Be a home inspector and look at this photo and tell me everything you see that you think is a problem:
1. It is in a vulnerable place, and outdoors.
2. It is a cable not made for an outdoor application.
3. Hard to tell in this photo, it is not a grounded cable.
4. What you can't see it that it comes out of a light fixture, traveling as you see here, and goes into and services another light fixture.
This home inspector was very close to the cable and noticed something else.
The cable is stapled too tightly.
A cable can be stapled too tightly? Yes!
Here is a close up. This is stapled too tightly!
Not only is the staple bent (it was installed using a hammer, by an individual obviously not used to hammering electric staples) but it is cutting through the insulation! And cutting through both sides. And it is metal.
IT IS VERY DANGEROUS!
As that cable expands and contracts with heat and cold cycles, and as that staple further and further cuts into the insulation, sooner or later that metal will conduct electricity from the one side to the other. Arcing will happen, and possibly a fire.
A competent and experienced electrician would never have done this.
How should a properly-installed staple look?
If a single cable like the left photo and if a double cable like the right. Yes, they make staples different lengths to accommodate different applications.
Notice how the cables are gently but firmly attached? This is also indoors so there will be less expansion and contraction, but even if there was such these staples would not be cutting into the insulation. This is a professional job.
My recommendation: if you see electric cables here or there outdoors, pay attention to where they are and to how they have been attached. They could be a problem waiting to happen.
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560