About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

34 comments:

  1. 1
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    I’ve seen worse. At least with that you can figure out what they did and what they were trying to do. Sometimes that isn’t the case.

  2. 2
    Jimmythev says:

    WTF? There are no words that could possibly explain the reasoning behind this

  3. 3
    Dweezil says:

    It all seemed pretty borderline dangerous, until the last brown extension cord. That last part was just WOW. And frightening.
    I am curious about whether running the power along the fence is illegal/against code or just doesn’t look good/safe. If they had suspended it across the backyard, would that have met regulations?

  4. 4
    pfft says:

    you guys ever watch Holmes on Homes? it’s basically 1 hr of that video.

  5. 5
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By Dweezil @ 3:

    It all seemed pretty borderline dangerous, until the last brown extension cord. That last part was just WOW. And frightening.

    I suspect what kept that from becoming disaster is the fact that a garage door only runs for maybe 20 seconds, and the likelihood that both were never running at the same time.

    Their mistake was not running that brown extension cord wrapped around an exterior pipe. It could have then been heat tape! ;-)

  6. 6
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    BTW, the person filming it used the terms “surge protector” and “wall cord.” That’s sort of funny too.

  7. 7
    The Tim says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 6 – Hey I’m an electrical engineer, not an electrician. Cut me some slack ;^)

  8. 8
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    Not until you fix the name and email sticking. ;-)

  9. 9
    Feedback says:

    This is really a pleasant video to watch: the seamless one-take cinematography lets the viewer’s eyes flow as easily as the electricity does. The narration is minimal yet informative. Very well done.

  10. 10
    David Losh says:

    I was waiting for you to flip the switch.

    This is a good feature. You have an excellent presence on video, very matter of fact, while we still know that, “yikes” that can’t be right.

  11. 11
    Macro Investor says:

    The climactic ending was a bit of a disappointment. It should have ended by being spliced directly to the Bonneville turbines, or at least to the nearest 400k transformer :)

  12. 12
    Buy My House, Idiot Renters! says:

    “The climactic ending was a bit of a disappointment. It should have ended by being spliced directly to the Bonneville turbines, or at least to the nearest 400k transformer :)”

    Actually, I expected the cord would end up plugged into a neighbor’s obscure and little-used outlet.

    Having Tim flipping the switch was a bad idea – you wouldn’t want to be liable for the subsequent fire…

  13. 13
    karl says:

    We followed wires like that on a house not long ago that led down a hill several hunderd feet (tacked on the trees) to the water supply pump. The supply was a surface spring with a concrete catch and the had cattle grazing about 10 feet from the spring….

  14. 14
    Jonness says:

    By Dweezil @ 3:

    I am curious about whether running the power along the fence is illegal/against code or just doesn’t look good/safe. If they had suspended it across the backyard, would that have met regulations?

    Neither condition meets code requirements. Then again, I doubt an inspector would be thrilled about the use of recycled ungrounded lamp cord either. It makes one wonder how many times it would take slamming the door to strip the insulation off the cord? :)

    I suspect the required fix would be to put a subpanel in the garage, which is fed off the main panel in the house via underground cable cased in conduit and buried a couple of feet beneath the ground. But that depends on whether the main panel has enough extra amps to feed the garage. It would most likely require the subpanel have its own grounding rod as well. (I’m by no means an electrician so factor that in)

    My question is, is it even legal to sell a house in this condition? If so, does the seller simply disclose the dangerous nature of the wiring and hope the seller doesn’t demand it gets fixed after it’s noted during the inspection?

    P.S. I spoke prematurely about the edit feature working correctly in Firefox. The paragraphs are bundled into a single string of sentences when the edit box comes up.

  15. 15
    Jim says:

    RE: Jonness @ 14

    Excellent video, and it just kept getting stranger the longer it went.

    As bizarre as it sounds, it *may* be within code (except the squeeze through the door part) since it is essentially all extension plug-in cords. I had a master electrician tell me once that as long as I didn’t “hard wire” anything I didn’t have to file for permits. Scarey indeed, as it is obviously very unsafe. Open both electric garage doors at the same time and watch the fireworks (just kidding … PLEASE DO NOT!). I would bury a feed conduit with a sub-panel in the garage that has circuit breakers on both ends (and GFI) on the garage end just to be safe. PLEASE be safe out there with your wiring hobbies folks!

  16. 16
    pat says:

    the code requires clean mechanical splices, to rated outdoor wire, in environment appropriate boxes, and mechanical attachent to a support.

    plus damp service needs a GFI

  17. 17
    ray pepper says:

    love it! nice find!

  18. 18
    Joe says:

    You should speed this video up 5x and add “Yakety Sax” as the background music.

  19. 19
    Keith T. says:

    Well look on the bright side. No one can break into your garage if you turn off the light by the water heater!

  20. 20
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    There are really three questions here. What is to code? What would the buyer accept? What would the buyer’s bank accept? Even if it’s to code (e.g. the not hard wired argument), the buyer doesn’t have to accept that. And even if the buyer accepts it, the bank doesn’t have to.

