waited 30 years?

junkhound

Senior Member
Location
Renton, WA
Occupation
EE, power electronics specialty
Owner bought this over 1 mil $$ house last year. As far as owner knows, no one ever did any elec work since it was built in 1992.

No power to office outlets. Voltage present between black and ground, but white to ground open per ohmeter and no black to white voltage.

Opened CB panel, found burnt open white wire.
Screw on that white wire had never been tightened! Surprised it lasted 30 years.

Think possibly the original owner never loaded the 4 outlets supplied by that circuit, new owner put an office in the area with computers and monitors, etc. etc.. AND occasional space heater. If so, lasted about a year.
 

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junkhound

Senior Member
Location
Renton, WA
Occupation
EE, power electronics specialty
what jgben said, popped the cover, o double taps, must be good, etc..

owner says the bucks spent on the home inspector a waste, owner relates that the 'inspector' also missed that the septic tank pump was totally corroded and about to fail - which it did 9 months after home purchase.
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
what jgben said, popped the cover, o double taps, must be good, etc..

owner says the bucks spent on the home inspector a waste, owner relates that the 'inspector' also missed that the septic tank pump was totally corroded and about to fail - which it did 9 months after home purchase.
On things like a septic pump all the inspector is required to do is turn it on and see if it works at the time of inspection.

Lots of items on a home inspection only require the inspector to check that they work at the time of inspection.
 

HIGuy

Member
Location
Fort Wayne, IN
Occupation
Home Inspector
On things like a septic pump all the inspector is required to do is turn it on and see if it works at the time of inspection.

Lots of items on a home inspection only require the inspector to check that they work at the time of inspection.
Only if the septic system was included in the inspection. A “standard” home inspection does not even include an inspection of the components of the septic system.

All inspections, however, will include a visual evaluation of all accessible required components, including all electrical panels and conductors. A good Home Inspector would have found and reported burnt conductors in the panel. The increased potential for conductors becoming loose and overheating is why we report double lugging.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I've seen many failed neutral terminations similar to this one that were not touched for years. It is likely it got cinched down at initial install but never really tightened. that would let it work but it probably started heating up the connection a little bit from day one. In a home office might never been any significant load to ever get it good and hot, just light loading that only gradually heated it off and on over the years as it progressively got worse in condition.
 

tthh

Senior Member
Location
Denver
Occupation
Retired Engineer
I've seen many failed neutral terminations similar to this one that were not touched for years. It is likely it got cinched down at initial install but never really tightened. that would let it work but it probably started heating up the connection a little bit from day one. In a home office might never been any significant load to ever get it good and hot, just light loading that only gradually heated it off and on over the years as it progressively got worse in condition.
Moved into a brand new house in 1997. First thing I did was install another cirucit in the unfinished basement for a freezer. While doing the installation, wife is yelling downstairs that the lights in the kitchen are flicking. Long story short...all the neutral screws in the panel are barely tight and the hammering of the staple into the plywood that the panel was affixed to was causing the flickering. Of course, this passed county and home inspection :)
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Moved into a brand new house in 1997. First thing I did was install another cirucit in the unfinished basement for a freezer. While doing the installation, wife is yelling downstairs that the lights in the kitchen are flicking. Long story short...all the neutral screws in the panel are barely tight and the hammering of the staple into the plywood that the panel was affixed to was causing the flickering. Of course, this passed county and home inspection :)
I don't expect inspectors to check torque on the terminations.

Only proper way to do it is to loosen the termination and re torque it themselves IMO, or be there to watch me do it the first time and most don't have that kind of time on their schedules to do that for everyone.
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
I don't expect inspectors to check torque on the terminations.

Only proper way to do it is to loosen the termination and re torque it themselves IMO, or be there to watch me do it the first time and most don't have that kind of time on their schedules to do that for everyone.
 

growler

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,GA
I doubt if a home inspector is allowed or qualified to check torque on a termination.

If they touch it they would be responsible for it and I'm pretty sure they are not insured for electrical work.

What whould people expect next? A pressure test on plumbing pipes.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I doubt if a home inspector is allowed or qualified to check torque on a termination.

If they touch it they would be responsible for it and I'm pretty sure they are not insured for electrical work.

What whould people expect next? A pressure test on plumbing pipes.
Stress testing of some sort of framing members? If you have even partial collapse of your building I guess it failed the test :)
 

tthh

Senior Member
Location
Denver
Occupation
Retired Engineer
I don't expect inspectors to check torque on the terminations.

Only proper way to do it is to loosen the termination and re torque it themselves IMO, or be there to watch me do it the first time and most don't have that kind of time on their schedules to do that for everyone.
Agree....but, they should at least tug on a couple wires in the panel. That's a pretty common practice all around.
 

retirede

Senior Member
Location
Illinois
Agree....but, they should at least tug on a couple wires in the panel. That's a pretty common practice all around.

So if he tugs a neutral and it comes out, he causes a circuit that used to work go dead, maybe even gets shocked if the circuit has a load on it. Then what?

We’ve debated previously whether an HI should even be removing covers from live panels, do we think he should be grabbing wires?

Just playing devil’s advocate.
 

tthh

Senior Member
Location
Denver
Occupation
Retired Engineer
So if he tugs a neutral and it comes out, he causes a circuit that used to work go dead, maybe even gets shocked if the circuit has a load on it. Then what?

We’ve debated previously whether an HI should even be removing covers from live panels, do we think he should be grabbing wires?

Just playing devil’s advocate.
I would fully expect a home inspector to take the cover off the panel.

Interestingly, I sold that house a few years ago. The buyer's HI did take the cover off the panel -- found no issues. But, he also wrote he could not test the washing machine because the water was shut off to the washer!!! As, I had a single lever shutoff for the hot/cold turned off...you know, the small box with standpipe and supply lines. The HI said "I didn't know if I should turn it on or not". Kinda of unbeleivebale really.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
So if he tugs a neutral and it comes out, he causes a circuit that used to work go dead, maybe even gets shocked if the circuit has a load on it. Then what?

We’ve debated previously whether an HI should even be removing covers from live panels, do we think he should be grabbing wires?

Just playing devil’s advocate.
You play devil's advocate, I like it. I often wondered about the city/state inspectors looking at live things with no PPE and how long will it be before they decide they need to follow similar safety procedures as many other employers do? I suppose if they go into say a manufacturing facility that does practice these procedures they will be asked to wear appropriate gear or they will be asked to leave.
 

ggunn

PE (Electrical), NABCEP certified
Location
Austin, TX, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer - Photovoltaic Systems
So if he tugs a neutral and it comes out, he causes a circuit that used to work go dead, maybe even gets shocked if the circuit has a load on it. Then what?

We’ve debated previously whether an HI should even be removing covers from live panels, do we think he should be grabbing wires?

Just playing devil’s advocate.
Turn off the main breaker first, otherwise you will be seriously with the voltage on the 120V loads if you pull out the neutral service conductor.
 
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