Electrical Question Survey

When performing Home Inspection do you consider it part of your job to trip breakers ,throw Mains ,and pull cartridge fuses as routine ways to examine and report on components ?

If you do it sometimes you should do all of them and every time , but please explain why not if you disagree.

I feel you should only test AFCI and GFCI buttons.
Tell me how you feel and why.

Maybe you can change my mind.

Sure… when inspecting my own house. :slight_smile:


If I had to shut the power off to inspect a component I would going beyond what I am paid to do.

I pretty much agree however some feel we should be flipping all power equipment switches.

On a vacant house, I’ll turn the main power off when I leave if requested.

I may pull a disconnect on an AC condenser if it’s blowing hot air in my face.

I may pull the disconnect on a furnace for a minute in the attic if I want silence to trace a bathroom ventilator, for example.

That’s about it.

I never do any of those things.

But I will pull the handle on the A/C equipment disconnect to check for signs of conductor overheating, grounding connections and line/load connections, but then you already know that.

Do you even check for the presence of a disconnect?

I choose NO…i wont group the AFCI and GFCI within the rhelm of turning off the service to the structure. The SOP calls for the AFCI and GFCI to be tested but not to disconnect the main…if that is what you are asking.

Holy **** Bob! Who said that we should be “flipping all power equipment switches”?

I’ve never heard of such a thing!

I will answer that one with a cut and paste from my response on the other thread though I think your question was directed at Joe.

Silly question since having a disconnect at the compressor equipment is required and nobody here would cop to not noting or observing the absence of required material items.
We are all professional I hope.

As far as the survey goes I just want to get it straight that no one is going around flipping all the breakers and if they are I want to know why and how many are.

Chuck aren’t you also curious as to the responses?


Where did that come from? No one ever stated that.

I do not shut off or reset tripped breakers, there are shut off or tripped for a reason.

I test GFCI’s with the button and/or tester at GFCI only. I ONLY push the test button on AFCI’s in vacant homes. Been there done that in ocuupied home and heard the dreaded “My computer just shut off, what the h#ll did you do?” and that is not gonna happen again.

I do however pull every fuse block and removed the dead front from every AC disconnect (not running or under load) to check wiring and fuse size. I also do this on every spa disconnect for same reason. In about 60% of the AC disconnects there are either wiring problems or improper sized fuses. Yesterday the AC disconnect was missing the ground wires and the AC nameplate called for a max 40 amp fuse and the fuses installed were 60 amp.


How do you justify doing only that sub-panel ?
Should you not also pull other disconnects?

The only disconnects we see out here are for the AC condensing units, electric spas, we do not have fused disconnects on furnaces. When doing pools and spas the timer gets opened and the wire cover comes out (most are broken or missing)to check wiring in them also. If the pool equipment has the control center type sub panel built in the dead front comes off of those also. I do pull the dead fronts on all main and sub panels even the dreaded Zinsco and FPE panels (well all but 2 or 3 in 10 years).


OK I need to reword.
What if you have a fused main panel with cartridge fuses behind the pullout.

Do you pull the main or not and if not how is that different ?

I am expecting you to say it is because that is only one system component at the A/C but it seems it would be even more important to check the main panel to be sure there is not an inside the home danger.

OH ,I never pull FPE or Zinsco as a general rule since I have run into some of them with loose breakers and I think it would be best to have an Electrician certify them as OK.If you feel comfortable doing so , knock your socks off but do not jump out of your shoes.:slight_smile:

Seriously the best way to check them may be to physically give them a wiggle and sometimes that appears unsafe.

Fused mains on a vacant house I will pull, occupied no. There are not that many fused mains here in California as insurance companies tend to not like them. The ones that do exist here and I have run across I have been able to see the labels on the fuse. Fused mains are mostly on commercial around here, same for that vacant I will pull, occupied no.

Pulling a main fuse on an occupied property would shut all electrical systems down same a tripping the main breaker. I will not do that.

As to the Zinsco and FPE’s they can be a hair rasing experience. I have found that the Zinsco’s are easier to deal with than the loose FPE’s.


OK so basically you do not pull mains for the same reason I do not pull covers off FPE.
More of a risk factor. Got ya.


I agree but how about the A/C service disconnect Paul?
What do you recommend, as I have faith in your reply ?

Typically the AC Disconnect is simply a pull out type and all I need to verify is its ratings. So I have no need to pull this disconnect. if it has no label then honestly pulling it wont tell me anything so I look at the conductor sizes in accordance with the nameplates and then check the protection within the panel that supplies it.

Remember thats when I am wearing my “Home Inspector” hat…:wink:

I’ve never pulled a disconnect or opened a box on the breaker, but was with a HVAC guy today and when he flipped the breaker for the outside condenser, the unit didn’t shut off. Opened the box and apparently the breaker was bad because they pulled the hot from the breaker and wired direct bypassing the breaker. Seeing that makes me wonder if I should be.

Good enough for me, though a picture on the other thread that was posted where a guy did the penny trick by wrapping aluminum foil around the cartridges.
I guess I might miss that one even if I pulled them out for the next 20 years though.