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    Lights out- Three way switches. Wenatchee and Quincy WA Home Inspection services.

    One thing I try to do during a home inspection is to test that the 3 (and 4 or 5) way light switches have been wired correctly, or should I say working correctly (I actually do not see the wiring).

    It is not all that uncommon to find that someone has not performed this correctly, mainly in older homes.

                                         Light out on 3 way circuit  Wenatchee Home Inspection

    This seems to be one of those items that can confuse many DIY’ers. It really is pretty simple but you must understand how the "3 way" circuit works.

    Hold on Mr. Home Inspector, why are they called "3-way circuits" when I have only 2 switches?

    Well friends this has a bit of history to it. This goes back to the days of yore, to the days of Mr. Edison when this new trade of electrician comes into being and one way they would bid the job is by “drop points”.  A drop point could be a switch, a junction or a load point etc... So a regular switch would have 1 switch and one load, or known as a “2 way” switch.  So then we add that second switch and now we have 2 switches and 1 load and the term “3 way” comes into play. Makes sense right?

    In simple terms a 3-way circuit is a lighting circuit that allows a light fixture to be controlled by two wall switches in different locations. They do this by switching the hot wire (load) toward the light on two alternate wires called "travelers".  The heart of this circuit is the 3-way switches.

    Now there are several ways to “skin the 3 way cat” but I will show the most common way.

    3 way switch variations

                               3 way light circuit Quincy WA Home Inspection
    As you can see in this illustration we have the hot wire (black) come into the first 3-Way switch then we have two travelers leaving the switch going to the next 3-Way switch then a single wire out to the light. The neutral (white) is spliced and travels independently to the light to complete the circuit.

    What makes this more complicated for many is just where the light is placed in the wiring system but the principle is exactly the same.

    There are also 4-way, 5-way, and 10-way circuits. These really are just the same except we place 4-way switches between the two 3-way switches in the circuit.

                                    4 way light circuit Quincy WA Home Inspections

    Now wasn’t that easy?

    But in all reality if you do not understand how these systems work you are much better off hiring a professional. Electricity can kill or burn your home down.

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair


    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service
    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                              509-670-9572


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    Neat, Neat, Neat, yeah it is suppose to be Neat. Mechanical Execution of Work.

    Wenathcee Home Inspections

     

    As home inspectors we see a lot of messes. It is not uncommon see stuff in various levels of disarray.  

     

    Just a bit messy



    But messy when it comes to electrical work is a bit troubling.

     

     

    From the 2014 NEC (National Electrical Code)

     

    “110.12 Mechanical Execution of Work

    Electrical equipment shall be installed in a neat and workmanlike manner.

     

    So it actually code to do neat work, but one persons neat is not anothers, and now it gets into interpretation of what is neat and workmanlike.

     

      

    This is the right way

     

    I was helping a good friend of mine pulling wires, who happens to be a master electrician, and I did not run a cable as neatly as he wanted and expected. He wanted all of his run perfectly parallel.  He looks at me and says redo it, this is my job and I when someone comes after me I want them to know that a professional was here.

     

    “This is Neat”

     

    As a professional you should achieve and try to exceed the standards of education and training that is required of that profession. Most professions have ethical and moral obligation of their particular field that are typically agreed upon and maintained through professional associations.

     

    I remember when I was younger and trying to be a professional musician my manager stating “it easy to be good when you are on, a pro is good when he is not on”. This is something I have carried with me. You want to be very good on your bad days because that is the sign of how good of a professional you are.

     

     

    Here is the crux of the matter with electrical work.  Poor workmanship has a much higher probability of failure and when you see poor workmanship this question always comes to mind “What can’t I see?”.

     

    From the 2014 NEC Handbook-

     

    “Field observations and trade magazine articles indicate that electrical connection failures are the cause of many equipment burnouts and fires. Many of these failures are attributable to improper terminations, poor workmanship, the differing characteristics of dissimilar metals, and improper binding screws or splicing devices.”

     

    I find it unfortunate that so many are willing to except the “it will do” attitude. If well all expect a higher level workmanship and professionalism then it will happen. When we just expect “it will do” that is what we will get, it will just do… maybe.



    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572



    You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.


