Interesting find at a recent inspection. The armored conduit for the electric water heater was just a bit short during installation. Rather than obtaining a longer piece, the installer decided to substitute duct tape to cover the gap. Though it is the same color as the conduit, duct tape does not provide the same benefits as an appropriate length of armored conduit. This is a potential safety hazard for shock and needs to be repaired. Standard building practices call for the power supply wires to be protected with BX armored conduit all the way to the top of the tank to prevent damage. Duct tape is not listed in the building code as an option.
It's such a small hole, why should you bother to seal it? It doesn't look like much could get through. I can ignore it, can't I?
This hole is hard to see from far away but on closer inspection of the electrical conduit an unsealed siding penetration is easy to notice. The hole is less than an inch wide but this is a lot of room if you are an insect, a drop of water or even a small rodent. From the outside it can be difficult to tell where the hole leads. In this case, with the hole next to the main electrical service meter, you really need to investigate farther.
As you can see from the picture above, the hole leads directly to the main electrical service panel for the house. When the panel was opened and the safety cover removed it was quite evident that this panel was found to be an inviting and cosy home for spiders and other insects.
This is a problem. There is a lot of organic and potentially flammable material in the electrical panel. This can trap heat and serve as a source of ignition for a fire. The panel needs to be cleaned by a qualified party and the hole in the siding needs to be repaired. A little bit of maintenance and routine repair can prevent a much bigger problem down the road.
Brian Jovag, owner of Jovag Home Inspection.