Can This Possibly Be Code? Home Inspector OKed - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 10-23-2009, 09:17 AM   #1
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Can this possibly be code? Home inspector OKed

I found a situation at my newly purchased house that gives me the willies, yet didn't come up as a red flag in the inspection despite being in plain sight.

There's a 12/2 romex cable sticking out of a brick wall (uncaulked) on the second story next to a window. It hangs loose off the house all the way to the ground, where it shallowly submerges in a flower bed (poking back up in several places along the way) for an approximately 12 foot run past the chimney and then through the basement wall. Once in the basement, it runs directly to a 20A fuse at the panel. Appears to be a path-of-least-resistance way to power a window A/C unit in that bedroom.

The cable is a whitish beige, and looks sun-bleached in the exposed areas. I'm not at the house to read the exact markings, but I recall "12/2" and "600 v" in the inscription.

When I called the inspector about it, he said it was code at the time it was probably put in. I wanted to put it out here for confirmation, and suggestions about what to say to the home inspector (along the lines of "you screwed up, I want a partial refund") if, as I think, this is incredibly dangerous rather than merely odd.

Also, would remediation involve running the same (or a replacement) wire inside some sort of conduit, or just ripping the whole thing out and plastering over where the box was?

I've shut off the breaker to that line in the meantime.


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Old 10-23-2009, 09:27 AM   #2
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That sounds like your regular INTERIOR 12/2 cable. Outside and direct burial needs physical protection from: the sun, as you mentioned and your kids/dog/neighbors kids/wife/yourself etc playing in the flowerbed! This should be either teck cable or in a conduit. Your house inspector is a jackass.


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Old 10-23-2009, 09:28 AM   #3
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Grey UF cable can be run outside & is rated for direct burial
By todays code ( & maybe past?) it had to be protected from physical damage where it goes into the ground
It does need to be attached to the house every 4' (?)

I'd rip the thing out & redo it if you need a dedicated circuit for an AC
I'd chase it thru the wall, I'd never run conduit up the side of a house

The Inspector should have made a notation at the very least about possible physical damage occuring
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Old 10-23-2009, 03:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jackbird View Post

When I called the inspector about it, he said it was code at the time it was probably put in.
If he doesn't know when it was it put in how can he say it was code at the time?

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Old 10-23-2009, 04:04 PM   #5
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Home inspectors are not electricians. But, he should have flagged it. Just because he does not know, does not relieve him of his responsibility to inform you of problems or potential problems. Did you pay for this inspection?
If it worked before you worked on it. You did something wrong.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:36 PM   #6
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I always get house inspections but sometimes I wonder why. They take no responsibility for anything they miss, if any of you have watched Holmes on Homes you will see half of the disasters involve house inspections that miss obvious problems.

Take for example our recent purchase & inspection this year. The inspector is a gasfitter by trade, he told us that. He also does WETT inspections.

We have a Jenn-Aire cooktop that was installed in our propane house without the Propane conversion done. The inspector totally missed it. Once we moved in we noticed that the cooktop had 4" yellow flames and left soot all over our pots!!! I got a gasfitter in an he said it wasn't converted (in the process he cracked the glass and told my wife it wasn't his fault!!! but that is another story) The orifices were under the stove and the original fitter had installed the different valve but not the orifices!!! I called the inspector and he said, "Yeah, I should have caught that but the homeowner was bugging me so I missed it" Like WTF! this is your trade and you MISSED it?

Anyway you sign a release when you get an inspection basically absolving them of responsibility. For me I think the only value of a house inspection is to give you a potential out on an offer and helps to refocus you on the sticks & stones when you are in the middle of all this moving etc business (our moves are always more than 1000km)

My $0.02.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:45 PM   #7
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I have gone to repair home inspection punch lists, and several times some major things that could have been dangerous were overlooked, but there were notations about paint not matching, etc.

Home inspectors run the gamut of incredibly lazy and stupid to incredibly observant and thorough. It all depends on the individual. Always check references!
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:31 AM   #8
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A similar situation with electrical wiring occured when I purchased my current home. The inspector told me that it was put in to code at the time, but didn't meet current code. He said "you should correct that ASAP". This was one of several things that he brought to my attention as things he thought I should fix after I was in the home. It was as if he was walking a fence and didn't want to kill the deal and PO the realtors instead of working for ME who was paying him!

I told my realtor I wouldn't move forward with the purchase unless the homeowner fixed them. Period. The homeowner agreed to fixing a couple of them. I still held firm on the others. The Realtors paid for the rest in order to finalize the deal.


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