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  • 11/25/14--23:52: Being watched by Uncle Buck.
  • Being watched by Uncle Buck             Okanogan Home Inspections

     

    During a home inspection in Winthrop, WA I was treated to some spectacular views. Sometimes being a home inspector has its perks.

     

     

    All through the day I found I was being watched by a local resident.





    There was this Buck with several Does around just hanging out and enjoying the views also. They obviously were very comfortable and not shy. I guess no one is hunting up in this area.



     

    I love this photo I caught the buck with his tongue out.



     

    I can only think Uncle Buck approved of me being there.







    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572



    You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.

     


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    Fresh Idea for Hot tubs, the Freshrain system- Maintenance free water treatment system

    I just did a blog on hot tubs and some of the electrical requirements.My baby gets a Hot Tub- An adventure in hot tub-ing!

    Once we deciding to go down the “Hot Tub” path again I started looking at ways to minimize the maintenance that is associated with hot tubs.

    We had an older tub before and it was truly painful to keep the tub properly PH-ed, shocked etc, etc… I found I was playing with chemistry constantly to keep the water clear and properly balanced.

                                                           Freshrain
    I have also found that I have become more sensitive to bromine and chloride in my advanced old age.

    Hot tubs if not properly maintained are a perfect little breeding ground for many bacteria such as Legionnaire’s Disease. Here are a couple articles on hot tubs and bacterial growth that anyone that has a hot tub should read.

    A Risky Soaking: Study Shows Whirlpool Water Can Be Dangerous
    Know the Hidden Dangers in Hot Tubs

    So what to do?

    Well after looking as several options we went with the FreshRain system.

    The Freshrain system uses free oxygen from the air as the chemical treatment source for the water. And I do not have to add a thing to the system, yes you heard me right… no pH-ing, no shocking, NO BROMINE/CHLORINE!

    From Freshrain-
    “As air is introduced through the patented Vapor Ion Plasma generator, the individual oxygen molecules are momentarily split into two oxygen atoms, as in an electrical storm. The patented VIP technology immediately cause these highly charged atoms to link up and form highly charged cluster molecular negative ions (O2-) and continue to build up a very strong negative charge in the hot tub water.”

    “When the highly ionized oxygen molecules are injected into your spa water (H2O) they quickly form safe levels of hydrogen peroxides (H2O2), hydroxides (OH) and peroxyls (-HO2). These cleaning agents de-toxify contaminants in your spa water.”

    “The ionized oxygen continues to carry such a strong negative charge throughout the hot tub water that it coagulates pollutants, dead solid materials and heavy metals into large particles that can be easily filtered out. When we add the electrostatic filter, a lot of the charged particles are going to get caught in the filter.”

                                      Vapor Ion Plasma Generator

    Some of the other benefits of the system is that you are not adding chemicals to the water your Hot Tub which can be hard on the plastics and acrylics so your tub will age better.

    Freshrain also boast that the system will clean your spa’s surfaces and pipes without scrubbing, De-emulsifies oils, from your body, suntan oils and lotions that may be on you when you enter the tub and oxidizes and removes those contaminates that are the main cause of scaling.

    So the maintenance now relies on cleaning the filters weekly since is now the main and only maintenance that needs to be performed. I have bought a second set of filters to swap out to make it easier.

    I will be reporting later this system and if I think it is really worth it. Let me be your guinea pig!

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair


    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Orville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…   
       
    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


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    I think you need to be a groupie… Grouping of conductors in MWBC- Wenatchee Home Inspections

     

    It is very common to find multiwire branch circuits (MWBC) in homes, especially newer homes.  A multiwire branch circuit is where you have two or more hot/line conductors (ungrounded conductors) sharing a common neutral (grounded conductor).

     

    We can argue the merits of this type of wiring in residential, you find those who like them and those who do not.

     

    But as home inspectors and electrical inspectors it often hard to tell if  the hot conductors (ungrounded conductors) have been properly landed on opposing buses.




    What leg are they on?

     

    This is important because if both hot conductors are on the same buss/leg the currents on the neutral conductor will add up versus canceling each other out which could possibly overload the neutral conductor.



    We do not want a neutral looking like this




    The Code requirement of grouping of conductors came into effect in the 2008 NEC code cycle to help address identification of conductors associated with a circuit.

