Seattle Home Inspector's Blog

head_left_image

Gotta love them bare parts!

     I have written about the safety hazards that can exist where the power company connects its wires to the house wiring at the electrical mast.  These connections should have proper coverings to protect persons from coming in contact with the hot connections.

    I had a really good example of this the other day.  I could see from the ground the potential problem, but I have experience with this hazard and knew where to put my ladder---my fiberglass ladder.  My concern is that someone with a metal ladder might not have the same knowledge or foresight.

      In this picture I have drawn an imaginary line of where the ladder would come in contact with the bare connector if it was moved over a foot. 

bare splice 

     A metal ladder could be deadly----not to mention that the gutter would also become energized along with everything that the gutter system came in contact with.  In a worse case scenario this might mean aluminum siding, aluminum windows and wire fences until it found something grounded enough to melt the connection----like the outside water faucets.

     I have heard that there are "things worse than death"---although it is difficult to do a double blind study of the idea.  Regardless, even a "little" tingle from this hazard might result in pitching off the ladder to the concrete sidewalk below---I hate breaking the personal furnishings.  Electrocution is no fun either.

     I guess it's a wrap-----of the connectors that is.

Charles Buell  

 

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

 MEMBERS OF ACTIVE RAIN CAN EASILY SUBSCRIBE

 TO MY BLOG BY CLICKING ON THE NUMBER PLATE!

sign me up

 

 

 

 

picture logo

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Seattle Home Inspector

 

The Human Rights Campaign   QR code for Charles Buell Inspections Inc  ASHI.org

 

WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board

Comment balloon 20 commentsCharles Buell • September 21 2008 09:23AM

Comments

The one thing that I have noticed about many home owners, too many, is that they have a certain bravado when it comes to taking risks with electricity.  They can be pretty careless with ladders too.

I'm sure that bravado puts a few of them in the ground each year.

 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 10 years ago

Lenn, it does seem that homeowners are willing to screw around with the electrical system more than any other system----maybe it is because they can get at it in so many places:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 10 years ago

Wow..... That is a bit "Shocking" to se exosed wires at that area. Surely that isn't very safe!

Sean Allen

Posted by Sean Allen, International Financing Solutions (International Financing Solutions ) about 10 years ago

Great post.   I've touched a few hot wires before and it hurts.  I used to think (as a "know it all" teen) that it was more effective to "know" the connection or repair worked than to turn off the breaker right away.  Hmmm.  Might explain a few things.  I suppose the lines going into the house are even more powerful than your 120v going into a light socket? 

Posted by Jason Romrell (Business Attorney and Success Advisor) about 10 years ago

There is also a weather boot missing at the base of the pole.

Posted by Randall Schrader (Competitive Insurance of Dundee) about 10 years ago

Sean, nope

Jason, yes, those wires are basically "un-fused" so they tend to melt or burn-up or kill anything in their path to ground:)

Randall, I will take the missing boot:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 10 years ago

Dear Mr Charles,

I was reading your post over the shoulder of my boss. He was, as is typical, going on about what a good job you do. I had to roll my squirrel eyes.  There are a few things that I would like to point out to you.

1. If you were to hire a certified home inspection assistant, and there are many available in your area, you would have had no risk. That assistant would have found those exposed wires prior to your even looking up

2. What is with the ladder? I have yet to find a home in the Northwest that I could not get on from a nearby tree or a utility pole.

3. When you get away from the ladder, that touches the earth and walk the wires one at a time, there is no worry about electrocution. Squirrels are not grounded. It is kind of a case of experience, I have walked over 10,000 electric, cable and phone lines.

Hope you will re-consider your hiring freeze on squirrel assistants. If you are interested, I would be willing to come down to visit you and have lunch. I have relatives who would like to break into your market.

Nutsy Wallenda

Certified Home Inspector Assistant

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Sorry, nutsy, I am fresh out of peanuts:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 10 years ago

Mr Charles,

This is my cousin. He lives in north Everett and is available to start work tomorrow. You might want to reconsider your el cheapo position. Nutsy

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) about 10 years ago

What bothers me is the power co. can reattach lines, like it appears they have here, without anyone looking at the homeowners wiring.

 

Posted by Mike Parks, Inspector (Residential Building Inspectors) about 10 years ago

Charles, this is a scary post and one that make me envious again because of the neat little lines for illustration.  I still haven't learned how to do it.  Perhaps Nutsy, who had such clever comments above, could give me simpler directions on how to do the lines. 

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) about 10 years ago

Steve, squirrels are "electified" from all their wire walking aren't they?  That is why they are "squirrelly"

Mike, you are so right---the PCO could care less (pretty much) what is going on beyond the weather-head.  Although in our area they do want to see the little green L&I sticker at the meter panel if it is a service upgrade.  But if they just feel like replacing the wire from the street they could care less about the inside of the house.  I guess they just figure that their changing the wire isn't going to change anything in the house:)

Barbara, pack a lunch like the instructions say and when you get stuck give me a call:)  (You know I am serious)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 10 years ago

Charlie - OMG....I cringe at the thought of a novice with a metal ladder. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Carol Culkin, Overland Park (Reece & Nichols) about 10 years ago

Charles, I do believe you'd help me.  I've just got to get motivated and back to that bookmarked post.

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) about 10 years ago

Carol, metal ladders----bad juju:)

Barbara,-----I am waiting:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 10 years ago

Charlie,

I was shocked (sorry couldn't help myself) to find this section of missing insulation on the main service wire to this home just the other day. I considered this an immediate safety hazard and informed the agent that it should be corrected ASAP! The picture is a little poor, but you can clearly see the missing insulation silhouetted against the sky.

The agent and the buyers asked who should fix the problem. My response is an electrician simply because, as you touched on, the power company is probably not going to do much.

Remember the linemen are not electricians and as such are limited in their knowledge and expertise. I would rather have a licensed electrician look at this than a power company employee.

I wonder if Steves nutty employee moonlights as a line worker.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 10 years ago

James, Nutsy could fix that in the "shake of squirrels tail." I think some of these bare connections are some of the scariest safety stuff we find---especially when there is a grounded metal mast nearby.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 10 years ago

I guess it's a wrap-----of the connectors that is.

Feeling just a little more corny than usual today I see.

Hey Steve, what are you paying Nutsey?  What ever it is I'll double it and throw in some walnuts and acorns.  On second thought, they Hibernate during the winter, naw I've had enough of those kinds of assistants.

Jack

Posted by Jack Gilleland (Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton) about 10 years ago

Jack, one of my significant "tragic flaws" is being too corny:)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 10 years ago

Holy crap-oly!

I was on a roof last year and I just touched the anchor to the house that was supporting the main service wire.  The whole thing came out of the wall and I was trying to hang on to about 70 feet of very heavy wire while trying to stand on the roof pitch.  I had to stand there and wait for the utility company to come and rescue me!....ah good times.

Posted by Jim Allhiser, Salem, Oregon Home Inspector (Perfection Inspection, Inc.) about 10 years ago

Participate