Electrical Service Boxes

Electrical Service Boxes

Wiring safety codes are intended to protect people and property from electrical shock and fire hazards. Regulations may be established by city, county, provincial/state or national legislation, usually by adopting a model code (with or without local amendments) produced by a technical standards-setting organisation, or by a national standard electrical code.

Disconnect missing from service box

Electrical Service Box

First Electrical codes arose in the 1880’s with the commercial introduction of electrical power. Many conflicting standards existed for the selection of wire sizes and other design rules for electrical installations.

The first electrical codes in the United States originated in New York in 1881 to regulate installations of electric lighting. Since 1897 the US National Fire Protection Association, a private non-profit association formed by insurance companies, has published the National Electrical Code (NEC). States, counties or cities often include the NEC in their local building codes by reference along with local differences. The NEC is modified every three years. It is a consensus code considering suggestions from interested parties. The proposals are studied by committees of engineers, tradesmen, manufacturer representatives, fire fighters and other invitees.

Since 1927, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has produced the Canadian Safety Standard for Electrical Installations, which is the basis for provincial electrical codes. The CSA also produces the Canadian Electrical Code, the 2006 edition of which references IEC 60364 (Electrical Installations for Buildings) and states that the code addresses the fundamental principles of electrical protection in Section 131. The Canadian code reprints Chapter 13 of IEC 60364, but there are no numerical criteria listed in that chapter to assess the adequacy of any electrical installation.

Although the US and Canadian national standards deal with the same physical phenomena and broadly similar objectives, they differ occasionally in technical detail. As part of the North American Free Trade Agreement(NAFTA) program, US and Canadian standards are slowly converging toward each other, in a process known as harmonization.

The service box includes a circuit breaker which can be used to shut off all the power in the house, or a switch with a handle located on the outside, and the service fuses inside. The cover on the service box is often sealed by the utility.

The service box may stand alone, although in modern homes, the service breaker is often incorporated into the service panel. In either case, it is important that the rating on the box itself, is at least as large as the service entrance cables and fuses or breakers inside. For example, if a house has service entrance wire and fuses rated for 100-amps, a box rated for only 60-amps is not acceptable. More than 60- amps flowing through this box may lead to overheating.

Every home should have a disconnect means so the system can be shut off. Working on a live electrical system is very dangerous. In the U.S. (and in some Canadian situations) it is permitted on existing installations to have up to six switches to disconnect all the house power.

To enable wires to be easily and safely identified, all common wiring safety codes mandate a colour scheme for the insulation on power conductors. In a typical electrical code, some colour-coding is mandatory, while some may be optional.
Service Boxes and Panels

In a conventional 60-amp service with circuit breakers, the breakers will trip when the current in either leg reaches 60-amps. Where fuses are used in the main service box, each fuse works independently. If more than 60-amps flows through one fuse it will blow. This leaves roughly half the house without power, including part of the electric stove, for example. If more than 60-amps flows through the other fuse, it too will blow, leaving the entire house without power.

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Smoke Detector Information


A smoke detector is a device that senses smoke, typically as an indicator of fire. Commercial security devices issue a signal to a fire alarm control panel as part of a fire alarm system, while household smoke detectors, also known as smoke alarms, generally issue a local audible or visual alarm from the detector itself.smoke-detector

Smoke detectors are housed in plastic enclosures, typically shaped like a disk about 150 millimeters (6 in) in diameter and 25 millimeters (1 in) thick, but shape and size vary. Smoke can be detected either optically (photoelectric) or by physical process (ionization), detectors may use either, or both, methods. Sensitive alarms can be used to detect, and thus deter, smoking in areas where it is banned. Smoke detectors in large commercial, industrial, and residential buildings are usually powered by a central fire alarm system, which is powered by the building power with a battery backup. Domestic smoke detectors range from individual battery-powered units, to several interlinked mains-powered units with battery backup; if any unit detects smoke, all trigger even in the absence of electricity.

Smoke detectors protect people by notifying them of fire in the home, especially when people are sleeping. They usually provide an audible alarm, and some have a visual alarm consisting of a flashing light.

Ionization Type Detectors

An ionization smoke detector uses a radioisotope, typically americium-241, to ionize air; a difference due to smoke is detected and an alarm is generated. Ionization detectors are more sensitive to the flaming stage of fires than optical detectors, while optical detectors are more sensitive to fires in the early smoldering stage.

