Seattle Home Inspector's Blog

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Electrocution hazard.

     Inspectors find all kinds of electrical issues during an inspection.  Some can cause fires while others lead to electrical shocks.   Few of these issues rival the shock hazard of uncovered utility company splices.  In the picture below the splices are the silver colored connectors with all the little indentations.  Normally these have shrink wrap, tape, or snap-on enclosures installed by the utility when they make the connections.   It is common for the neutral/ground connection to not be covered (the bare wire that also acts as the support wire from the street).  In the picture the lowest connection is the neutral/ground/support-wire connection.

     Imagine for a moment that you hire the neighbor kid (or your own kid) to go up on the roof to clean the gutters or retrieve the Frisbee; and, they were to touch one of these bare connections and the grounded metal electrical mast at the same time.  There is a very high probability of electrocution---not just shock!  Keep in mind that these connections are between the service-disconnect in your home and the transformer at the street and there is no way for the homeowner to disconnect the power to these connections.  If you can see these connections and they do not appear properly covered:  call the local Utility they are usually happy to make the necessary repairs.

 bare splices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Another issue in this picture is that the service-wire restraint has broken and is attached to the mast with rusting coat-hanger type wire.  Failure of the rusting wire would cause the service wire to drop and the bare connections could contact each other resulting in a serious "arcing" event---like fireworks on the 4th of July!

coat hanger connector

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Buell

www.buellinspections.com

 

 

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Seattle Home Inspector

 

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WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board

Comment balloon 2 commentsCharles Buell • January 11 2008 08:34AM
Electrocution hazard.
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