    From the 2014 NEC

    210.4 Multiwire Branch Circuits

    (D) Grouping.

    The ungrounded and grounded circuit conductors of each multiwire branch circuit shall be grouped by cable ties or similar means in at least one location within the panelboard or other point of origination.

     

    Exception: The requirement for grouping shall not apply if the circuit enters from a cable or raceway unique to the circuit that makes the grouping obvious or if the conductors are identified at their terminations with numbered wire markers corresponding to the appropriate circuit number.





    In the 2014 NEC  there was an new addition to grouping requirements.

     

    200.4 Neutral Conductors

     

    (B) Multiple Circuits.

    Where more than one neutral conductor associated with different circuits is in an enclosure, grounded circuit conductors of each circuit shall be identified or grouped to correspond with the ungrounded circuit conductor(s) by wire markers, cable ties, or similar means in at least one location within the enclosure.

    Exception No. 1: The requirement for grouping or identifying shall not apply if the branch-circuit or feeder conductors enter from a cable or a raceway unique to the circuit that makes the grouping obvious.

     

    Exception No. 2: The requirement for grouping or identifying shall not apply where branch-circuit conductors pass through a box or conduit body without a loop as described in 314.16(B)(1) or without a splice or termination.

     

    This requirement expands on the requirements in section 210.4 that grounded conductors must be grouped with ungrounded conductors of the same circuit.

     

    2014 NEC section 200.4 requires the neutrals (grounded conductor) to be grouped with the Hot/Line (ungrounded conductors) of the same circuit in any enclosure. This may be a wireway, gutter or junction box. NEC Section 210.4 applies only to panelboards or where the circuit originates.

     

    Proper identification makes it easier for those evaluating these circuits.



    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572



    You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.


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    Caulk Talk, What’s your number?                                    East Wenatchee Home Inspections

     

    I love when I get the phone call “ Are you the Home Inspector who inspected the home at Blankity Blank place?” ... “Well yes, yes I am”.

     

    So this is basically the phone call I received recently from a local plumber. The worst of it was I was not mentally prepared and caught a bit off guard. I hate when I not in the right frame of mind.

     

    Frame of Mind

     

    He starts off telling me he has been a plumber for 17 years (or was it 27 years,  I cannot really remember other than it had a 7 and it was not just a 7) and he never has caulked toilets. He then went on to explain why caulking toilets was a bad idea. Here is where my brain fart comes in, he goes on to tell me it is not code and I do not know why this comes up.

     

    I replied nicely why I thought it was a good idea and gave my reasons why. We actually ended up having a very nice conversation. But the whole time I was thinking to myself, I sure thought it was a code requirement, but at that very moment I had doubt so I did not press it.

     

    As soon as we hang up I go to my codes books and look it up, sure enough it is code, like I had thought.



     

    From the 2012 UPC- (Universal Plumbing Code which is what Washington uses)

     

    402.2 Joints. Where a fixture comes in contact with the wall or floor, the joint between the fixture and the wall or floor shall be made watertight.

     

    In lay terms typically “caulked”.



    It is also in the 2012 IRC (Residential Code)

     

    P2705.1 General.

    The installation of fixtures shall conform to the following:

     

    3.Where fixtures come in contact with walls and floors, the contact area shall be watertight.

     

    A plumbing fixture is an exchangeable device which can be connected to an existing plumbing system to deliver and drain away water but which is also configured to enable a particular use.




    Caulk them toilets




    This is why so often when doing a home inspection and we require a “Qualified Whomever” to do the work it not necessarily a guarantee of anything. This was a minor issue and not a big deal but not correct.

     

    Now in defense of all of the contractors out there is a ton of things to know and we all make mistakes and get to eat a little humble pie here and there, especially yours truly (I like to eat ;).  But doing something for 7, 17 or 27 years and have it brought up and never go find out if it really is required or not is not an encouraging sign.

     

    I have found that I often have to revisit information. I have to ensure that one, it was correct, and two that what was once there has not changed. This is a constant challenge.

     

    There is so much to know for any of the trades let alone inspectors. But that is our task we have accepted when doing our appointed work and being professionals.

     

    “We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.”

     

    John Archibald Wheeler

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572



    You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.