The smoke detector has two ionization chambers, one open to the air, and a reference chamber which does not allow the entry of particles. The radioactive source emits alpha particles into both chambers, which ionizes some air molecules. There is a potential difference (voltage) between pairs of electrodes in the chambers; the electrical charge on the ions allows anelectric current to flow. The currents in both chambers should be the same as they are equally affected by air pressure, temperature, and the ageing of the source. If any smoke particles enter the open chamber, some of the ions will attach to the particles and not be available to carry the current in that chamber. An electronic circuit detects that a current difference has developed between the open and sealed chambers, and sounds the alarm.[15] The circuitry also monitors the battery used to supply or back up power, and sounds an intermittent warning when it nears exhaustion. A user-operated test button simulates an imbalance between the ionization chambers, and sounds the alarm if and only if power supply, electronics, and alarm device are functional. The current draw of an ionization smoke detector is low enough for a small battery used as sole or backup power supply to be able to provide power for months or years without the need for external wiring.

Carbon Dioxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide sensors detect potentially fatal concentrations of carbon monoxide gas, which may build up due to faulty ventilation where there are combustion appliances such as heaters and cookers, although there is no uncontrolled fire outwith the appliance.

High levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) may indicate a fire, and can be detected by a carbon dioxide sensor. Such sensors are often used to measure levels of CO2 which may be undesirable but not indicative of a fire; this type of sensor can also be used to detect and warn of the much higher levels generated by a fire. One manufacturer says that detectors based on CO2 levels are the fastest fire indicators, and also, unlike ionization and optical detectors, detect fires that do not generate smoke, such as those fueled by alcohol or gasoline. CO2 fire detectors are not susceptible to false alarms due to particles, making them particularly suitable for use in dusty and dirty environments.

Photoelectric Detectors
Photoelectric detectors have a small light source that normally misses a sensor that is set up out of the target area. Smoke particles deflect the light onto the sensor, creating an alarm. Photoelectric detectors are good at sensing smoky fires.

Not Heat Detectors
Smoke detectors are not heat detectors. High temperatures will not trigger smoke detectors.

Power Source
Smoke detectors require an electric power source from a battery, house voltage, or both. Batteries may be conventional alkaline type that last one to two years, or lithium type that can last 10 years. Battery powered detectors typically have a power indicator light that is permanently on or flashes intermittently. Most units emit a loud chirping sound every few seconds when the battery is low.

120 Volt Systems
Many authorities insist on smoke detectors powered by the house electrical system. These detectors don’t need batteries changed and can be connected to any junction box, like a light fixture. Smoke detectors are not usually on a dedicated circuit, but detectors should never be on a switched part of a circuit, so that they don’t get turned off accidentally.

Battery Backup
Some detectors operate on house power but have battery backup systems. The thinking is that a fire, especially if it’s electrical, may cut power to the detector before it can sound an alarm.

Interconnected Detectors
Many jurisdictions call for smoke detectors to be interconnected, so if one senses smoke, all will sound an alarm. This desirable arrangement is typically only found on newer homes. The interconnection most often uses conventional 120 volt house wiring (typically with 14 gauge, 3-conductor wire), but some are on a low voltage system.

Smoke detector location is a somewhat controversial issue. Everyone agrees there should be at least one detector in each home. There is also agreement that the detector should be near the sleeping area. Some say there should be a detector on every level of the home with sleeping quarters. Others say there should be a detector on every floor level, regardless.

Detectors In Bedrooms?
Some say there should also be detectors in bedrooms, rather than just in the hall ways. This protects people sleeping from a fire that starts in the bedroom. This is particularly helpful if the door is closed, because a detector in the hall may not sound quickly enough to save the person in the bedroom. One other recommendation is to ensure the detectors near sleeping areas are between the escape path and the bedrooms (not at the other end of the hall).

Humidity Can Cause False Alarms
Smoke detectors should not be in or adjacent to kitchens or bathrooms, since high humidity levels can cause false alarms.

Not In Corners
Smoke detectors should be installed on the ceiling because smoke rises. While some say on or near the ceiling, we prefer the detector to be away from wall /ceiling intersections, where dead air may delay activation. We prefer the detector to be near the middle of the room or hall width to help ensure early warning.

Testing Smoke Detectors

Test your smoke alarms regularly by pressing the test button or by using smoke from a smoldering incense stick.
Replace batteries regularly.  Install a new battery in each alarm at least once a year. All battery-operated smoke alarms are required to emit a warning sound, usually an intermittent “chirp” when the battery power is low. When warning chirp sounds, replace your battery immediately. Never wait. Change your batteries when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.  Smoke alarms do wear out, so if you think your alarms are more than 10 years old, replace them with new ones.  Newer smoke detectors start a dating mechanism as soon as activated.  Annoying chirping will start in 10 years so ensure you replace your parents or grandparents smoke detectors to prevent getting a call in middle of night 🙂


Central Station Alarms
Some smoke detectors are connected to central station alarm monitoring facilities. These central stations will respond to an alarm, typically by phoning the home and then sending the fire department, if they don’t get an immediate response from the occupants. This kind of alarm connection typically has the detectors in the home interconnected. These monitored detectors are commonly found in homes with security systems.



