US Inspect US Inspect

Every try to untangle a large extension cord? Not easy is it? Now, imagine trying to do just that, when you can’t always see the full extent of the wires, under a floor, in a messy basement in-between floor joists… it’s not an easy task. Wiring in the home can easily be very tidy or very messy. It highly depends on the quality of work going into the home itself during initial construction or any home improvements that involve adding electrical elements in the new space, such as pocket lighting, outlets and more. A professional US Inspect Inspector will test all outlets and necessary functioning of major utilities such as sump pumps, major appliances and more.

Wiring

Examine all accessible areas of the residence for unsuitable wiring, lack of sufficient receptacles, use of extension cord wiring in lieu of permanent wiring, junction boxes or outlet boxes without covers, improper or unprotected splices, defective fixtures, and any other unsafe wiring practices.

 

Inspect all wet location areas, such as the basement, garage, and bathrooms and kitchens for proper wiring with GFCI devices. Depending on the age of the house, GFCIs may not be required. Code-related dates:

  • Exterior outlets below 6'6" - 1975
  • Bathrooms and powder rooms - 1975 and 1978
  • Garages - 1978 · Kitchens - within 6' of a sink -1987
  • Unfinished basements and crawl spaces - 1990
  • Wet bars - 1990
  • Roof - 1990
  • Kitchens -  1996
 

Check for wall switch controlled outlets in habitable rooms, bathrooms, hallways, stairwells, attached garages and outdoor entrance.

Operate all accessible wall switches. Check for current in accessible receptacles in each room. Check polarity in each accessible receptacle, and check for ungrounded circuits. Look for discolored, loose or worn switch plates or receptacle covers, and any other unsafe wiring concerns or problems. Look for Knob and Tube wiring, corroded or worn armored cable (BX) or defects in any other wiring that may exist. Look for missing or broken fixtures. There are a number of wiring types that qualify for wet locations, however, the most common type seen in residential construction is Underground Feeder (UF). This wire is acceptable for underground use, including direct burial in the earth. It should not be embedded in concrete or exposed to the sun, unless identified as sunlight-resistant. Check for approved weather-tight exterior boxes. Check that all exterior wiring is permanently marked sunlight-resistant. Underground Feeders are not approved for outside usage when exposed to the sunlight.

All interior/exterior boxes, fixtures and related electrical equipment should be properly secured.

Evaluating Electrical Wiring
Electric current travels through a circuit at a constant rate. Current travels at the speed of light, or 186,000 mps. (A light bulb remains at the same intensity the entire time that it is on. This indicates that the current must be the same, or the intensity of the bulb would change.) GFCIs also operate on the balance of current.

If an overload occurs in a circuit, the entire wire is instantly affected (or at the speed of light). Failure will be exhibited by the most vulnerable part of the wire, which is the insulation. It does not matter whether it is cloth or plastic. (The filament in a light bulb glows red hot, but it does not burn or fail since there is no oxygen in the bulb to support combustion.) If we were to wrap the hot filament in the bulb with wiring insulation, it would immediately melt and turn to ash. This would indicate that the insulation is more vulnerable than the conductor. If the conductor is exposed it is considered unacceptable. If the wire insulation is missing it is not difficult to conclude that the wire is in poor and unsafe condition.

To evaluate older wiring, follow the wiring in the basement until it goes into the walls or floor. If it changes from new to old wire, there may be concerns.

Wire and Cable Ampacities

AWG# COPPER COPPERCLAD AL OR ALUMINUM
18 Typically lampcord wiring and low voltage applications
16 Typically lampcord wiring and low voltage applications
14 15 Amps  
12 20 Amps 15 Amps
10 30 Amps 20 Amps
8 50 Amps 30 Amps
6 65 Amps 50 Amps
4 100 Amps 70 Amps
3 110 Amps 80 Amps
2 125 Amps 100 Amps
1 150 Amps 110 Amps
Jan-00 175 Amps 125 Amps
Feb-00 200 Amps 150 Amps
Mar-00   175 Amps
Apr-00   200 Amps
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