voltage tester was picking up voltage on a detached wire

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
I am at a loss why you would think an HI should not be using a non-contact tester. I am willing to bet it is in their training to do so.

I don't think the use of a non-contact voltage tester is part of their training. Trouble-shooting is not part of a home inspection.

A home inspection is limited to the critera of the inspection, list of items to be checked. I can't think of a single item that would require a non-contact tester.
 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
I don't think the use of a non-contact voltage tester is part of their training. Trouble-shooting is not part of a home inspection.
I am pretty sure they are supposed to verify outlets are live etc. Snake eys are not much help with old two wire receptacles, dryer outlets etc.

I do not see checking for voltage on an odd cable in a panel as troubleshooting. But that is just my own opinion, certainly not a fact.
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
I am pretty sure they are supposed to verify outlets are live etc. Snake eys are not much help with old two wire receptacles, dryer outlets etc.

You can not tell if a receptacle is working with a non-contact voltage tester. You can have every receptacle in a room showing that they are live and still none of them working because of an open neutral.

You can't do much better with a dryer outlet. You may get one phase and not the other and it still show live.
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
I do not see checking for voltage on an odd cable in a panel as troubleshooting. But that is just my own opinion, certainly not a fact.
If he's not trouble-shooting then what is he doing? He has found what he assumes could be an electrical problem and is atempting to solve said problem.

If you are really bored then go to the NACHI web site and read what is covered during an electrical inspection. More important read what's not covered.
 
If he's not trouble-shooting then what is he doing? He has found what he assumes could be an electrical problem and is atempting to solve said problem.

If you are really bored then go to the NACHI web site and read what is covered during an electrical inspection. More important read what's not covered.
This, from the NACHI site:

IV. The inspector is not required to:

  1. insert any tool, probe or device into the main panelboard, sub-panels, distribution panelboards, or electrical fixtures.

 

iwire

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Massachusetts
If he's not trouble-shooting then what is he doing? He has found what he assumes could be an electrical problem and is atempting to solve said problem.
Observing, not repairing or determining what the problem is.


If you are really bored then go to the NACHI web site and read what is covered during an electrical inspection. More important read what's not covered.
Maybe I should find my NACHI HI certification paper. (I am serious, I have one :D)
 

ActionDave

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Durango, CO, 10 h 20 min without traffic from wing
Occupation
wire pulling grunt
So you're just dead sure that someone somewhere along the line didn't hook the other end into a live circuit?
No I'm not dead sure, but I'm reasonably sure it's phantom voltage.

One thing I am dead sure about is, live or dead, advising someone hook up a light bulb to piece of fully sheathed romex sticking out of a panel at someone else's house is not a helpful suggestion.
 

user 100

Senior Member
Location
texas
No I'm not dead sure, but I'm reasonably sure it's phantom voltage.
:lol:.

One thing is certain- if there is no tripped breaker and with those conductors being almost cut flush like that, that nm is likely not connected to another ct, or at least the black is and the noodle/egc aren't or they are and the blk isn't. Needs to be separated and capped/taped off at least.
 
If he's not trouble-shooting then what is he doing? He has found what he assumes could be an electrical problem and is atempting to solve said problem.

If you are really bored then go to the NACHI web site and read what is covered during an electrical inspection. More important read what's not covered.
Home inspectors have a state SOP which supersedes the Nachi SOP. Our great Florida SOP says we need to inspect the panel interior. Our SOP is also the minimum we need to do, not the maximum. We are allowed to go beyond the SOP.

I use an outlet tester on all outlets, trip all gfcis, test for power at the dryer outlet. When I open the panel I look for double taps which I understand are a non-issue for many electricians but we are trained to ID them and call them out. I even prewarn the homeowner, "the electrician may tell you this is a silly call but it is part of our job."

As far as checking if there is voltage on a wire that is almost touching the panel enclosure, if it was energized and then made the panel energized and the homeowner touches it the first question that gets asked is "who looked into the panel last...the home inspector. Let's call him and find out why he didn't warn us about this wire."

We do some evaluation in our process to try to find out causes of issues. We are not required to but it makes good sense to go a step further if it will save you or the customer time, money and injury.
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
We do some evaluation in our process to try to find out causes of issues. We are not required to but it makes good sense to go a step further if it will save you or the customer time, money and injury.
But in some states this is literally considered practicing electricianship(?) without a license and would get you in trouble.
The takehome, as always, is to know your local laws.
 

Aleman

Senior Member
Location
Southern Ca, USA
I have a Fluke non contact tester. Spec is 90-1000v. Lately it has been tripping on low levels. To the point of making it useless. With a high impedance meter I can typically
read up to 30VAC noise on wires and cables but normally my wiggy wouldn't pick it up unless it was hot. But yes the OP is picking up noise and that's why non contact testers
are not good for much.
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
As far as checking if there is voltage on a wire that is almost touching the panel enclosure, if it was energized and then made the panel energized and the homeowner touches it the first question that gets asked is "who looked into the panel last...the home inspector. Let's call him and find out why he didn't warn us about this wire."

We do some evaluation in our process to try to find out causes of issues. We are not required to but it makes good sense to go a step further if it will save you or the customer time, money and injury.
What do you think would happen if that cable is energized and it does touch the panel ? If the panel is properly bonded you should find out what clear a fault means ( breaker trips ).

Those conductors do need to be capped because they are in an area with a live buss and could become energized. You have no idea where the other end of the cable is located and so it could be a hazard if it becomes energized.
 

Coppersmith

Senior Member
Location
Tampa, FL, USA
If the detached wire is laying next to an energized wire, the magnetic field from the energized wire is cutting across the detached wire and inducing a voltage on it just as if it were a very small transformer.

Also, I love home inspectors. They generate reports that go to insurance companies. Insurance companies tell homeowners they must fix issues to get insurance. Homeowners call me to fix. Profit!
 
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