While inspecting the service panel, three missing knockouts were noted. While this may not seem like a problem to some people, it is a safety concern. One safety issue is if there is some sort of electrical problem in the panel, sparks could escape through the knockouts and possibly start a fire. Another concern is open knockouts provide an avenue for rodents to enter the panel. At the very least this can cause breakers to trip. It could also cause a fire. Still another issue with missing knockouts is inquisitive kids sticking either their fingers or objects in the holes and electrocuting themselves.
When a receptacle tester was used on an outlet beside a utility sink in the garage, the GFCI did not work. With the high probability of the area around a utility sink being a wet environment, it is very important GFCIs are installed and work properly for safety.
The attic was accessible through a scuttle hole (i.e., no permanent stairs or ladder). When I made it into the attic I noticed electrical wiring running over the ceiling joists approximately one foot from the opening with no protection. Since access was through a scuttle hole, all cables within 6 feet of the attic entrance needed to be protected from damage by people entering the attic.
There was also a section of rotten top railing on the back deck, which was under a planter. While the planter probably caused the rot because the wood could not dry out sufficiently, it also did a great job hiding the rot.
Upon completion of my inspection I wrote up the findings, stated what was observed and why it was a concern, and presented it to my clients. The couple was very pleased that I found those items which would have cost them some money to fix, not to mention the safety concerns.
However, the homeowner was not very pleased at all. My clients said he complained that there had been 3 other inspectors over the past few months and none of them ever called out those issues. He felt they were not problems because if they were, then they would have been called out during the other inspections. Every time the house was inspected he said it cost him more money.
Fortunately, my job as an inspector is not to make the current home owner happy; it is to look at the house and systems within and detail any observations made. My client can either use those findings to negotiate a better price, have the current owner fix the issues, take the house “as is” with the knowledge of what was observed, or walk away from the purchase.