    0 0

    SO, SO, SO…. SO Cables East Wenatchee Home Inspections

     

    When it comes to electrical installations most of the materials used have a rating, marking and purpose.  Since electricity has an innate ability to kill and catch things on fire there are quite a bit of rules involved to keep it as safe as possible.

     

    With that said I can use many various other materials and make a electrical circuit and have it work just fine, but how safe is it? If I am not using materials that are specifically designed for that purpose we have an increased risk in either durability or safety.



    Pipe Dream

     

    For instance I could take two copper plumbing pipes and connect them to the electrical system and make them my conductors and bingo I have circuit and I could light a bulb at the other end. The copper pipes are great conductors and will efficiently carry that current needed to serve my mechanical purpose.

     

    Almost all of you would know this is not a great idea, and most would know that this is not allowed by codes.  This does not remove the fact it will work, and work pretty well, but we have now removed quite a bit of safety from this installation.

     

    Now why all this rambling? Because often I see where people in their homes use materials in a fashion they are not designed for. Often people have some cables or wire that they think will work just fine for a given purpose.  Yes in many cases they work just fine but depending on the material.  The material and installation will dictate the potential risk and durability involved of that specific installation.

     

     

    So here is a great example. On a recent home inspection I find what is called “SO” cable used as branch wiring and feeders. This specific cable is a 10/4 “SO” cable.



    Wiring in crawlspace




    This type of cable/cord has it purpose and you may see it in some applications such as an attachment plugs, pendants, wiring of lights (luminaires) or areas for use where there may be an issue with the transmission of noise or vibration etc… It is not to be used as fixed wiring or in an underground application as it was used on this home.

     

    SO Cable with plugs

     

    This is obviously a sign of unprofessional work and improper use of materials. Again it does work but it is not right and carries a greater risk.

     

    Feeder to storage/shop

     

    Here are two code references on markings and uses not permitted based on the 2014 NEC-

     

    400.6 Markings

     

    (A) Standard Markings.

    Flexible cords and cables shall be marked by means of a printed tag attached to the coil reel or carton. The tag shall contain the information required in 310.120(A). Types S, SC, SCE, SCT, SE, SEO, SEOO, SJ, SJE, SJEO, SJEOO, SJO, SJT, SJTO, SJTOO, SO, SOO, ST, STO, STOO, SEW, SEOW, SEOOW, SJEW, SJEOW, SJEOOW, SJOW, SJTW, SJTOW, SJTOOW, SOW, SOOW, STW, STOW, and STOOW flexible cords and G, G-GC, PPE, and W flexible cables shall be durably marked on the surface at intervals not exceeding 610 mm (24 in.) with the type designation, size, and number of conductors. Required markings on tags, cords, and cables shall also include the maximum operating temperature of the flexible cord or cable.

     

    400.8  Uses Not Permitted

    Unless specifically permitted in 400.7, flexible cords and cables shall not be used for the following:

    • As a substitute for the fixed wiring of a structure

    • Where run through holes in walls, structural ceilings, suspended ceilings, dropped ceilings, or floors

    • Where run through doorways, windows, or similar openings

    • Where attached to building surfaces

     

    So when doing home inspection I am looking for improper use of materials that could affect the durability of the home and safety of my clients.

     

    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572



    You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.


    0 0

    It really is the pits-  Zinsco Panels

     

    There are documented issues with Federal Pacific Panel (FPE) and the associated issues with their breakers and how the the Stab-Lok breaker attaches to the buss. The other infamous panel is the Zinsco (which I have written on before).

     

    (Zinsco split bus mains)

     

    I see a few Zinsco Panels each year, about two to three times as many as FPE’s.  Yet I physically see more issues with the Zinsco panels even though I see fewer of them overall than the other major panel manufacturers such as Cutler Hammer or Square D of the same age.

     

    Here is are a couple of examples that I see with the Zinsco Panel.  Pitting and arcing damage to the bus bars, most likely a poor connection and/or corrosion on the bus. This condition seems to be more prevalent on panels with the aluminum bus bar





    There are indications and some reports that the plating and/or quality of the aluminum used on the bus bar lacked good quality control which lead to issues on these bus systems. Add to this the bus design where moving the breakers up and down could wear the plating on the bus.

