Electrical Hazard

Today I did an inspection on a 47 yr old home. For starters the hot water heater was encased in a wooden box of plywood. No way to get to the tank. 2nd, it was located in a so called bedroom that had no heat or AC register. And no closet, hence, not a bedroom. The electric meter outside the home had wires totally exposed. Nothing was protecting water from coming into home. There was even a junction box outside under ther meter. The panel was inside the same room as water heater. There was electrical tape on 2 breakers. Im guessing to keep from tripping. The metal clips on breakers were oxidizing. The temp on the 2 breakers with tape was 13 degree’s hotter than the others, needless to say I did not remove panel cover. Moisture or even water easily could have entered the box from the exposed meter. I recommended a licensed electrician. The AC was a mess. The air handler was encased in a sheet metal box riveted to the air handler. There was no access panel. You would of had to actualy drill out the rivets! What a mess. Couldn’t inspect handler or do a temp difference. Again I suggested a contactor. Was I right in doing this? Never came across these conditions. Has anyone else? Please look at pictures.

Was it an electric water heater? I don’t think there is an issue with an electric appliance in a bedroom.

Building codes say nothing about a bedroom requiring a closet (it is a real estate/apprailsal issue). Using that as a definition, I do old (1900) homes with no bedrooms. I just comment that “‘bedroom’ does not have a closet”

I mentioned this in another thread but you may have missed it. In older homes, back in the day, the tax man would count a closet as a room. Therefore if you had a 3 bedroom home, those 3 bedrooms (each with their own closet) would count as 6 rooms towards your tax bill. No one wanted the extra taxes, so they didn’t build in closets but instead used wardrobes, dressers, and high boys.

btw, you did right by calling out the crap with the electrical, ac, and WH.

Hey Steve,

As far as a bedroom not having a closet, I would note “No closet in bedroom”.
If it is for sale the should not listed as a bedroom anyhow. (office, den, bonus rooom,}

On these old pieced together type places I would make sure they have Emergency Egress in bedrooms. If it does not have a way to exit to the exterior of home consider noting it that way and stating it should not be used as a sleeping room.


If the water heater is electric, what is the issue? Not my first choice, but I am not aware of a code violation.

Yes Ralph it is electric. When I was looking in the crawlspace i could see the electric wire. My issue is I could not inspect the heater. The box was screwed shut. Isn’t that beyond ths scope? (to try to open the box)

Would any of you have removed the electric panel?

If you can’t get to the water heater, then you would just disclaim it (water heater was not accessible and was not inspected).

I have never run into an electrical panel that I would not remove the cover, unless it was sealed or something which prevented it. If you are suspicous, you could use extra protection (e.g. glove and glasses, some even use flame resistant clothing)

Good advice on the gloves. Like I said, never ran into this before. Ive done many inspections too. I will make a mental note of that! Thanks.

A sleeping room, aka bedroom, requires the following: A source of natural light (8% of the floor area) a minimum of which 50% shall be openable, a minimum horizontal dimension of 7 ft, a minimum ceiling height of 7’-6", code complying means of emergency egress, a source of permanent heat, and a smoke alarm.

I probably would have unscrewed the casing around the water heater, or asked the seller to do so. I would want to know what I am looking at.

That AC unit looks like a package unit. It does not look like it is sealed properly. Looks like you may by blowing cold air into the atmosphere. Usually you will not be able to see the coils on those. Am willing to be the ducts under the home are damaged.

I understand that is written into the code, however I have done brand new homes that have a central wall heater with 1 or 2 bedrooms with no direct source of heat. I never did understand how that was OK per code.

ducts do have some damage. they are in contact with the ground. noted in my report. Thanks.

It’s unreal the situations I see in new homes. Can’t tell you how many hollow wood doors I’ve seen separating garage from laundry room. Where’s the fire inspector? Someone is making some side money.