When home inspectors collide

What happens when the buyer’s inspector dissagrees with the seller’s inspector?

ex. inspector #1 says the ground pins on receptacles go up, inspector 2 says they go down. (or pick your unanswerable question)

Is there some arbitration process or is it just “he said/he said”?

Don’t think the sellers inspector has standing in the equation. The Buyer is the person with the “out” of the deal based on what his inspector finds/writes. If the Buyer requests an item to be repaired / replaced then the seller has two options: fix it as requested or deny the request. Then the buyer has two options: continue with the purchase or walk away.

While the seller’s inspector may have an opinion, it may or may not matter to the Buyer, and they are the one holding the power at the time.


In my opinion it is not a deal breaker. I have seen them both ways but my preference is the ground pin at the bottom. Just remember it should be oriented to look like a happy face minus the lips. :wink:

Common sense says ground pin up so that if the plug comes out partway and something falls across the plug, it hits the ground, not the hot wire.

Stupid Rules says nothing, it don’t matter.

Stupid Rules = Someone does something stupid, someone else comes up with a rule to keep it from happening again.

You say…WHO CARES…they can go either way…and smile and walk away saying…ATTEND PAULS SEMINAR and learn the correct answer…:slight_smile:

So you are saying the seller getting an inspection is wasting his money.
It means nothing.
I guess you have lots of insurance.

The same equation works in reverse. A prelisting inspection can point out the concerns, the client (vendor) is not obligated to repair/replace, but is obligated to disclose.

Greg, I think you need to remove your example from the question. Most are not seeing the real question you are asking. Unfortunately, I think in many folks eyes and especially the Realtors’ that the arbitrator is the code book (which ever code is adopted for that are) first and then the AHJ and then the courts if all else fails and it warrants going that far but 99.9% of the disagreements don’t end up there I suspect. So, yes in my opinion, it is usually a ‘he says/they say’ situation so one or the other inspector better be able to defend his position with appropriate back-up, i.e. a code or a AHJ ruling or a manufacturer’s instructions.

Actually BOTH have the right to a Home Inspection but at the “End of the DAY” the seller has to either agree and come down or the buyer has to agree and pay what the seller wants.

Now I like the idea of the SELLER doing a Pre-Inspection because it points out things that can actually MAKE the seller more money…say a new roof…while it may cost $ 5,000 for the roof…and you know the buyer if the HI says it needs a new roof will try to negotiate that…usually at the cost of the new roof…

However if the SELLER knows it costs 5,000.00 and has it done he/she in most cases will add 10,000.00 or more of value…and the same can be said for many items found in a Home Inspection.

Personally I like BOTH sides to the matter…and the HI wins in the end on both accounts…lets face it…a brother has to get paid and we all have faimiles to feed…so if they choose to have (2) home inspections so be it in my mind…more income for the HI industry …

Now…if it comes to conflicting things…well they always can be negotiated as no TWO sets of eyes are the same…and those things will happen…part of business but really not the HI’s concern in my opinion as they are simply doing their job…now some have more experience and more training than others…and if done TACTFULLY…can be a great learning experience for each inspector…as long as they LEAVE the EGO at the door.

I agree with Michael on the fact the question is a NO win question since the mounting can be either way…sure their are some " IF " senarios involved…lol…but again…we dont LIVE on IF’s…so call them as you see them…but ground up or down…no real issue in my mind…in fact I like my grounds down…ground to ground so the helpers dont have a BRAIN MELD effect…when installing them…a no brainer type approach serves well for ROOKIES…

Either way…taking the CORE of the example is “dualing” inspectors…again let each find what they find…and then review it in the end for a reasonable solution…

A better example would be…one inspector finds a GEC and the other lists no GEC…hmmmm…much more important issue than a plug…so who is right on this one…now this I have run into…I WONT leave a job unless I can confirm a GEC or lack of one…I would hope MOST do the same.

I’m sorry if I confused the question with a bad example but I wanted to get to the opinion aspect. A real example I have heard many times on various forums and newsgroups would be GFCI protection on an appliance in the garage/basement like a sump pump or refrigerator. One inspector will say the receptical is accessible so it has to be GFCI, the owner installs the GFCI then the next inspector says a sump pump or fridge should never be on a GFCI and wants it removed. Does the owner have recourse against the first inspector, the second one or none of the above?
If both inspectors got called back at the same time do you arm 'rassle over it or flip a coin?

lol…yeah…actually it happens to be a " Coin Flip "…thehehe

I see your point which is WHY we conduct Electrical Training Seminars in hopes this does not happen…lol…


But…you know I have my OWN opinions of the right choice in that NEW question…lol…

1.) Tell me WHERE that Sump Pump is located…:wink:


I think the seller does, indeed, have a standing.

The buyer wants the house because he made a purchase offer on it. So seller can also pull out of the equation and not sell the house to that buyer. There still are sellers who don’t have to sell their homes, merely wanting to sell them.

The seller actually has at least three options: fix it as requested, deny the request, or cancel the sale. So it seems to me that the buyer has the upper hand first: based on the home inspection report, he can cancel the sale.