Wasaga Beach Home Inspector

The “Best” Wasaga Beach Home Inspector

Roger Frost is a  Professional Certified Wasaga Beach Home Inspector who has over 12 years of residential inspection experience. As a Certified Building Code Official Roger can use his knowledge of the Ontario Building Code  to assess your new home from roof to foundation.  He can also identify safety issues and describe the current condition of the property at the time of the Home Inspection.
Roger will walk personally walk you step-by-step through any deficiencies found. At the end of the inspection you will get a complete review of the inspection findings and will also supply a computerized report Wasaga Beach Home Inspector - Roger Frost

Roger Frost – Certified Home Inspector for Wasaga Beachcomplete with all pictures taken during inspection.

I encourage you to attend the Home Inspection or at least the final portion of the Home Inspection. This allows both of us to view any deficiencies and discuss appropriate actions to be taken to correct any items of concern.

Roger Frost personally guaranties that your Home Inspection will provide you with an objective, unbiased and detailed report on the condition of the home at the time of inspection. The Home Inspection report will help you make a final purchase decision.  All Wasaga Beach Home Inspections come with a 100% Money Back Guarantee.

A Wasaga Beach Home Inspection is the best way to protect yourself when buying a new home. Roger will evaluate and provide you with a report on the exterior and interior components of the home.
When inspecting your new property in Wasaga Beach we use a lot of equipment and tools to ensure you will receive the best available home inspection.

However, there is equipment I as A  Professional Certified Wasaga Beach Home Inspector need in order to perform a Complete Home Inspection.

Thermal Imaging Camera for infrared scanning of your entire home.

Moisture meter capable of detecting moisture in walls and ceilings.

4 ladders – 30 foot, 24 foot, articulating ladder, step ladder and telescoping ladder

Polarity electrical tester,  electrical load tester, camera, flash lights, drills, wrenches, screwdrivers, pry bars, shovels and humidity tester.

When choosing your home inspector in Wasaga Beach contact Roger Frost to receive a professional home inspection by a Certified Professional Home Inspector who is also a Certified Building Code Official

Wasaga Beach is a town located on the shores of Georgian Bay in Simcoe County, Ontario, Canada. Wasaga is situated along the longest freshwater beach in the world, it is a popular summer tourist destination, located along the southern end of Georgian Bay, approximately two hours north of Toronto, and neighbors, to the west, the town of Collingwood. Wasaga Beach is situated along 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) of sandy beach on Nottawasaga Bay and the winding Nottawasaga River.

Because Wasaga Beach has homes that are built along Georgian Bay and also the Nottawasaga River,  local expertise is a very valuable asset for your home inspector.   As a long time inspector and former resident of Wasaga Beach Roger Frost can protect your financial investment when purchasing a property.

Wasaga Beach - Certified Professional Inspector

Certified Professional Inspector for Wasaga Beach

Free Thermal Imaging is also included with every home inspection.  Infrared scanning can find hidden moisture, areas of heat loss, missing insulation and over heating electrical fixtures or cables.

Money Back Guarantee –  Roger Frost  offers a 100% Money Back Guarantee which is cheerfully refunded if you are not happy with your Wasaga Beach Home inspection for any reason.  This guarantee is good for 30 days after you take possession of your home.

Call Roger today,  The Wasaga Beach Home Inspector today for your next purchase.  PH.  705-795-8255

The Wasaga Beach Home Inspector  proudly serves clients in the Georgian Triangle area offering our exclusive home inspection services,infrared (IR) thermal imaging and mold & indoor air quality testing services to provide you with one of the most comprehensive, fully customize-able home inspection packages available on the market!

Call Roger at 705-795-8255  Or send Roger an email 

Barrie Home Inspection Certifiication

Home Inspection Certification

The Ontario Government is promising to introduce legislation this fall to require licensing for “HOME INSPECTORS”.  The initial legislation to license home inspectors was lost when the Ontario Government decided to Prorogue parliament causing any pending legislation to be discarded.  The Ontario Government has stated that they will re-introduce Home Inspector licensing this fall, hopefully the eventual licencing of home inspectors will be completed in a timely manner.   Many groups and organizations have invested time and resources to ensure a comprehensive level of qualifications will be required to obtain a Home Inspection License.

