Saturday, October 26, 2013

The seat belt analogy…compared with home electrical systems!

The seat belt analogy… Why you should care about your electrical system.I use the “Seatbelt” analogy when it comes to how look at the homes nervous system… your electrical system.



The analogy goes- “We all wear seatbelts but how often do we really need them? Less than 95-99% of the time, but we want them there when things goes wrong.”

I know this for a fact when I got t-boned by a pickup truck, was hit sideways, hit the curb and proceeded to pull a TV stunt ride on two wheels across the road and smacked a parked car and landed upside down roof to roof on a ‘72 Chevy Nova. As I was dangling in my seat protected by my seatbelt I was fully aware of its need and how it just saved me from being horribly injured.


I apply this to the electrical system, there are many aspects of the rules in how the electrical system is designed, and they are just seatbelts. They are there for when things go wrong. Mostly they will not be needed. There are several items in the home that can be deadly and the electrical system maybe the biggest one. We take this system for granted and are so used to it that we really do not give it much thought.


This is why when I am performing a home inspection and I evaluate the electrical system I am pretty critical of it. In general water is the enemy of the home. It can cause a lot of damage and can have some health effects, but the electrical system on a given event can be spontaneously deadly.

All too often the homeowner (or even some electricians) because of their lack of knowledge and understanding will play with the electrical system and in effect will compromise the “seatbelt”.  I am always looking for the compromise. Now some of it is pretty minor but you can have an accumulative effect.


The fact that we do not have electrical fires and electrocutions all the time is a testament to the built in safety. We all know the car will run just fine without the seatbelts but when things go wrong you really want it there.



As a SitePro home inspector, this is a major component that takes a lot of time to understand the rules and why we have them. I spend more time studying these rules than any other component in the home because I feel this is the single greatest safety issue I see in homes.
Fixing the seat belts can help ensure when thing go wrong that you are safe.

“The learning and knowledge that we have, is, at the most, but little compared with that of which we are ignorant.”


Van Hibberts, CMI

Certified Residential Building Code Inspector ICC-5319905
Florida-State Certified Master Home Inspector Lic. #HI 89
Certified Owens-Corning Roof Data Technician
Florida-Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector
WDO Certificate #JE190791 
InterNACHI #10071802
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2 comments:

  1. Safety should be prioritized first. Rest comes later. Thanks for sharing such a nice article about electrical appliances and the way to deal with them.

    Regards,
    Arnold Brame
    Health And Safety Consultant Lincolnshire

    ReplyDelete