Major or Material

The infamous Material Defect Vs Major Defect Question…

Electrical Panel shows signs of overheating at lugs.

Wires directly above panel in attic access discolored, bathroom vent shows signs of heat damage directly above wires, electrical tape melted on service feed…

But no smell of recent melting action, no distinguishable heat signature using back of hand technique.

Major or Material Defect?

Nathan Hayden
Home Inspectors Hawaii LLC

Neither… I’m not a sparky and qualified to make such a determination based on general observations.


Just report your observations and recommend further evaluation. If you don’t and it burns down…


Get that thought/phrase out of your mind, and your reports.

What you’re showing is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed.


Nathan, report what you see and refer it out to a qualified electrician for correction…simple.


Thank you for all of the advice! Though using Spectora it is hard to avoid the Minor, Major, and Material defect classifications… but I definitely get that a defect is a defect. See it, Report it, Recommend it get fixed. Move on.


I would use Safety if available if not presume the worse and label it Major.

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I am sure I will get a lot of hate comments for this, but the whole “Major/Minor/Material” and Red Light/Green Light is why I never went with Spectora. I felt it kind of simplifies things, but also dumbs down the report. I just never liked it personally. I have a summary for items of concern. The client can determine if it is major or minor. My wording will guide them.


Bingo. I agree.


State what I see; explain the consequences for NOT correcting it; then recommend repair by a competent %$#@*&^%$ … AND keep moving

I would use wording that includes that this is a Safety and Fire Hazard and refer it to an electrician for immediate repair. It’s significant and the client needs to understand that.


The times I’ve seen this I have dragged the agent to see it, shoot it, and send it over to the listing agent for immediate attention.
In my report, I have been known to put things in BOLD RED type stating it may be a Fire Hazard.
Top 4 causes of house fires

  1. Electrical
  2. Cooking
  3. Dryers
  4. Candles

Case closed. I sleep better at night.


Personally don’t like that… One person thinks an issue is minor and doesn’t think twice about it, another thinks the same issue is something they would walk away from the house for. Highlight, explain, and let the person spending hundreds of thousands (or millions) of dollars on the prospective home, is minor or major.

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Welcome to our forum, Timothy!…Enjoy, the water is warm, most of the time! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


The water is always warm here in Hawaii!


Most of the time if you want to get them to focus on potential possibilities try using some form of monetary signifier like expensive or more expensive, high cost repair… Usually does the trick to get the point across.

Replying in the Spectora instance, you’re all missing the point. Its a tool you can choose to use if you feel so inclined. You are not locked into blue, orange and red. You can choose just 2 categories, or just use one like most others.
You can call them whatever you want, use whatever colors you want.
Spectora is fresh, modern, configurable, convenient and yes maybe expensive. Hell I’ve paid for 2 years upfront
Thanks guys.

As for the original post, would definitely get a red category, serious concern and advise an electrician review, And in the report the customer sees this is what it would look like . When they click the pic it expands to full page

You may all disagree etc etc, but I think that is an excellent presentation of a serious defect


Agreed. I’m a happy Spectora user and preface every report with an explanation of the color coding. It’s simple, effective, and very user (client) friendly! RED in my report indicates either safety or major flaw. I go on to clarify that “major” indicates an imminent hazard or something which may be difficult or expensive to remedy.

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Don’t disregard the last man in theory. You can write major, minor or how do you do but the agent will try to minimize and dismiss as much as possible.


Ryan, Of all the answers on this question, I think you nailed it. Its a major safety defect.

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