ELECTRICAL

SERVICE DROP & ENTRANCE WIRES PROBLEMS

  • Overhead wires too low, to close to doors and windows - the wires should out of reach of people, and safely above places where they may be hit by vehicles, ladders and other equipment. Wires running over a flat roof that is used as a walking surface should be 10 feet above the roof. Otherwise, wires should be 8 feet above the roof. If the roof has a slope greater than 4 in 12, the wires have to be only 3 feet above the roof. Wires should be 3 feet away from the sides, bottom and in front of windows and doors.
  • Wires not well secured to the house, poor connection between the service drop and service entrance. 
  • Trees interfering with wires.
  • Damaged or frayed wires.
  • Missing drip loop
Missing drip loop
  • Missing drip loop - The primary purpose of the drip loop is to prevent water that runs down the service drop from getting into the service mast and ultimately into the service panel).
  • Wires not well secured to the house, poor connection between the service drop and service entrance.
  • Trees interfering with wires.
  • Damaged or frayed wires.

DISTRIBUTION PANELS PROBLEMS

60 amps. service

 

 

  • 60 amps. service. Most homes today have a 100 or 200 amp service. But some still have only a 60 amp service. Sixty amps is not enough to service a home with an electric stove, oven, clothes dryer and air conditioner. Even if home operates safely with a 60 amp service, the problem lies in insuring the home: many insurance companies will not insure a home with a 60 amp service.

 

Scorched breakers
  • Poor panel acces or location - The area 30 inches to 3 feet in front of the panel (box) should not be obstructed. Service panels should not be in bathrooms and kitchens (shock hazard), clothes closets (fire hazard), or stairwells.

 

  • Unprotected openings at panel - A person could be electrocuted putting their finger in the hole while fumbling in the dark to re-set a tripped breaker.

 

  • Overheating, loose connections - Where there are loose connections, overloading, over fusing or damaged conductors, wires may overheat.

 

  • Incorrect main fuse or breaker size - Fuses or breakers that are too small will shut off the house electricity although the system is still safe. Oversized fuses or breakers will not shut off electricity when the current levels become dangerous. Fire and electrical shock afre possible.

 

  • Rust or water in panel - Water may enter the panel through the service entrance conduit or high humidity levels in the area of the panel.

 

  • Circuits not labeled.

 

  • Panel not suitable for use with aluminum wires - Where aluminum wiring is used in a panel, the panel should be rated for use with aluminum.

 

  • Double taps - Term for attaching two wires to a single fuse or breaker (risk of a poor connection).

GROUNDING PROBLEMS

Grounding and bonding are frequently confused. Let's start with a simple way to separate them:

Grounding is the act of connecting something to the ground (earth), so it has zero electrical potential. Everything that is grounded is connected to ground and can have no electrical energy stored in it.

Bonding is simply the act of joining two electrical conductors together. They may be two wires or a wire and a pipe.

 

Proper grounding of your electrical system is essential to your safety. Electricity always follows the path of least resistance, and that path could be you whenever an appliance or another electrical component is not grounded.

Grounding directs electrical energy into the earth by providing a conductor that is less resistant than you are. This is accomplished by attaching one end of the wire to the frame of an appliance and fastening the other end to a coldwater pipe. Most plastic-coated electrical cable contains a bare wire, which carries the grounded connection to every electrical box, receptacle, and appliance in your home. You can usually tell whether your electrical system is grounded by checking the receptacles. If you have the kind that accepts plugs with two blades and one prong, your system should have three wires, one of which is a grounding wire. The prong carries the safety ground to the metal frame of any appliance that has a three-wire plug and cord.

An appliance's metal frame can pose a safety hazard to you and your family. If a power cord's insulation wears away just at the point where the cord enters the metal frame, contact between the metal current conductor and the metal frame could make the whole appliance alive with electricity. Touching a charged metal frame of the appliance while simultaneously touching a water faucet or a radiator will make the current surge through you.

 

 

 

  • No grounding.
  • Ground wire attached to plastic or abandoned pipes.
  • Ground wire after meters and valves.
  • Loose, poor connections.
  • Ground rod cut off.
  • Ground wire corroded, undersized.
  • Service box not bonded to grounding wire.

Wires and junction boxes problems

  • Damaged, loose, not well connected.
  • Open splices.
  • Exposed wires on walls, ceilings, in attics.
  • Wire run under carpet.
  • Indoor cables used outdoors.
  • Buried cable not rated for buried use.
  • Undersized wires.
  • Abandoned wires.
  • Wires buried in insulation.
  • Knob and tube conditions.
  • Aluminum wire condition - connectors not compatible with aluminum, no anti-oxidant ion stranded wires, overheating.
  • Junction boxes - open, loose, missing, damaged, not grounded, crowded, concealed.

Outlets problems

  • Damaged, worn, missing.
  • Overheating.
  • Ungrounded.
  • Open neutral or hot connections.
  • Revarse polarity.
  • Inoperative.
  • Wrong type.
  • No GFCIs.
  • Not enough outlets.
  • Broken pin or blade in slot.
  • Too far from basins.
  • Outlets too close to bathtubs or showers.
  • Outlets in floors or in countertops.
  • Outlets above electric baseboard heaters.
  • Outlets within 18 inches of the garage flooor.

Lights problems

Conventional light use in vet area

 

  

 

  • Damaged, loose.
  • Overheating, inoperative.
  • Not grounded.
  • Exposed wires.
  • Poor stairway lighting.
  • Conventional lights use in vet areas.
  • Improper closet lights - missing covers.
  • Heat lamps over doors.
  • Missing isolating links on pull chains.

 

 

Switches problems

  • Damaged, loose, overheating.
  • Inoperative.
  • Poor location in bathrooms.
  • Faulty 3-way switches.
  • Dimmer switches without positive shut off.