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Electrical Findings pt1

Here are some examples of electrical issues found during actual home inspections. All performed by Risley Home Inspections

Service entrance wires not installed without "drip loop". SE wires entering the mast head need to be arranged in a drip loop, to prevent allowing water to run down into panel.

Service entrance wire sheathing deteriorated. SE cables are rated for exterior use, although over time the sun's UV rays can make them become brittle. Ideally, the SE cables should be installed in metal conduit or service mast, to prevent this damage. This can also allow water to run down into panel causing corrosion.

Corrosion inside electrical panels

Water or moisture and electrical are not a good combination. Rust or corrosion inside electrical panels or at wire connections, compromises components and wiring from making solid connections which will increase resistance. Increased resistance can cause electrical components to overheat, posing a potential fire hazard. If you notice corrosion on or inside your electrical panel, contact a qualified electrician to evaluate.

NM branch wiring brittle and damaged at exterior panel. NM material wiring (sometimes referred to as Romex) is not rated for exterior use. The sun's UV rays and elements make the sheathing brittle and crack, exposing wires. The wires should be installed in conduit to prevent damage.

Wires double tapped into breakers & wires undersized. "Double tapping" refers to multiple wires terminated into one breaker. Some breaker types, such as Square D breakers can be rated for double tapping, these were not. Double tapping when not permitted, can allow wires to come loose over time due to expansion and contraction and can cause arcing. In this situation, the wires were also undersized for the 100 amp and 30 amp breakers. 30 amp breakers require at least a 10 gauge copper wire and 100 amp requires at least 2 gauge copper wire for branch circuits. Both these situations can cause overheating and potential fire hazards.

Open wire splices & junction boxes

Unfortunately, found in probably 90% of homes I inspect are open wire splices and junction boxes without cover plates. Typically found in the attic or crawlspace of the home. I suppose it is too much to ask to take the extra 20 seconds to install cover plates.. but these can also pose a potential fire hazard. Heat naturally flows through wiring from the current-causing natural expansion and contraction-which can cause the wire connections/splices to come loose and begin to arc around flammable materials in a home. All wire splices need to be installed in junction boxes WITH cover plates to avoid these hazards.

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