Seattle Home Inspector's Blog


"Little boxes, little boxes, little boxes made of ticky-tacky....."

     Any inspector will tell you that a large part of what we do is related to electrical concerns.  The electrical portion of my reports almost always takes up the most space, and wins the most spots on the Summary of Significant Issues.  I like the electrical portion of the inspection because when you find electrical defects you know that you might be saving someone's life.  I mean who cares whether the dishwasher has an air gap when there is no GFCI on the whirlbath, or there is a bare hot wire on the aluminum gutter.

     On a recent inspection I found a "junction box" that gives a whole new meaning to the term junction "Box"----it even had a wooden cover.  This wooden box was constructed to conceal the electrical connections for the wire coming out of the house and where it would run under ground to the detached garage.wooden junction box














     I find that homes that have one kind of electrical issue will have "multiples" of the same kind of issue.  This home was no exception.  In this next picture we can see where, this time, they just ignored the whole junction box issue---perhaps they ran out of wood.  Neither the open-air splices, nor the type of wiring run to the splices, nor the wires running through the board to the light is proper.  All of this will need to be re-done by the electrical contractor to make it safe.missing junction box














     The "White" wire nuts sticking out of the electrical tape are not actually white but have turned white and crystallized in the sun.  They look very much like the ones that would have typically been Red.

Charles Buell 

     PS, for those of you that are new to my blog (or for some other "unexplained" reason have never noticed)sunsmile all  pictures and smiley-face inserts (emoticons) have messages that show up when you point at them with your cursor.

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Comment balloon 9 commentsCharles Buell • April 20 2008 09:15AM


Really good post. It is continually amazing how these things are set up
Posted by Charlie Ragonesi, Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros ( over 12 years ago
Wow Charlie!  With the title, I thought you were going to be talking about Folk Music and Malvina Reynolds.  Instead its just more of those boring electrical problems.  Seriously, what are people thinking?
Posted by David Helm, Bellingham, Wa. Licensed Home Insp (Helm Home Inspections) over 12 years ago

Charlie, thanks for stopping by

David, glad to see you playing in the rain---have fun next week:)---I am off to an inspection this morning.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 12 years ago

HHHMMM, Pickie pickie pickie, sooooo someone might get a little jolt!!! Quite surprising.

Sean Allen

Posted by Sean Allen, International Financing Solutions (International Financing Solutions ) over 12 years ago
Charles, Picky, picky! At least the connections were in a junction box.  Who cares if the junction box and the wiring all goes up in smoke?  I thought that we were not supposed to open junction boxes -- LOL! As long as we are in the home inspection business, we will never run out of blog fodder will we?
Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 12 years ago
Hey, so the guy was a carpenter and not an electrician.  He figured that wood in non-conductive, so why not.  Wire nuts are pointed up so water won't sit in them.  What else do you want?
Posted by David Holden, DRH Home Inspection Akron, Ohio Summit (DRH Home Inspection Akron, Ohio Summit County Home Inspector) over 12 years ago
Hey I like the title of your blog!!! That looks horrible, I used to work a lot with electrical and stuff, No way that would fly!!
Posted by Andy Laughlin ( over 12 years ago
It is unfortunate that one of the most dangerous aspects of a house, the electrical system, often has some of the most defects.
Posted by Joseph Lang, Home Inspector, Southern California (Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection) over 12 years ago

Sean, I hate it when I get in nit-pick mode:)

Michael, don't you suppose in the early days of electicity that junction boxes probably were wooden?  I have found old wooden service panels lined with asbestos before.

David, the wire nuts are up so that water will follow the wire inside the sheathing----water cooled:)

Andy, hopefully you all have that song stuck in your head:)

Joseph, tooo true!

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 12 years ago