let’s talk: 5 THINGS I LEARNED BY ATTENDING MY ELECTRICAL INSPECTION
So I attended my first electrical inspection this week! Let me tell you, it was an eye opener. As in, I realized that I know NOTHING about it, and I hate that. So much so, that I am considering going to take trade school classes on the matter – TBD. Anyway, I wanted to share some of the learnings for those of us who are not electrical professionals but may have to deal with electrical issues in our own homes or investment properties.
So, as we do, let’s talk Real Estate, let’s talk 5 THINGS I LEARNED BY ATTENDING MY ELECTRICAL INSPECTION…
It is important to note that every city may have variances but MOST local codes follow the National Electrical Code (NEC).
#1 GFCI OUTLETS
What are they?
Okay so in all fairness I did know what this was and where they needed to be (kind of) BUT I also learned a ton more on the matter. Quick background, a GFCI is a ground fault circuit interrupter. They’re protective devices used to break the circuit anytime there is an imbalance in the incoming vs outgoing currents. They are used to protect outlets from overheating and can minimize the risk of shock, fire and even damages to your appliances.
Where do I use them?
They are MOST important in areas that are subject to moisture, aka kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, garages and any outdoor outlets. All countertop receptacles and any receptacle within 6 feet of a sink must also be GFCI protected. They should also be used on temporary wiring system during construction and on any single phase outlets of 125 volts.
In the required areas mentioned above, does every outlet need to have a GFCI on the physical exterior receptacle?
No! This was news to me. As long as lines are tied, aka two outlets are working together, you only need a GFCI on one of the outlets. So for example, in my kitchen, I have two outlets near my stove, one on either side, and only one of them has a GFCI cover on because they are both tied together. So the GFCI essentially covers both outlets.
How long do they last?
It is recommenced that they are tested monthly, and replaced every decade.
#2 DEDICATED CIRCUITS
What is a dedicated circuit?
A dedicated circuit serves one fixture or appliance. Let me give an example of where you might use one of these. Our bathrooms in our most recent project had a vent/fan/light all in one. Code states that vent fans with built in heaters must be on their own dedicated circuit and cannot be tied to another outlet or fixture. Other items that requires dedicated circuits are stove/oven ranges, dishwashers, disposals, microwaves and refrigerators.
#3 LABEL, LABEL, LABEL… EVERYTHING
It is critical to label everything on your circuit boxes and meters. Maybe this is obvious for some people but it seemed like such a small thing to me! However, you can literally fail an inspection of your box is not labeled.
#4 ELECTRICAL METERS & HOW TO SET THEM UP
So a quick overview on our project. We turned a single family home into a duplex. Part of that process involved ALL new wiring AND the installation of new meters. The new meter thing – I thought my electrician handled BUT I learned that I could actually take on this task. AND I also learned that if I did not do it ASAP, that the company could literally come around and cut my lines and I would have to redo a good portion of the work.
Now, every area is different but here is what you need to do in Philadelphia.
(1) Hire am licensed electrician run your new wiring
(2) Order rough-in inspection with licensed inspector
(3) Licensed inspector submits a cut card to PECO
(4) As the owner, you can call PECO, and submit an application for new service.
Hint: you will need to know the amps, number of meters you property requires, AND have your meters labeled if there is more than one unit.
(5) Schedule a time for PECO to come install the meters and you are done!
#5 DISTANCE BETWEEN EACH OUTLET
The U.S. the National Electrical Code states the following:
“In Entries, Hallways, and Habitable Rooms no point on the wall should be more than 6 feet from a receptacle. So going around the room you need one at least every 12 feet, and you need one within 6 feet of a door.”
The only instance where this is not true is in the kitchen. All countertop receptacles should be placed no more than 4 feet apart.
I HAVE A TON MORE TO LEARN ON THIS SO PLEASE REMEMBER THAT I AM NOT A SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT OR ELECTRICAL PROFESSIONAL. HOWEVER THESE ARE THE TOP ITEMS OF DISCUSSION THAT STUCK OUT TO ME THE MOST DURING THE WALKTHROUGH – SO I THOUGHT I WOULD SHARE!
ARE THERE ANY ELECTRICIANS ON HERE WANT TO SHARE SOME THINGS THEY THINK WE SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR?! HAS ANYONE ON HERE TAKEN ANY CLASSES ON ELECTRICAL WIRING?!
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p.p.s. if you are looking for an online class to help boost your social media presence – check out http://www.gogosbootcamp.com I have personally done this class and found it super helpful!
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Me – this is based on my own personal experience!