Robert Lamoureux: Wire connectors in electrical panel; ‘earthquake experts’

Question No. 1 

Robert, 

We are in the process of selling our home. We had a home inspector come out and in our electrical panel there are wire connectors. He’s saying there should not be any connectors within an electrical panel. This is causing a lot of grief with the sale. Can you please tell me if this inspector is correct? He is not responsive to my questions about the report, which states there are about 20. 

Jim J. 

Answer No. 1 

Jim, 

Your inspector is absolutely correct. On a main electrical panel it must be direct connect to the breakers both on the neutral buss and the ground buss. You absolutely don’t want those wires becoming dislodged and shorting out in the panel. I’ve seen people use wire nuts as you’re describing, as well as tape, and what a potential nightmare such things can create. Unfortunately at this time you’ll have to go back to the closest port and pull new wire. It’s the only way to get around this issue, and be prepared, it could get costly. Please hire a licensed and insured electrical contractor for this. Do not attempt to make these repairs on your own or allow anyone other than the above stated, to do so. 

Good luck to you. 

Robert

Question No. 2 

Robert

I live in Canyon Country, I am a senior and a widow. I had two nice young men come to my door who had business cards and a big truck out front that had a sign on it that said, “Earthquake Experts.” I am terrified of earthquakes. Every time the ground shakes, I am a mess. These two young men offered to go through my home to inspect and tell me if the structure is earthquake ready. They want $800 to do this, but before I agree, I wanted to write in to you and see if this is something I need to do. I’m terrified and don’t know what to do. 

Irene

Answer No. 2 

Irene,

No. Not even I can claim to be an earthquake expert and I have nearly 40 years’ experience in construction, including earthquake experience. I would not allow solicitors such as this to enter your home under any circumstances. If you’d appreciate information on a foundation expert or construction expert, I can share this with you, but please don’t put yourself into a possible safety situation by having someone into your home claiming to be such a thing. Building standards over the years have changed, and some earthquake retrofitting guidelines have come about. Wood-framed structures such as the average home are much more forgiving than a metal-framed structure, but please know you can have your home checked by qualified contractors. 

Good luck.

Robert

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