    ( Zinsco Breakers )

     

    Another observation I see quite often is the breakers shifting on the bus bar. Loose connection on any electrical component is not good. A loose connection results in higher resistance which equals increased heat at the connection point. There is speculation that the clip design on the breaker may have something to do with this.

     

    ( Breakers shifting on bus )

     

    Melting of a bus from poor connections can happen with any panel but my anecdotal observation is that it happens in a greater frequency with these panels because of the bus design and is compounded on those Zinsco panels with the aluminum bus components. Remember older panels of any make may be close to obsolescence for several reasons.

     

    This is why a thorough evaluation should be performed on any of these panels whether there is any obvious signs or not.

     



    Above is another reason to look because some of the issues of these breakers.



    Washington State Standards of Practice requires Home Inspectors to report on electrical panel that are known to be problematic.

     

    Washington State Administrative Code - WAC 308-408C-110       Electrical system.

    (h)Report-  on any circuit breaker panel or subpanel known within the home inspection profession to have safety concerns



    Here is a link to one insurance company document- “Risk Alert

     

    Electrical panels and their associated overcurrent protection are at the heart of the electrical system and the main safety components. Though the level of risk will vary from home to home anyone with these panels should consider replacing these panels.



    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572



    You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.


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  • 12/24/14--00:32: Happy Holidays To All
  • Happy Holidays To All



    This is a time for family and friends. May we all have a safe and joyous season, take time to tell those who are close to you how you feel and love them. We all have a limited time to share with each other.

     

    Remember…

    ” Treat every day as if it were your last for one day you will be right”




     

    This is my mom and me. The last time I got to play Santa for her.




    “The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”

    Audrey Hepburn



    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572



    You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.


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    Travel log Tuesday- Stories from Stockholm

     

    Here is another story from my Travels in Sweden.

     

    Leaving Wenatchee in the heat of the summer (100+ degrees) and fire season for Sweden seemed even better because we would get a little reprieve from the heat and smoke.  But as luck would have it we would arrive in Sweden during a heatwave (for Sweden that is, it still felt cooler though).

     

     

    The first part of our Journey starts off in Stockholm. Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and has over 900,000 residence. There is over 2 million people in metropolitan Stockholm.  

     

    The main part of Stockholm is built on 14 islands connected by some 50 bridges. The waterways are part freshwater and part saltwater where Lake Mälaren merges into the Baltic Sea.

     

     

    Like several coastal cities in northern Europe many people live on their boats.



     

    An option for staying in the city is one of several floating hotels or hostels (ship below). We thought about this before we arrived in Stockholm but opted for a regular room that was very nice, but after seeing a few of these we thought how much fun would that be.

     

     

    But one of my favorite area was the old town… Gamla Stan. This area dates back to the 13 century. It has that classic European feel.

     

               

    Streets and Alleys

     

    Tyska kyrkan (The German Church)

     

        

    The Royal Guard at the Palace

     

    But in Stockholm is really is about being on the water. My wife and I did a boat tour called “Under the Bridges”. It was about a 2 hour narrated excursion around the town. I would highly recommend this if you ever get to visit the city. So relaxing yet you learn so much about the history of the city.  Nice to sightsee with a little cheese and beverages if you know what I mean.



     

     

     

    There is more to tell about our adventure. But I will save that for another time. So I will leave you with this Swedish Proverb.

     

    “Bättre lyss till den sträng som brast än aldrig spänna en båge.”

    Translation- “Better listen to a broken string than never having bent a bow.”

     

    And as always a travel quote-

     

    “To travel is to take a journey into yourself.”

    Danny Kaye

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572

     

    You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.


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    Here is a beauty from the land of home inspections.

                                       Firex - Fire Grenade

    On a recent home inspection I came across a very interesting item. This is a Fire Grenade made by Firex.

    These fire grenades could be used by throwing the grenade at the base of the fire or like this one had a fused link.

                                        Throw your grenade

    In this particular grenade the chemical in the grenade would be vaporized and extinguished the flames by inhibiting the chemical chain reaction of the combustion process via oxygen removal.

    The chemical in the grenade, carbon tetrachloride, was appropriate for both liquid and electrical fires. It was a common chemical used in extinguishers from the early 20th century to about the 1950’s.  CTC was also used as a dry cleaning agent and as a refrigerant.

