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Nonoperational GFI's

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Oregon Doug

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Jan 15, 2002
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Oregon
It's my understanding that having GFI's in the bath/kitchen is not a specific FHA/HUD requirement but what sort of Health & Safety issue is involved when the home does have GFI's but they are improperly wired and don't work?

I just inspected an older home that has been rewired (by owner?) with three prong grounded outlets, but my circuit tester indicates an open ground on most of the outlets.

I'll call for an electrical inspection, but where does this go on the VC sheets?

Oregon Doug
 

Doug Walters

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Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
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Nebraska
OD,
For those items or times where you need to note a repair, certification, or inspection that is not listed on the VC form, use VC-11g and explain it on page 4 of 4. Carry that same information forward to the Homebuyer Summary as well.

In this particuar case, VC-10n can't be marked yes because the outlets do function. However, you have discovered that Harry Homeowner replaced many recepticles and did not install them correctly. Check VC-11g and provide the reason for electrical inspection and certification (safety issues and local code compliance) on page 4 of 4 and the HBS.

Good luck :wink:
DW
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
I would check VC-10n: "Whole house electrical inspection requested. Several 3-prong receptacles have open grounds. Homeowner's been doing own electrical repairs."
 

rtubbs

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Oregon Doug,

My device for testing electrical outlets is a simple night light. If, inserted into the receptical, the night light shines, it receptical works. I've always been advised that, if you give the appearance that you're an inspector then you're an inspector.

Ron in Alabama
 

Mike Garrett RAA

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
We just had the FHA people in to speak to our local appraisers group (140 attended). They said..."anything past a simple night light test is beyond the scope of our inspection requirement". We are not supposed to be home inspectors.

I would suggest that your could be leaving yourself wide open for some nasty law suits!
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
I use the nightlight method to test the outlets in each room as I've stated in my prior FHA inspection posts. Three prong outlets are not required by FHA but the problem I see (and don't want to know about) is Oregon Doug's situation. There are three pronged outlets which represent to a buyer that the system is up-to-date, having grounded outlets but it's a misrepresentation, it does not have grounded outlets. If someone is electrocuted by using an appliance which requires proper grounding (which isn't there), who is liable? Is it not a clear safety issue under FHA guidelines that they seem to be avoiding?

In Doug's case, I think his astute observation that the wiring may have been completed by the owner would be enough for me to use VC 11G and to call for an electrical certification.

Ben
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Ben --

Without testing the receptacles the way Oregon Doug does ["Dug-Duz"], you won't know that the 3-prong plugs aren't grounded.

Like we're all agreeing, based on FHA's acknowledgement, it's beyound the appraisers' scope of observation and doing a few representative samples.

MY clever aside is: Have you tried to buy a 2-prong receptacle outlet lately -- say in the last 30 years!
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
L

I understand Doug's dilemma with the three prong outlets. What I was questionning was FHA's lack of concern about grounded outlets. I know we are only required to use a nightlight to test one outlet per room. But, if 3 prongs are present, should we test them to insure they are working properly? Obviously, a buyer knows a 2 prong outlet is not grounded and will take precautions such as buying a 3 prong, grounded adaptor to use today's modern appliances. The presence of a 3 prong outlet gives the homebuyer a false sense of security. That's why I said I don't want to know/think about it in my prior post. To me the 3 prongs should be tested for proper operation but we don't do that. Then it opens a can of worms because if you test one 3 prong in a room and that's the grounded one and the other outlet on the other wall is not grounded, do we have to draw a sketch showing which outlet in each room was tested for our records just in case someone is shocked by the ungrounded outlet and we're sued by the homeowner?

As I said, I don't want to think about it or the potential liability.

Hah, and if they still made 2 prong outlets, we wouldn't have to worry about bozo homeowners installing ungrounded 3 prongs where they don't belong.

Ben
 

Oregon Doug

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Jan 15, 2002
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General Public
State
Oregon
Ben - You're correct about my dilemma. I know that FHA dosen't require three prong outlets and GFI's in the bath/kitchen. In this particular case, I was appraising a post WW II era ('49) house that had been remodeled. It has the newer three prong outlets and GFI's in the bath/kitchen - but, they don't work!

The issue is: The three prong outlets and the GFI's imply a level of safety that dosn't exist. If I (as an appraiser) fail to point this out, can I be held liable?

If 'Harry Homeowner' buys this house and baby pulls a hair dryer into the tub and fries herself - who's he gonna sue? (Read USPAP, line 529 - 535).

We appraisers are open to all sorts of issues that few of us ever really consider in our day to day business - it's a scary world.

Oregon Doug
 

Larry Lyke

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2002
Ben --

To carry your concern further...

Using an adapter in an adapter-to-ground 3-prong receptacle does not ground anything -- it only allows the 3-prong plug to fit into the receptacle.

A 3-prong plug for the adapter to work would have to have metal-sheathed cable with a direct-contact connection to the cover plate screw to provide a minimal ground anyways.

I'm on your side. If the appraiser has for whatever reason become aware that the 3-prong receptacles are not grounded, state [bold]exactly[/bold] that on the VC sheet and let the UW deal with.
 
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