Cutting corners – Panel opening.

hole cover

It’s a cover and yes… it’s a cover for electrical box, but it’s not a cover for this electrical box.

It looks like a frugal and creative solution.

It is the cover for common wall/ceiling connection boxes and it does prevent errant fingers or tools from being poked in where they should’nt be.
However, considering that the parts actually made to cover those openings are very inexpensive (A pack of ten is less than $2.)

Think about it…….Is it really a good idea to sink a few screws into a hot electrical panel?

And do you think this was done by a liscenced professional electrician?

Where else have corners been cut?


N.B. Notice the hand labeled numbering system imposed on the breakers.

Manufactureres label the odd numbers on one side and even on the other.

You can even see the numbers stamped in the face of the panel (on the right).

But they are upside down to us!.

Without even opening the panel cover I know I’m going to find “issues”, if not outright “errors”, and that’s exactly what I found.


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

Do You Live In A Bubble ?…………………………….PUCC; People UN CLEAR On The Concept

Do You Live In A Bubble ?…………………………….PUCC; People UN CLEAR On The Concept

Some people don’t think their decisions and home reno choices have any significant consequences. If so you might be living in a bubble.

Honey? Where should we put the electrical panel?  I don’t know dear, why don’t we put the walkin closet next to the stairs. It’s closer to the bed room.

But hon, that’ll leave the electrical panel in the bathroom.  Yes dear?

But hon it  probably should not . Dear I want it by the bedroom and there’s enough static in the clothes as it is.



So we get this;

Behind this pair of surface mounted doors we find this; a hanging curtain of bubble wrap.

I doubt very much whether this material is perm rated but even if we generously assume it to be the same as 6 mil polly, it still is not an effective vapour barrier.

Why not?

Its a curtain. It’s just hanging there so it can’t be taped and continuously sealed to the wall vapour barrier.

This is where people are unclear on the concept of controling vapour movement within the home.

So far this panel shows no humidity damage but that can change. The exhaust fan seen in the ceiling is there for the shower/tub humidity. If people stop using it or it becomes blocked them humid cconditions are going to up the hazard risk from the panel.

It should be obvious but it isn’t.  Can you see electricity. NO.  Can you see humidity. Ditto – NO.

So it may not be as clear to those not conversant with the concepts but your inspector will understand the importance.



Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post

Change your panel, Change your life.

Look at the last photo in this blog. You don’t have to know a thing about electricity to know that it’s perfect and state of the art, SAFE.

If you’ve been told you’ve got panel issuses you should read this article.

Change your panel, Change your life. Wenatchee and Chelan Home Inspection Services.

We rarely think about it. It serves us every day.  It is the largest safety device in your home but most do not appreciate what is does.

It is your electrical service panel. It is the heart of the home electrical system and is in essence the heart of our modern lifestyle.

If you went to your main service panel and shut off the main breaker what would your life be in your home? No lights, no heat, no cooking, no TV so on… and so on.

As a home inspector I had a curious thought. Why is it when I recommend a panel be replaced it becomes more of an issue than other components of the home?

As home inspectors we often cite that a roof need replacement or if an air conditioner or heat pump is old it is ready for replacement or your water heater needs replacement. Most people understand and are used to the thought that these types of components reach the end of a useful lifespan and should be replaced.

                                      Zinsco Panel with smoke damage Wenatchee home inspection

But the main service panel, now that is a different story. This seems to get homeowners and some realtors a little jumpy. They start to question my recommendation and ask more questions.

This brings me to my main point. Service panels and their associated components were built for the time they were installed.  As such they were not designed in many ways for our modern lifestyles and demands. Americans use more electrical power per person than do people of any other country in the world, but that does not mean that we have a better understanding of electricity.

Safety features and design requirements have been developed, improved and implemented in newer installations.

                                         overcrowding and poor bend radius Chelan Home Inspection

Through time many of these older panels become overcrowded and their initial design was poor at best. Time is not a friend of electrical systems and they should be replaced.

So here is a thought, roof replacement cost is about 6-7 k and up. An air conditioner/heat pump can be 2-3k and up. The cost to replace a service panel is usually in the $1200 to $1500 range.

I know this is not cheap but this is the one component that may save your life. A roof leak is bad but it most likely will not kill you. If your service panel catches fire or does not properly function it may have a devastating consequence.

Now I acknowledge that the events that have to happen to create a life threatening situation is a low probability but this is a safety device. It is like the airbag in your car, you sure hope to never need it but you will be glad it is there in the event of an accident.

                                   New installation Wenatchee Real Estate Inspection

The NFPA reported in 2009, an estimated 44,800 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments involved some type of electrical failure or malfunction as a factor contributing to ignition.  These fires resulted in 472 civilian deaths, 1,500 civilian injuries, and $1.6 billion in direct property damage.NFPA electrical fires report.

A study conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in the 1980s indicated that the frequency of fires in residential electrical systems was disproportionately high in homes more than 40 years old. The thought is that the aging of older electrical systems, combined with the fact that older homes were not built to the more rigid building codes of recent times, were deemed the most likely contributing factors.Residential Electrical Aging Research Project.

If you have a panel manufactured by Zinsco, Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) or even Bryant, these panels have a reputation for being problematic and a potential safety hazard and should be replaced sooner versus later but any electrical system 40 years or older needs a thorough evaluation.

As home inspectors we are hired to provide information. There is no pass or fail of a home. We all assume some risk but understanding that risk will help you make a better decision.


“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Red Adair

NCW Home Inspections, LLC  is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service                                               509-670-9572


Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post