Electrical Defect Pictures and Basic Wiring Diagrams
The inspection of the electrical, plumbing and HVAC components is based on identifying technical code deficiencies. Defects or deficiencies are almost always based on the codes that are regulating these trades. It is important to note that this does not mean that the inspector is doing a code compliance inspection but the deficiency that has been identified has been defined in the particular code for that trade. If the inspector notes that there is a cover missing from an electrical junction box, this has been identified as a problem because it is considered a potential safety or fire issue by the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, which states: “Junction boxes must have covers”. The electrical part of the inspection can also pose serious electric shock hazards for the inspector. Missed or improperly identified items can also expose the property’s occupants to shock or fire hazards. It is clear to see that only qualified inspectors should be used.
Some of the electrical inspection is done on the outside of the house. If the service entrance cable is coming in overhead from the street the cable has to be identified, clearances checked and splices and supports inspected. Overhead service cables must be a certain minimum height over lawns and walkways. If an exterior ground rod has been used, its condition must be accessed. Many homes have the main electrical disconnect on the exterior of the house. The disconnect must be accessible to the property’s occupants and its ampere rating or size noted.
The inspection of the electrical panel involves more single observations than any other component of the house. Every wire and connection must be examined and any problems noted. It is also one of the more dangerous parts of the inspection because the panel contains exposed wires carrying 240 volts. The panel is first inspected with the cover on. This is the easy part. Panel openings, labeling, current and voltage ratings and the general condition of the panel are noted.
The inside of the panel is the most important part because all wires and fuses and breakers are exposed. Every wire and connection must be inspected; wire sizes and over current devices, (fuses or circuit breakers) must match. Workmanship and general panel condition can be viewed. There can be over 20 separate things to look for on the inside of the panel. Improperly wired receptacles and the interior of the electrical panel are the key locations to tell if electrical work was done by someone other than a licensed electrician. Remember, the standards for proper electrical work are based on safety and fire prevention. If the workmanship is not up to standard it can be a fire or safety issue. This is why home inspectors always point out the dangers of poor electrical work and recommend that problems be corrected by a licensed electrician.
Some homes have electrical panels that have been added to expand the panel’s capabilities or are used to feed a basement or detached garage. These sub panels are inspected with the same detail as the main panel. During the interior part of the inspection the inspectors is also checking receptacles, switches and electrical fixtures. There can be over 16 different observations made when checking these devices.
ESA Permits and Inspections
Planning a renovation or home project? Updating the kitchen or bathroom? Adding new lighting? All electrical installations, repairs, replacements or alterations in Ontario need to be done in compliance with the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, and all necessary permits must be taken out. This creates a permanent record of the work and triggers a review process by ESA.
If your project involves new electrical wiring or devices, or repairing, replacing or altering old ones, you need to know your obligations under Ontario law. Items Required:
- Follow the Ontario Electrical Safety Code
- Hire Only a Licensed Electrical Contractor
- Take Out a Permit/Application for Inspection
- Submit a Request for Inspection
- Obtain a Certificate of Inspection
Electrical inspections are the law
Electrical inspections are not only the law, they’re the best way to rest easy and enjoy your new home, upgrade or renovation. Electrical inspections help protect the people in your home or building from electrical hazards. Today, inspections are handled by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). An inspector from the ESA will check any electrical work to make sure it meets the requirements defined in the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, which sets provincial standards for safe electrical installations and electrical products.
Electrical inspections are required to comply with requirements of the Electricity Act 1998 and the Ontario Electrical Safety Code (Ontario Regulation 10/02). It is the law. All electrical installations, renovations, and alterations are required to have an electrical inspection.
Installation of outlets, switches, lighting, baseboard heaters, smoke detectors (excluding battery-operated types), exhaust fans, etc.
Installation of new equipment such as heat pumps, water heaters, air conditioning, swimming pools, whirlpools, saunas, etc.
Electrical service upgrades or changes
New homes, additions or renovations