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Old 01-13-2011, 08:38 AM   #1
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We spent the spring and summer renovating an old house. When we were ALL done, we had our hot water tank replaced by the company that we rent from. We didn't know, but the electrical work (from the hot water tank) would be be inspected. This was our first meeting with the inspector, and this was the first time we were aware of the inspection process. When the Inspector showed up, he already knew we had done a bunch of renovating, and said so before he even stepped into the door. He said we would have to talk about what we had done in the house, after he looked at the hot water tank. I admitted to him that we did some writing, cause it was obvious that he already knew somehow. A few weeks later I received a letter in the mail and it was sent to my Maiden name! It had a 3 deficiencies on it, and it forced us to have an inspection. Where did he get my maiden name from? I've been married for 10 years! It's obvious that somebody tipped him off, but is this legal? There was no evidence that we had done electrical work, and yet he knew we did. The inspection has been done now, and we might have to rip apart our kitchen because he wants a different kind of wire to be used in it. And we have to hire an electrician from another community (2 hours away!) to do the work because we don't have one in our town. This is a friggen' nightmare!

My other question is, what if we don't have the money to do the work? Do we have any legal options? We've just poured everything we have into the house and we're not sure how we're going to afford this. The thought of ripping the house apart...well you can just imagine...

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Old 01-13-2011, 08:47 AM   #2
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Company that you rent from?

Are you currently renting the home that you are doing the work in?

What wire is he asking you to use and what type did you use in the kitchen?

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Old 01-13-2011, 08:56 AM   #3
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We rent the hot water tank from a company called Reliance. We own the home. I'm not sure what wire he wants, but we used the regular white stuff. The same stuff that we used throughout the rest of the home. The only wire that different is the red stuff, for the electric heaters. I'm assuming the wire he wants is a new code thing, and I'm not questioning that. I'm sure he's not making us do things that are extra. My main concern is how this got rolling in the first place? If I call the inspector on my neighbor, does my call give him a right to inquire about their property? If I would have known that we needed an inspection, I would have done so, before the drywall was up. I'm hoping there is a legal loophole that could make this whole problem go away. ☺
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:09 AM   #4
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There is no "new code thing" for wire types. What type did you use and what is he requesting is the first thing you need to know.

It doesn't matter who called the inspector. My guess would be the company who installed the water heater tipped him off but that does not matter at ALL!
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:12 AM   #5
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When you say red wire, that makes me think you are in Canada.
Here it is possible and legal for an inspector, with just cause, to knock on the door.
One of the mods is an inspector and he may chime in later.
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:19 AM   #6
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I was going to say, It used to be that the company installing the water tanks could down there own electrical, but now a days they have to have a licensed electrician do it. Reliance is probably required to contact the town automatically when they replace there units. As for why they found out about the rest of your renovation, I couldn't tell you.

You should find out the specifics of what this guy is talking about. Did you use proper GFI (The ones with "Reset" buttons on them) outlets near your sinks and counter tops? The white type of wiring you mention should be what is called Romex. It comes in many varietys, do you have any extra around the house that you could read numbers from? That would probably help the more knowledgeable people around here.
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:23 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by SeanRP View Post
I was going to say, It used to be that the company installing the water tanks could down there own electrical, but now a days they have to have a licensed electrician do it. Reliance is probably required to contact the town automatically when they replace there units. As for why they found out about the rest of your renovation, I couldn't tell you.