Currently it is proposed that an Independent Administrative Authority would be Barrie Home Inspectioncreated to establish to enforce the legislation and any required elements. This will ensure a minimum standard is set for home inspection reports, wording of contracts, inspection performance and any disclosures required.  Although no mention has been made of the relationship between home inspectors and real estate agents, hopefully they will address any issues related to Realtors trying to influence the home inspection process.

The home buyer will benefit from a standardized inspection process by someone who has the required qualifications and training to perform a professional home inspection. When a home buyer is making such a large financial decision it is only fair that he can rely on the expertise of the person hired to inspect his home.

Understanding the knowledge a professional home inspector requires is a good first step to knowing who you should hire to inspect your property.  To be a knowledgeable and professional home inspector you must be a fully trained generalist and able to understand how the building systems/components found in a home perform and wear out over time. These systems include items such as: structural components, exterior components, roofing, plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning, interior, insulation and ventilation. That’s why it’s so important to receive proper training/education and continue your education to stay abreast of the continuing changes in building requirements.  The Ontario Building Code will usually have a major update of building codes every five years and some yearly changes, all which can affect the results of your home inspection.   Is your home inspector up to date on his training and knowledge ?

After 4 years of Home Inspection licensing in B.C. the president of CAHPI had this to say about the affect of licensing on their home inspection industry:

“Therefore, under-trained and under-qualified individuals were being supplied with B.C. licenses, and able to enter people’s homes and provide assessments on a condo, a house, or a property, so long as they promised to get training and education at some future date. The shame is that the very people that B.C. government licensing was supposed to protect consumers from were being licensed through a loophole in the licensing regulation that has now allowed yet another out of province licensing body.”

We can only hope that Ontario has taken heed of the problems that B.C. and other provinces have encountered and avoid the same mistakes when setting up Ontario’s licensing process.  I think everyone always views Government Intervention with some trepidation,  we know the costs of home inspections will go up due to added government fees and possible new membership requirements.  Hopefully the newly created Home Inspection Board will come under the watchful eye of the Ontario Ombudsman, which will definitely bring some transparency to the process and ensure a level playing field for all.

The home buyer will end up being the “winner” if this process works,  and everyone should work hard to ensure the home buyer and his investment is always protected.

For any information regarding home inspections please contact The Barrie Home Inspector

Barrie Home Inspections Professional Training & Qualifications

Free Thermal Imaging with every Home Inspection

We can only hope that Doug Ford, as the new premier of Ontario will move this valuable consumer protection legislation forward.


WETT Inspections in Barrie & Simcoe County

WETT Inspections in Barrie

We provide same day service to clients in Barrie ON

If you require a Certified WETT Inspection of your Woodstove, Fireplace or Pellet stove call the Barrie WETT Inspector.

What is WETT ?   Wood Energy Technology Transfer is a Non-Profit education and WETT Inspections Barrietraining association dedicated to training individuals to perform a Certified Inspection of your Wood Burning appliance.

How Long is Wett Certified Inspection good for?   WETT Inc. has no time limits on the validity of your WETT Inspection report.  Your Home Insurance Company is the deciding factor and each company is different.   Some Insurance Companies will require a new WETT Certified Inspection when a home is purchased.  Many people are requested to obtain a new WETT inspection when changing Insurance Companies.   Check with your Insurance Company prior to changing to ensure your saving enough money to justify the cost of a WETT Inspection.

Some of the Items Checked during WETT Inspection

Chimney Cap and Liner –  Inspected for cracks or missing mortar
Smoke Chamber – checked for cleanliness and any openings or cracks.
Damper – checked for proper operation
Firebox – all seals and material are inspected for openings or damage
Hearth & Floor Protection –  Inspected and measured to ensure compliance
Flue Pipes & Venting – Correct installation and clearances verified
Clearances to Combustibles –  All required clearances are verified
Chimney Construction – All surfaces and supports are inspected
Raincaps – recommended for all clay flue chimney installations

Ensure your families “Peace of Mind” by having your “Wood Burning Appliance” inspected by a WETT Certified Inspector.

If you are purchasing a new home that has a Wood Burning Appliance you can take advantage of the Barrie Home Inspector’s discount of $100.00 when included as part of Home Inspection package.

That’s right!  Your WETT inspection is only $75.00 per appliance with Home Inspection package. Regular WETT Inspection fee is $175.00.

Visit the Barrie WETT Inspection website for useful information about installation or clearances required.