    There was one small issue though. The chemical carbon tetrachloride is toxic and acute exposures cause damage to the nervous system and internal organs. Another issue is that when CTC is exposed to heat it forms phosgene gas, more commonly known as “Nerve Gas”.

    The fire may be out but so are you.

    "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur..."

    Red Adair

     

    “Inspecting the World-One Home at a time”


    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Orville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…                             
    NCW Home Inspections LLC-509-670-9572

    Fire! Grab Your Grenades- Chelan and Wenatchee Home Inspection


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    Happy New Year, Preparedness... a good time to give it a thought.

     



    Those of us that live in the Pacific Northwest we have a few things to think about, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Tsunamis oh my. Then throw in a Chemical release just for fun.

     

     

    I spent 15 plus years as an emergency responder and HazMat technician and we prepared for earthquakes and disasters because it was not if, it was when.

     



    I happened to be in an Emergency Response Team meeting in Seattle when we were hit with the Nisqually Earthquake. Nothing like having most of your emergency team in one room in a brick building in downtown Seattle.





    Here is a great document from the Washington State Emergency Management. Take time to look it over it has some great things to think about.

     

    http://mil.wa.gov/uploads/pdf/Publications/develop%20an%20action%20plan%20pdf.pdf




    “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”

    Peter Drucker

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572



    You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.





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    Insulating the Hot Water pipes- IECC and Washington State Amendment.

     

    I know I have been on a kick with the energy code of late. But with the adoption of the 2012 IRC and IECC I need to keep abreast of these changes when I am doing phase inspections and new construction inspections.



                                       

                                                   (Typical R-3 Insulation)

     

    The 2012 energy code (International Energy Conservation Code/IECC) is catching up to what Washington State has had in place. But  there will always be some challenges.

     

    In the energy code (IECC) there is a requirement for insulating hot water service piping but had these qualifiers per R403.4.1 and table R403.4.2.

     

    The 2012  IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) states this for hot water pipe insulation-

    R403.4 Service hot water systems.

    Energy conservation measures for service hot water systems shall be in accordance with Section R403.4.2.

     

    R403.4.2 Hot water pipe insulation (Prescriptive).

    Insulation for hot water pipe with a minimum thermal resistance (R-value) of R-3 shall be applied to the following:

    1. Piping larger than 3/4 inch nominal diameter.

    2. Piping serving more than one dwelling unit.

    3. Piping from the water heater to kitchen outlets.

    4. Piping located outside the conditioned space.

    5. Piping from the water heater to a distribution manifold.

    6. Piping located under a floor slab.

    7. Buried piping.

    8. Supply and return piping in recirculation systems other than demand recirculation systems.

    9. Piping with run lengths greater than the maximum run lengths for the nominal pipe diameter given in Table R403.4.2.

     

    All remaining piping shall be insulated to at least R-3 or meet the run length requirements of Table R403.4.2.

     

    TABLE R403.4.2 MAXIMUM RUN LENGTH (feet)a

     

    Nominal Pipe Diameter of Largest Diameter Pipe in the Run (inch)

    3/8

    1/2

    3/4

    > 3/4

    Maximum Run Length

    30

    20

    10

    5

     

    Washington State found this too confusing and made it simpler and amended this code provision. So Washington State’s rule is that all hot water piping will need to be insulated, that is in conditioned and unconditioned spaces.

     

    Link Below to  Washington State Amendment-

    WAC# 51-11R-40340

    Then there was an amendment to the amendment to reduce the insulation value from R-4 to R-3 so you can use the normal insulation which is rated at R-3.

     

    (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/laws/wsr/2013/23/13-23-095.htm )



                            

                                                          (R-4.5 Insulation)

    There are R 4 to R 5 insulations out there but R 3 is the most common.



                                       

                                                                ( R-5 Insulation)



    “If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

    Red Adair

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572




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    The future is now, Dual function AFCI/GFCI Breakers.        East Wenatchee Home Inspections

     

    Depending on what electrical code cycle you are in you will most likely start to see the new dual function Arc Fault/Ground Fault breakers (AFCI/GFCI). The only ones I have seen so far are by Square D (They are designated with a purple test button). I am sure the other major manufacturers are not far behind.

     

    So on recent home inspections of new homes I saw my first panels with the new Dual function breakers installed.