You should find out the specifics of what this guy is talking about. Did you use proper GFI (The ones with "Reset" buttons on them) outlets near your sinks and counter tops? The white type of wiring you mention should be what is called Romex. It comes in many varietys, do you have any extra around the house that you could read numbers from? That would probably help the more knowledgeable people around here.
I am guessing they used 14-2 for the counter tops which require 12-2 and gfci protection!
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:32 AM   #8
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I would think that since the wire you used is the "regular white stuff except for the red stuff "and the inspector found three deficiencies without opening walls, you should thank whoever called the inspector.This may save your house.
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:34 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Sfeyelectric View Post
I am guessing they used 14-2 for the counter tops which require 12-2 and gfci protection!
That was my guess too, but I'm a newbie

Hopefully that isn't the case though. I don't know if the town can do anything, but if it gets back to the insurance company there using that might cause a problem I assume.
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:39 AM   #10
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That was my guess too, but I'm a newbie

Hopefully that isn't the case though. I don't know if the town can do anything, but if it gets back to the insurance company there using that might cause a problem I assume.
Inspector after issuing so many warning can fine you so much everyday until the issue is resolved. At least that is how it works locally!
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Old 01-13-2011, 09:58 AM   #11
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So long story short here...

1. You have no legal ability to ignore what the inspector said. Now whether or not the code violations truly ARE violations and not just the inspector’s pet peeves is where you may get lucky.

2. We need more detail on the deficiencies that the inspector gave you.
a. What type of wire was used? romex 12-2+G ? romex 14-2+G?
b. What if any other issues did he state?

3. You may or may not be able to do the work yourself depending on local codes. I know in my area so long as the work is inspected and the homeowner can show they have electrical knowledge they will allow it.

3. If you do give us the information and something is against code then you WILL have to redo the work. While expensive it must be done. This is the risk you take when you do work without a permit. Redoing the work is MUCH cheaper than having your house burn down and your insurance company saying you're SOL because of the unpermitted work!!!

The inspector is going to be a hardass because he caught you doing the unpermitted work. Be respectful and try to see things from his side as well… there could be open splices, no GFCIs… A LOT of scary stuff hidden behind a wall and it is the inspector’s job to make sure the home is SAFE! Just keep talking to him and if something seems unusual request a code reference.

Shoot us over the info and we will let you know!
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:40 AM   #12
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I'm a codes official and completely agree with Downriverguy's post. You stand very little chance of beating this....You broke the law, you got caught. Ignorance of the law (required permits and inspections) is not a defense that will hold up in court. Take your lumps. I'd work with the inspector to gain compliance with as little distruption to the finished work as possible. He may work with you if you own the mistake and give him access to what needs to be inspected....If all you do is fight I can pretty much assure you that you're going to be taking a lot of finished work down. I've been involved in this sort of thing dozens of times and I can assure you that your demeanor will often dictate how things go for you.
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:54 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Child of JC
I'm not sure what wire he wants, but we used the regular white stuff. ☺
This statement proves you have no Idea what you are doing, didn't bother to learn, and are very lucky the inspector caught you.
I don't get inspections on my stuff, but I have a reason for that (I'm not allowed to do work on homes I don't live in even if I own them). I would get an inspedtion/permit if I could, but I do take my time, do my research and surpass minimum code.
I frequently call the inspector annomously with "hypothetical" questions for work I'm "thinking of having done at my home."

If by white stuff you mean 14 guage romex and red stuff means 10 guage (the romex brand color codes their wires), then you should have used 12 guage for the kitchen.

Don't be mad at the inspector or whomever tipped them off, if you would have done 5 minutes of reasearch or got a book, you would have known to use the "yellow stuff", and wouldn't be forced to rip apart your kitchen because of your screw up.
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:31 PM   #14
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The red stuff for heaters is likely Heatex cable. We have that in Canada for 240 loads. It has only a black and red wire + grd in the cable. There is no white wire.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:08 PM   #15
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In my view, one reason that electrical work is risky is because there are many ways that you can do things wrong, but in a manner where everything still functions as if nothing is wrong. This is why many DIYers don't (and shouldn't) do electrical work.

Myself, I've used the wrong gauge of wire and boxes that were the wrong size (I've fixed these now that I know better). The previous homeowner did not clamp wires in boxes, did not hook up grounds, and buried splices in walls. These are obvious mistakes that an inspector would immediately recognize as "DIY" work. That is why the inspector was able to tell that you did the work and not a pro.

I would listen to whatever he says, it sounds like he was reasonable given the situation and knows the codes better than us DIYers.

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