the laundry room?"

But after looking there, no, they did not.

Where is it?

Look at the photo above.  Can you see the edge of the receptacle cover behind the stuff in the cabinet?

Moving the stored things out of the way, I found the receptacle!

IT'S INSIDE THE CABINET!

I have to confess to never seeing that before!

It turns out that the builder in this house left a large portion of wall without cabinet coverage, favoring a very small desk instead.

The builder also left them a tiny pantry.

So these homeowners decided to add another cabinet to the kitchen where the desk was located.

This is fine, even a smart thing to do.  An additional kitchen cabinet is rarely a bad thing!  But while adding it they covered up the receptacle on the end.  Don't plug in the toaster!

You can see the work was probably done by the homeowner as the receptacle opening is roughly cut.

My recommendation:  when GFI receptacles are tested, they have to be turned back on.  Sometimes they are very difficult to find!  In one house I could not find it and it turned out to be buried behind drywall in the "finished" basement!  Fortunately here we were able to find it, albeit in a very odd place! 

 

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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

www.jaymarinspect.com


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  1. Ginger Harper 09/17/2012 06:54 PM
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Comments 68 New Comment

Rainer
182,964
Dörte Engel
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton
RE/MAX Leading Edge

Dear Jay,

Say what ....? I am not a fan of water mains hidden behind screw off doors inside a closet or decorative frames around electrical panels that do not let you get to the breakers. Functional items should be easily functional. Spend a couple bucks to save lots down the road, when needed in an emergency.

September 18, 2012 05:08 PM
Rainmaker
97,602
Rafi Footerman
Home Inspector, Mold Inspector, Radon and More!
Mid Jersey Inspections

There was one in NJ that was completely covered with a built in kitchen cabinet.  The poor inspector looked and looked, but it was impossible to find.  They had to have someone come in to cut a hole in the cabinet. Peek a boo is one thing, hide and go seek is another.

September 18, 2012 07:24 PM
Rainmaker
1,168,390
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Receptacles are in cabinets all the time, Dave, but this one had a cabinet built around it post facto!  And pretty well hidden.

Dorte - often I am unable to enter the panel box for furniture or the water main is behind something immovable!

Rafi - people do try to think in advance...  well, maybe not.

September 19, 2012 01:23 AM
Rainmaker
555,048
Chris Smith
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage

Jay, I know there is a glaring lack of knowledge about GFI's in our marketplace.  Many people have never tested there GFI outlets.

September 19, 2012 09:05 AM
Rainmaker
1,168,390
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Ideally they are tested monthly Chris!  Who does?  Nobody I know, including me!

September 19, 2012 04:49 PM
Rainmaker
1,168,390

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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