    AFCI/GFCI breaker



    Where these come in handy is that per the 2014  National Electrical Code there are several areas in the home that now need to be both AFCI and GFCI protected. The easiest way in many of these cases is to have a dual function AFCI/GFCI breaker installed to provide the required protection.

     

    AFCI protection has now expanded to the Kitchen and Laundry areas and in both of these areas there is a requirement for GFCI protection.





    AFCI/GFCI protected circuits

     

    You could provide this protection in other ways but having one device that does it all is pretty easy. I did notice that a couple of these circuits were not required to have both the AFCI and GFCI’s but the electrical contractor choose to use them here (Circuit numbers 16 and 15).



    Here is the code for AFCI requirements (Bold and Underline are mine to show that kitchens and Laundry areas now require AFCI protection)

     

    2014 NEC 210.12 Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection

     

    Arc-fault circuit-interrupter protection shall be provided as required in 210.12(A) (B), and (C). The arc-fault circuit interrupter shall be installed in a readily accessible location.

    (A) Dwelling Units.

     

    All 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets or devices installed in dwelling unit kitchens, family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, laundry areas, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected by any of the means described in 210.12(A)(1) through (6).







    This will add some additional time to inspection to verify that the proper circuits have been protected but this will be the new landscape we will have to deal with.

     

    A little history of AFCI’s. By code this is the adoption cycle-

     

    1999 NEC, Section 210.12  dwelling unit bedrooms have AFCIs installed to protect all branch circuits that supply 125-volt, single-phase, 15 and 20-ampere receptacle outlets installed in the dwelling unit bedrooms.

     

    2002 NEC, 210.12  expanded the AFCI protection to all bedroom outlets (lighting, receptacle, smoke alarm, etc.).

     

    2005 NEC 210.12 expanded the AFCI requirement for a technology upgrade to the combination AFCI. The earlier version was a Branch Feeder type and detected parallel arcing, this now adopted combination AFCI would also detect series arcing, and at lower current levels. The code allowed for the use of Branch Feeder type till January 1st 2008.

     

    2008 NEC 210.12  (expanded to many more areas in the home) All 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets installed in dwelling unit family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sun rooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas shall be protected by a listed arc-fault circuit interrupter, combination-type, installed to provide protection of the branch circuit.

     

    “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”

    Peter Drucker

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572



    You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.


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    Sniffing out the CO. Building permits and more.                               Chelan Home Inspections



    I am not talking Carbon Monoxide here but “Certificate of Occupancy” (some other common acronyms CO, COO, CEO, C of O). This will mainly concern newer construction and in areas where CO’s are required such as Washington State.

     



    I have done several home inspections now that either I was provided information that the home did not have a Certificate of Occupancy or there was some conditions in the home that leads me to question that the home may have not received one. I always inform my clients they should check with local building officials to see if there is any permits or open permits for any work done on the property. This type of information is extremely valuable for my clients in many ways. This is especially true of the buyer is looking to do some remodeling. Sometimes a permit is taken out but never receives a final.

     

    Now back to CO’s (certificate of occupancy). CO’s are provided by the local building official after their final inspection of the home and provides authorization it meets their requirements and any required corrections have been performed. Remember this typically is not an exhaustive evaluation in most cases. The CO represents that the building official has performed a final inspection of the home and has signed off that it is safe and it now can be legally occupied. You may or may not actually receive a physical piece of paper confirming this but it should be recorded with the local jurisdiction.

     

    So how does this affect the purchaser? If the said property transfer hands the new owner may now be responsible for any correction that may be required. This could include some major cost depending on what is outstanding. Some lenders may require a confirmation of this prior to lending.



     

    This is from one jurisdiction’s FAQ page-

     

    “Is there any way to get into my new home before the final inspection?

     

    “Typically, no. In order to receive the certificate of occupancy, everything on the city approved plans, down to the landscaping, needs to be completed and inspected. Basically, to occupy, 100% completion is required. Under extreme cases, the Building Official may allow a temporary certificate of occupancy to be issued. However, justifiable cause will need to be proven in order to receive such an approval. If the Building Official does approve the TCO, all the requirements for cash deposits as described above (Temporary Power) apply.”



