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Photographic Art
Ninja
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Joined: 06/18/2014 09:56 PM EDT
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Location: San Diego, California
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Russ Hensel wrote:I think it should much more complex...well not complex, but more informative.

First of all who are we writing this to? To me when I write an electrical defect, I am writing it more to the buyer AND an electrical tradesman. I want the buyer to understand, but I want to present it in a way, the electrician will know that I know what the hell I am talking about.

I think "double tapping" is home inspector lingo. All electricians here refer to it as double lugging. So that was the first change that I made...

I want to explain it ONCE and then forget about it. Not get 5 calls to further explain the situation and location.

Here is what we typically put in the report and we show a photo of the defect and a technical drawing of a double tap to better illustrate it, if it doesn't work.

What we typically put into the report

Double lugging, sometimes known as "double tapping" is present within the panel on phase ( A or B Depends where I found it). A double lug is the connection of two wires (circuits) to one circuit breaker. This brand of breaker is only designed to facilitates one wire and installing two wires is against manufacture directives and is considered a safety/fire hazard.

The cure is rather easy for the properly trained professional. Have the proper tradesman evalaute this situation and determine the proper means to cure and cost will commensurate to findings.

I like using double lugging because that is the technical term as well as phase A and Phase B, because it is also technical and lets the electricain at least know where to look. Of course the verbiage isdifferent when numerous are seen.


OK. let me have....Good, Bad, Poor? I like educating besides stating defects, that many realtors will state "O thats no big deal, we see it all the time"....

Out here, there is a distinct difference between "double tapping" and "double lugging." Double tapping involves two hot wires going to one circuit breaker, whereas double lugging involves two neutral wires going to one screw on the neutral buss bar. Some buss bars are approved for double lugging, but I don't know of any circuit breakers that are approved for double tapping.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 06/20/2014 12:25 AM EDT


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Photographic Art
Ninja
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Joined: 06/18/2014 09:56 PM EDT
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Russ Hensel wrote:I think this is the way the profession should evolve into. Lets get away from just generalization jargon and try and be a little more complete and I think we should give more information to educate everyone.

Unfortunately, there are several states where home inspectors are not licensed, and very little about home inspections is mentioned in the business and professions code. I speak of California specifically. Because there can be significant civil and criminal penalties involved for people practicing a profession without the appropriate license, my business and real estate attorneys, as well as my E&O insurance provider, caution me against being too specific or trying to do too much education since, by law, I don't have the knowledge to be too specific or to educate.

I do write my legislators the first Saturday of each month about my concerns, as well as offering solutions, and I always mention home inspector licensing, but it's not a campaign fundraiser issue, so it's only going to come to pass when some legislator somewhere gets what he perceives is a bad home inspection.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 06/20/2014 12:30 AM EDT


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Photographic Art
Ninja
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Joined: 06/18/2014 09:56 PM EDT
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Nathan wrote:I'd like to be devils advocate here. I think the important part is that we all know how to identify the defect and report it, and from there it needs to be reported in such a way that it can be easily translated into an inspection response.

If every defect had two paragraphs, the report is too long and the ultimate goal of getting the stuff fixed for the client is made more difficult.

I think we need to take this education argument out of things. How about we aim for results.

Thoughts?

I don't think there's a right or wrong here by the way.

Back before I even started my home inspection company (October 2001), there was a lawsuit here that caught the attention of the attorneys I hired to help me set up my business, as well as CREIA, the state chapters of ASHI, and CAR. The lawsuit essentially said that home inspectors ought to:

1 - state the defect
2 - state what kind of defect it was (fire hazard, maintenance issue, plumbing problem, etc.)
3 - state "TYPICAL" causes of the defect
4 - state 'TYPICAL" resolutions to abate the "TYPICAL" defect
5 - provide a recommendation

I believe CREIA still recommends that system, and I still use it myself.

Because there can be so many causes and fixes that are not TYPICAL, sometimes my recommendation simply states to consult a licensed electrician/plumber/roofing contractor/etc. for options and costs.

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Photographic Art
Ninja
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RD Welch wrote:Here's what I use:
"....arcing or excessive heat may occur causing a fire hazard...."

Would it be more accurate to say that that they "create a latent fire hazard?" I'm uncomfortable with something causing a fire hazard, simply believing that they cause a fire or create a fire hazard, of which most of the time the fire hazards are latent fire hazards.

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Photographic Art
Ninja
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Russ Hensel wrote:I hate when I talk to the guy who did the work and says. Well there was only a picture of ONE, so I only fixed ONE....Happens to me all the time!

I had that same issue when I wanted to use photographs. Since I was the first home inspector in San Diego County to have a computer-generated report with color-coded text and pictures, I spent a lot of time working with my attorneys and E&O insurance provider to address what I saw as problems. Here's what my attorneys put in red text above my photographs, which, by the way, all are at the end of the report, not scattered throughout the report:

"Pictures are intended to show an example or illustration of an area of concern but may not show every occurrence and may not accurately depict its severity. Not all areas of concern will be pictured. Please read the complete inspection report before your inspection contingency period expires and do not rely on pictures alone."

Added as the last sentence of that paragraph for reports issued after January 1, 2014: "While connected to the Internet, you can click on pictures (including front page picture) to get a larger size, a function that will expire on _________________."