However, if the buyer provides a list of requested repairs, then the seller now has the upper hand since he can cancel the sale.

P.S. You still in Santa Barbara on vacation with Ms Margarita and Dr Cuervo?

If I had done the listing inspection, I would have come to the aid of my Clients, the sellers, and explained that there are two answers to the question:

1 - the ground pins go up
2 - the ground pins go down

Several examples that I use in this situation:

A - In many homes, the ground pins are up on switched outlets for easy identification, while all other outlets have the ground pin down.

B - Some electricians like the ground pin down because the heavy part of the cord is on the ground pin end, so having the ground pin up would require turning standard cords around so that the cord comes in from the top. Since the cord is heavy, having the cord come in from the top will eventually cause the plug to work its way out of the receptacle due simply to gravity. Try it. And it simply looks odd; not Martha Stewart standards by any stretch of the imagination.

C - Some electricians like the ground pin up because if the plug does work its way out of the outlet, the ground pin will be the first part of the plug to be exposed, which is less dangerous than having the hot and neutral pins exposed. Imagine the plug part way out because the young one has been pulling on it. Now imagine dropping something metal (eyeglasses screwdriver, safety pin, etc.) on the exposed pins. Less is likely to occur when it hits the ground pin up than might occur when it hits the hot and neutral pins up.

D - Imagine the GFCI outlet with the ground pin up. What would the test and reset button say? “tseT” and “teseR”. Huh? And that’s not even close; I did a mirror image, not an upside-down image!

Personally, I’m a Martha Stewart fan (not really, but I did buy some of her pillow shams recently since they were so well designed and were the onlyes that had a zipper), so I like the ground pin down to provide a neater appearance for all my cords.

From personal experience in many property renovations, I know that the initial power surge on appliances can trip the current make of GFCI outlets. And the electrical people seem to be acknowledging that fact, finally. I think it was Jerry Peck who posted information on inspectionnews.com about the next generation of GFCI outlets that won’t cut off due to simply appliance power surges and that won’t work if they are not wired correctly. It was interesting reading.

Turning the scenario around to one that I have found quite often, if I had done the pre-listing inspection and found an appliance on a GFCI circuit, I would have recommended that a dedicated circuit be installed without GFCI protection and then explained why. That would have armed my Clients with information when the other inspector came through and said that the receptacle was accessible so it needed GFCI protection.

Regular readers know I disaagree with the theory that anything but a ground fault trips a GFCI. The appliance manufactures in commercial kitchens have had to face that since 2005 code and everyone will in 2008 unless the AFCI rule (30ma GFCI protection) gets quashed.
I have a way you can test your theory. Put the same appliance you think is tripping because opf some inrush on a 2 prong adapter (ungrounded) and stand clear. Does it trip the GFCI now? If not you have a ground fault … period. Plug it into a non GFCI outlet and hang your current clamp on the EGC and you can see how much electricity you are wasting with your ground fault. It won’t be a lot or you would be tripping the O/C device but it will be a number. You can really see it on a scope.

I’ve found the condition in waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many of the properties that I have renovated.

I don’t really care what the underlying cause is. The fact remains that the initial electrical surge can trip GFCI’s. Why that initial electrical surge does it is not my call. That’s for the electrician to find out.

I had a very well-respected electrician call me on this a couple of months ago. He is so well-respected, having been in business for 37 years, that I use him quite often, as well.

Unfortunately, I guess he was busy and didn’t want to go check out the situation and possibly make some money making whatever necessary repairs. Instead, he simply wrote my Clients a letter saying that “appliances will never cause a GFCI to trip.” Now that’s a pretty bold statement, and considering that I had used him quite often, distressed me, distressed me so much that I had to call in Ms Margarita and Dr Cuervo for consultation. So I called my Clients, told them that I respected this electrician but that he was wrong about this, and offered to meet the electrician and my Clients at the site to show the electrician that this appliance (the dishwasher) did, indeed, trip the GFCI circuit when one pushed the start button on the dishwasher. We met at the site and I showed Mr. Electrician that the initial electrical surge from pushing the start button on the dishwasher did, indeed, trip the GFCI circuit. That’s not supposed to happen.

Now why it was happening, again, is not my concern. The fact is that it was happening. It could have been a faulty dishwasher, a miswired GFCI, a faulty GFCI, whatever.

Mr. Electrician agreed that it should not happen and vowed to look into it and fix whatever was causing the problem. Why he didn’t just go out there to see what was happening instead of writing a letter is beyond me, but whatever.

What Jerry posted at inspectionnews.com indicated that the electrical powers-that-be and/or the code gurus and/or the manufacturers recognize that it happens, and apparently happens waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too frequently, and are finally taking steps with new technology to correct the problem.

What a great way to start a post. Do you mind if I borrow it on occasion?

I say again, try it with the ground disconnected (if you can do it safely). If the GFCI does not trip you have a ground fault. Putting this on a non-GFCI circuit is like putting a penny in the fuse holder. You are jumpering out the failure.