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

It’s Atomic! It Might Nuke The Sale, But The House Is OK.


It’s Atomic!   It Might Nuke The Sale, But The House Is OK.



I just got back from a consult. I was called in for a second opinion for an issue to do with a garage floor. In this case I was working for the sellers. The buyers were asking for a price reduction because their inspector had identified the garage floor as being defective and in a substandard state.

I did not get to see that inspectors report, but the garage floor is cracked and heaved upward in much of its area. These are large cracks that radiate out from raised areas of the floor and only the central core area near the drain is unaffected.

It is still a functional garage in that you can drive cars in there and park them as well as store the usual collection of tools, bicycles and materials.

However as a garage floor that was sloped to a central drain, it is defective in that this function can no longer be used. This does devalue the property as that capability of the original construction has been lost.

The most likely possible causes of this upward cracking are differential settlement, frost displacement and pyrite uplifting.

The ‘atomic’ part of the title refers to the fact the force that causes the displacement occurs at a molecular and atom level. For this reason the forces are virtually unstoppable.

The sale may be  nuked ( i.e. not be completed) due to unresolved disagreements about the cost of corrections. However, the home has no ‘nuclear’ issues or radio activity, etc.

Homeowners (sellers) who wish to minimize such problems will appreciate the value of a pre-listing inspection which should identify all major issues and allow them to be dealt with prior to putting the home up for sale.




Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

He Got Away. I Didn’t Catch Him …But I Know Where He Lives !

He Got Away. I Didn’t Catch Him …But I Know Where He Lives !


Who do you think has moved in here, Some furry, nut-gathering denizen of the surrounding boreal forest?  No doubt you can picture some cute little anthropomorphized creature that could be friends of Thumper and company.

You may, even realistically, see an enterprising squirrel moving to that sweet (suite) little condo, but no, that’s not the miscreant here.

No this architectural folly detail is being squatted by a much bigger brute. This guy saw me coming and lit out for the hills. He knows I don’t care for him and his kind for all the damage they do to our homes and property.

He’s not going to like the new owners’ big golden Labrador either. He’s going to get a run for it, literally.

 He’s a raccoon.  And he’s a big guy.  You wouldn’t think he could squeeze through that small hole but he can. Of course he’s renovating to suit his needs. You can see where he’s started on the door and he has plans for extensive interior renovations as well. Cause he’ll raise a family.

Some kindly observer will say, “Oh live and let live, he’s not hurting anything.”

But is that true?

Well look closer.  Do you see the square wire mesh covering the other opening?

 That’s not there by chance and not put up there to be a meany and deny the birds a habitat that was built for them.  That’s because it wasn’t built for them.  Nope.

This architectural detail was made for another function. This building is a large post and beam structure with cathedral ceilings so there is no attic to speak of.  Just a small air space at the peak above the collar ties that has to be vented.

 So this little folly at the peak has a purpose. The architect made it decorative in keeping with the rustic style of the house. But it was not built to be a home for birds. It just looks like one.

 So if it’s not for the birds it’s definitely not for raccoons. Especially DIY guys like this one who will break into the collar ties space and be renting out rafter bays to all and sundry.

So unless you want racoons in your ceiling, “No Racoons Allowed.





Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post