wall note

I believe that says it all.  But you must ask, why. Well. a quick glimpse behind the dryer reveals all (photo below).

There you can see the plastic flexible duct that will crush if the dryer is pushed any further.

exhaust vent ductIt looks like the home owner has used pipe strapping to hold the flex duct up off the floors so it wont be folded over itself or squished side ways like a ‘slinky’ toy could be.

This ducting is little more than a ‘slinky’ type coil that has been skinned over with plastic, so it is notorious for folding over on itself, sometimes more than once.

Obstructed: When this happens it is no longer a functioning duct and your dryer is going to take a long time to dry the clothes, basically baking them dry.

The other thing these ducts excel at is collecting lint. Sometimes the barely pass any air for years worth of lint in there. All those ribs make it easy for dust and lint to catch onto.

Now factor in the warm moist air and you have all the ingredients for mold proliferation.

Lovely!  But that’s not the most serious problem.

What? You say, could be more important than the dryer not drying the clothes or creating conditions conducive to mold?

Thats easy: fire! 

duct fire

Dryers that can’t vent, overheat and can cause mechanical failures that will produce sparks. That metal drum spins at a high speed.

Then of course thee’s always electrical arcing to set it off. Loose plugs, electrical motor bushings and short faults.

And some dryers are heated with gas. You get the picture.

It should not come as a surprise the fire codes address this problem directly.

In short, they ban the plastic flexible duct use and require that the first 3 feet from the machine be rigid metal ducting. This will be the hottest zone and will tend to collect the greatest concentration of lint.

Home owners need to install the attachment ducts in such a way so as to make the final connection after the dryer is pushed into place.

Wise dryer installers will place removable caps and ‘T’s in appropriate positions to make it possible to open and vacuum lint out of the ducts.

This is something progressive builders will plan for too.


So don’t bake your clothes, grow mold or burn your house down for want of a little ducting. Look for part 2 on how to do the duct well.



Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post


Electrical Boxes Without Covers are a Routine Find for the Atlanta Home Inspector

Even though this article is written by an Atlanta area inspector this a very important and serious problem. These conditions are found everwhere including here in the Montreal area.

These are easily fixable situations, that once done, will eliminate significant fire risk. If you are wondering about the value of a home inspection, this is something to remember.

This is a re-blog so please click through and leave your comments with the writer.

Electrical junction boxes are required to have a cover. These junction boxes house joining electrical conductors.  While inspecting homes, we often find the covers missing from the boxes.  This is a big safety issue. The electrical box is designed to contain the heat and sparks long enough for a fuse to blow or a breaker to trip. If the wires become loose or overloaded, they produce heat and throw off sparks. In this picture, you can see the insulation is very close to the open splices. If sparks were to drop onto the insulation, it could ignite.  Not sure why this is often oversighted or neglected when installing the wiring, but nevertheless, it is a safety issue and must be reported.

open junction box

In this next picture you will see exposed wires actually nestled in the insulation. Talk about a fire hazard!

It is with these finds that we often wonder just exactly what people are thinking…


exposed wires in insulation



Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

Don’t Do As I Do, …Do As I Say!……………(You Don’t Want No Sparks, Baby!)

Don’t Do As I Do, Do As I Say!…………… Don’t open the electrical panels. That’s my job (or your electricians). We have the training, but there is always a degree of risk. So don’t open your panels! Period.

Around here the electrical utilities normally lock-out the larger voltage switching and bus bar panels. They do this for a reason. Higher voltages are dangerous. There is no serge protection and arcing potential is high. (That means sparks baby!, You’se don’t want no sparks.!)

The lock-out devises are simple one-use wire and plastic things with the utilities logo in them. If they’ve been opened you can’t fake it and put them back on. They (The utility company, the electrician, and the inspector) are going to know. So those panels are meant to be left alone.

But if the tags are opened or gone, or lying on the floor, I will (very carefully) take a peak, just to ensure nothing’s wrong. Usually all is fine, but imagine what I thought of this:

panel cover

Where that pencil is, that’s where the lock-out tag should be, hymmm.

So as you can imagine I had a look?

Well this is what I saw:

elect sw panel

I may have said “Oh f…..” out loud, but I took a picture and closed it back up.


Why? , Because this is what you should expect to see in a switch panel of this type;

Reg Sw Panerl

Yeah, cartridge fuses that have big thick solid metal contact bars which in conductivity are very nearly the same as the metal in those big black wires that you see there.

But in the other switch panel behind the pencil closer, those are thin pieces of metal corner beading used by the drywall carpenters to create perfect corners on joint taped gyproc walls.

They are not electrical components! They are scraps from construction that should not be in an electrical panel. You might as well have used a piece of a tin can!. That metal is thicker.

There is a piece of wire, a single strand, tucked inside it to make it thick enough to be held by the fuse contacts. this does not equal the load capacity of the supply and load wires (big black ones) entering and leaving the switch box.

What does that mean. It means when there is a demand load on this service these pieces of metal are going to get hot. Maybe really hot. Maybe they could start a fire hot.


So I said “Oh Frozen” NOT.

I said ” Oh, Further investigation required by a qualified master electrician! ”  and then took my photo and closed the cover.

In this case it is not an emergency because further on the load side the power is split into two smaller switch boxes and theses are both properly fused for protection.

However a qualified electrician is a specialist and has the final say on the safety of this system. This was the most surprising detail I discovered here, but not the only concern.


So when you need a full inspection or need to know if further specialized service of any type is required you need the benefit of a qualified and experienced inspector.

If you’re in the Montreal area and you need a full inspection…………..


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post