Q: My house is just over 4 years old. My wife and I are attempting to map all the circuits in our electrical panel, which is located in...
Q: My house is just over 4 years old. My wife and I are attempting to map all the circuits in our electrical panel, which is located in the garage. The electrician did a poor job of labeling which circuits are attached to which room.
We have two missing pieces to the puzzle, since all the lights, appliances and outlets have been pretty much accounted for.
Two separate 15-amp circuits remain in the panel. One is marked “X-lights,” and the other is “GDO.” I have no idea what these represent, nor am I sure they are attached to anything at all.
A: “GDO” is your garage-door opener. This outlet or junction box (if hardwired) is likely in the ceiling, which might explain why you didn’t consider it while doing your mapping survey.
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“X-lights” means you have an outlet (or outlets) somewhere in the eaves thatallows you to connect Christmas lights nearby, eliminating the need for extension cords.
These circuits might have a switch somewhere in an out-of-the-way place in the house or garage, in case you have a hidden or unaccounted-for switch, too.
Q: I have horizontal cedar siding. The house is just more than 1 year old. The siding is painted dark red. The problem is that half-inch white racing stripes have developed next to the red in the paint at the top and bottom of every board, which is visible from the curb.
What the heck is going on? Is the paint shrinking?
A: The white you see is primer. Because you see white, not raw wood, that tells me the siding was preprimed, then painted after installation. After a few seasons on the building, wood siding physically shrinks perpendicular to the grain.
Light top-coat colors are not so visible, first because they don’t contrast as badly with the white primer, and secondly because they do not absorb as much heat.
I have noted this on many homes, especially dark green, for some reason. The use of tinted primers, coating both sides of the siding with primer, and/or machine coating both primer and top coat before installation will help lessen this shrinkage tendency on future buildings.
The only way you will eliminate the stripes on your home is to paint it, tough as that may sound. Only paint during the driest, warmest part of next summer, or you might get secondary shrinkage, and that really would be a bummer.
Darrell Hay is a local home inspector and manages rental properties. Send questions to email@example.com. Sorry, no personal replies.