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Juan Jimenez
Seal Team 6
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I have two saved comments.

There was a double tapped breaker in the main panel. Double tapped breakers can cause overheating, arcing, or fires. I recommend having a qualified electrician repair as needed.

I have one under it that says There were multiple double tapped breakers.

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RD Welch
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Russ Hensel wrote:
RD Welch wrote:
Russ Hensel wrote:Reece, why do you put one or more? Why not put one, or two or three...I mean if there is 10, I understand. Why the vagueness. Not saying your wrong, just rrying to understand is all. I used to do that, but then said, why? I know how many there are and can identify them. Why not be specific? In case you miss one? Your too good for that.


Great point. Most of my comments don't say "one or more". This one does because it's so common and it keeps me from having to alter the text each time. This comment always is accompanied by a photo of each DT breaker and the location in the panel is noted on each photo.


Duh...I should have known! Great job, as usual Reece. I think the more specific we get the better it will be. I hate when I talk to the guy who did the work and says. Well there was only a picture of ONE, so I only fixed ONE....Happens to me all the time!


I agree. It takes more time, but that's what make us professional.
I am, however, still beating myself up about how much detail to put in the report.

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Nathan
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That's pretty funny right there

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John Villella
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Russell,

You lost me on your last post from page 1. After the double tap is corrected it's still considered improper? You got me rubbing my head trying to figure out where you're going with this one.

After I posted this I continued on reading the thread - lol.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 06/20/2014 07:58 PM EDT


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Photographic Art
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John Villella wrote:Russell,

You lost me on your last post from page 1. After the double tap is corrected it's still considered improper? You got me rubbing my head trying to figure out where you're going with this one.

After I posted this I continued on reading the thread - lol.


Double taps are always considered improper. After a double tap is corrected, it's no longer a double tap, but all other double taps, which by definition must mean they are not corrected, are always improper.

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Philo
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I use photos with one-sentence captions to communicate my defects. Only for a minority of my defects do I add one or two sentences in a "Comments" section. My reports are ~50pg w/ ~100 photos; but I'm still keeping individual defect explanations very brief.

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Russ Hensel
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Photographic Art wrote:
Russ Hensel wrote:I hate when I talk to the guy who did the work and says. Well there was only a picture of ONE, so I only fixed ONE....Happens to me all the time!


"Pictures are intended to show an example or illustration of an area of concern but may not show every occurrence and may not accurately depict its severity. Not all areas of concern will be pictured. Please read the complete inspection report before your inspection contingency period expires and do not rely on pictures alone."


As usual Russel puts together some good info and a different perspective. I will now steal this verbiage because I think it's excellent.

Russell Hensel
Comprehensive Building Consultants
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Russ Hensel
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RD Welch wrote:
Russ Hensel wrote:
RD Welch wrote:
Russ Hensel wrote:Reece, why do you put one or more? Why not put one, or two or three...I mean if there is 10, I understand. Why the vagueness. Not saying your wrong, just rrying to understand is all. I used to do that, but then said, why? I know how many there are and can identify them. Why not be specific? In case you miss one? Your too good for that.


Great point. Most of my comments don't say "one or more". This one does because it's so common and it keeps me from having to alter the text each time. This comment always is accompanied by a photo of each DT breaker and the location in the panel is noted on each photo.


Duh...I should have known! Great job, as usual Reece. I think the more specific we get the better it will be. I hate when I talk to the guy who did the work and says. Well there was only a picture of ONE, so I only fixed ONE....Happens to me all the time!


I agree. It takes more time, but that's what make us professional.
I am, however, still beating myself up about how much detail to put in the report.


I want to put as much information to the buyer as I can. But the main reason I put a ton of info is to #1 cover my booty. Being a multi inspector firm and the way I do things, I can go to the report and ensure my people are doing their job. If it's not recorded and reported in the way I told them to and there is a defect in this area, I hold the inspector liable for the defect.

When they say, their AC did not work a upon moving in...I can say go to page XXX and there you will find the compressor amp readings, the refrigerant readings, the sub cooling temp, the thermals showing the temp drop and temp rise...I assure you it as operating as intended and the report is a testament to what I am telling you...

Many will disagree with this process...liability and time...but it works for me and our call back complaints dropped significantly for people who just don't understand our profession...we have went from probably a 95% no call back to a 99%...is that 4% worth the extra money and time? I say yes because I adjust my prices to compensate for it.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 06/21/2014 12:07 PM EDT


Russell Hensel
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Joe Tedesco
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Look for the Circuit Breaker Marking Guide here: http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/offerings/perspectives/regulator/electrical/newsletters/

Then go to #19. Multiple Conductor Connectors — If the terminals of a circuit breaker are acceptable for use with multiple connections in one hole, and the breaker is intended for this type of use, the breaker is marked to indicate the proper multiple connections. This is uncommon for breakers—ordinarily, the terminals are suitable for only one wire per hole.

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My statements, written or oral on this site, shall not be considered as the official position of NFPA or any of its Committees, and shall not be considered to be, nor be relied upon as, a Formal Interpretation. They are my personal opinions.
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ddhoffman
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Not necessarily inncorrect as you can pig tail two branches to one wire. The real issue is the load, after all the conductor goes from one fixture to another in a series and it is the load that is critical. The double lugging is only allow with panels that designed for it like Square D.

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