  21. 21
    doug says:

    Is this to code?

    Ha, ha, NO.

    There is not a single frame of Tim’s video that shows wiring up to code. I’m not being hyperbolic. :-)

    Romex (the white wire) is not rated for exposure to the elements and will be a hazard very quickly. All splices must be made in boxes, and hard wired appliances can’t be run off of ONE plug, much less… four? Romex should be run through holes in the joists, not stapled along them.

    p.s. Electrical engineer and amateur electrician)

  22. 22
    bubblebuyer says:

    As someone pointed out earlier, this one is easy to spot and easy to see what owner did wrong. Even an incompetent inspector would pick up on it. The tricky ones are the ones the previous homeowner hides. e.g. state that plumbing recently upgraded and then drywalls in an original galvanized water pipe from 1916 when he finsishes basement. Try fixing that without tearing up sheetrock all over the place.

  23. 23
    Mikal says:

    I believe that guy also wired the Mcguire condo.

  24. 24
    Dirty Renter says:

    Green Acres?

  25. 25
    ChrisM says:

    Haven’t seen this addressed in the comments – what is the listing agent’s responsibility here?

  26. 26
    kfhoz says:

    RE: Feedback @ 9

    Yeah, loved the video style in addition to the content. Made me feel like I was there.

  27. 27
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: kfhoz @ 26 – You people are too easy to please. Am I the only one who noticed it wasn’t shot in 3D? ;-)

  28. 28
    Lo Ball Jones says:

    RE: Dirty Renter @ 24 -Yes, that’s exactly it!

    Oliver set up their electrical system on extension cords from a generator into the kitchen with a numbering system based on loads…and Lisa had to add the numbers so they wouldn’t exceed a 6.So she could either run the washing machine alone, or else the toaster plus the hair dryer, but not the dishwasher and the toaster…and so on…

    The Episode was called You Can’t Plug a 2 In With A 6 and here it is…

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/140846/green-acres-you-cant-plug-in-a-2-with-a-6#s-p5-n1-so-i0

  29. 29
    Lanny Poffo says:

    Wow – this great commentary made it onto Fark!

    http://www.fark.com/vidplayer/5999330

    Lanny

  30. 30
    Tall Bill says:

    RE: doug @ 21

    This is the first comment that has it right. NO PART of that installation meets code in Washington. It is VERY Hazardious in that the grounding pin (3 pin plug) that protects folks from shocks is not maintained to the main house panel. Plugging into a light socket only picks up the hot and neutural – 2 wire. I would bet that the openers have some low current to ground that could be measured & may in fact be a hazzard at this time. ANY inspector with one eye closed would have the main meter pulled till a permit was obtained & work was done properly. Did you see the rusting on the staples showing on the romex along the fence? Wearing through with wind movement, not UV rated becoming brittle & easly cracked, etc. Please get this corrected before someone gets killed.

  31. 31
    Tall Bill says:

    RE: ChrisM @ 25

    Any listing agent should order his own inspection even if a prospective buyer does or not. Form 17 filled out from seller listing known issues may not have been done, or they may not know how poorly they did this, The agent could staple the inspection to that form to protect himself. It’s a real hazzard & should be unplugged IMMEDIATELY…

  32. 32
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    By Tall Bill @ 31:

    RE: ChrisM @ 25 – Any listing agent should order his own inspection even if a prospective buyer does or not.

    There’s no duty at all for an agent to order an inspection if their client doesn’t want to do so. They just need to advise the client that is would be extremely prudent to do so. Fortunately if the house is old enough, the bank will require an inspection if the buyer doesn’t. That would offer some minimal protection.

    Your statement goes beyond that though, apparently suggesting an agent obtain an inspection if a non-client fails to do so. I’d have to think about that and re-read some of the recent opinions, but the buyer not having an inspection might shift the risk of loss more to the seller. I’m not sure a seller conducting such an inspection where there is no inspection contingency would do anything to change that.

    BTW, I view seller inspections to be a complete waste of time and resources, although if there’s a concern about a specific item I might ask an inspector to take a look at it.

  33. 33
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Tall Bill @ 31

    Agree that the Seller Disclosure Form should include anything the Seller and/or the Listing Agent knows is wrong. That is a requirement in CA and the Listing Agent has a section to complete along with the seller, but not in WA.

    I often pay for things to be fixed that the seller didn’t disclose and the buyer’s inspector did not find, but I knew about. Helps me sleep at night.

    It’s one of the reasons I’m disappointed that buyer’s and inspectors no longer want the Agent for the Seller present at Home Inspections. It’s easier for me to see if the inspector is missing something if I am there during the inspection. I always attend when I represent the buyer, but used to attend when I represented the seller as well.

    How do you feel about the Agent for the Seller being present at your inspection? It’s a lot easier for me to address a problem if I am there when the inspector points it out. I’m willing to wear duct tape on my mouth. :)

  34. 34

    […] represented in this list is 2011′s far and away most popular content, the video I shot of a Real Actual Home Improvement. My video made the rounds across a bunch of sites, racking up over a million views between YouTube […]

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