    From the 2012 IRC-

     

    SECTION R110 CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY

     

    R110.1 Use and occupancy.

     

    No building or structure shall be used or occupied, and no change in the existing occupancy classification of a building or structure or portion thereof shall be made until the building official has issued a certificate of occupancy therefor as provided herein. Issuance of a certificate of occupancy shall not be construed as an approval of a violation of the provisions of this code or of other ordinances of the jurisdiction. Certificates presuming to give authority to violate or cancel the provisions of this code or other ordinances of the jurisdiction shall not be valid.

     

    Exceptions:

     

    1. Certificates of occupancy are not required for work exempt from permits under Section R105.2.

     

    2. Accessory buildings or structures.

     

    R110.3 Certificate issued.

     

    After the building official inspects the building or structure and finds no violations of the provisions of this code or other laws that are enforced by the department of building safety, the building official shall issue a certificate of occupancy which shall contain the following:

     

    1.The building permit number.

     

    2.The address of the structure.

     

    3.The name and address of the owner.

     

    4.A description of that portion of the structure for which the certificate is issued.

     

    5.A statement that the described portion of the structure has been inspected for compliance with the requirements of this code.

     

    6.The name of the building official.

     

    7.The edition of the code under which the permit was issued.

     

    8.If an automatic sprinkler system is provided and whether the sprinkler system is required.

     

    9.Any special stipulations and conditions of the building permit.



     

    Due diligence is always required when purchasing a home. This is information that is outside of any home inspection SOP’s but could be very valuable to a potential buyer. In one instance my client was able to ask for an inspection for very little money. Remember a building official can require a repair while home inspectors can only make recommendations...caveat emptor!

     

    “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”

    Peter Drucker

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572



    You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.

     


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    Cutting to the Chase- Wenatchee and Quincy Home Inspection Service

                                                The Journey

    Ah… the journeys we take in the home inspection profession.

    As a home inspector we must make these journeys to ensure that we can give the client the best information possible and be particularly diligent in matters of safety.

    Here is a particular journey that I have come across on more than one occasion.

    When evaluating the attic space I try to pay particular attention to fireblocking.

    Fireblocking usually involves the use of field-installed building materials such as 2 inch wood, ¾ inch particle board or ½ sheetrock and so on ( the IRC defines such materials in R302.11.1). This is to prevent the movement of flames and gases to other areas through concealed spaces.

    The whole intent is to prevent undetected spread of fire and gases to allow the occupant time to escape in an emergency.

    The IRC  (International Residential Code)defines Fireblocking as follows.

    R302.11 Fireblocking.
    In combustible construction, fireblocking shall be provided to cut off all concealed draft openings (both vertical and horizontal) and to form an effective fire barrier between stories, and between a top story and the roof space.

    The IRC goes on to define that Fireblocking shall be provided in wood-frame construction in the following locations;


    In concealed spaces of stud walls and partitions, including furred spaces and parallel rows of studs or staggered studs, as follows: Vertically at the ceiling and floor levels, horizontally at intervals not exceeding 10 feet, at all interconnections between concealed vertical and horizontal spaces such as soffits, drop ceilings and cove ceilings, in concealed spaces between stair stringers at the top and bottom of the run, at openings around vents, pipes, ducts, cables and wires at ceiling and floor level, at chimneys and fireplaces, and cornices of a two-family dwelling is required at the line of dwelling unit separation.


    One of the areas of concern for me is Fireblocking around chimneys and fireplaces, especially factory built fireplaces that have a wooden chase.

    Here is a couple examples of chases that are missing fireblocking. In the one example (right)we have insulation and debris falling onto the firebox. This is of greater concern for the potential of fire.

    Missing Fireblocking    Missing Fireblocking and debris on firebox

     


    Here is an example of how this assembly should be performed.

     

                                              Prefabricated Fireplace assembly

    Fireblocking is a very important because of how fires progress through a structure.  Fires produce super heated air and smoke that kill without any flames being present.

    Fire safety should be one of the highest concerns in the Real Estate Industry.

    A fire can become life threatening within two minutes and engulf a structure in just 5 minutes. 2500 people die and 12,600 people are injured in residential fires each year.

    As a former emergency responder I think we all should be more aware of fire safety. Here is a few links that may be of interest on home fire safety.

    Home Fire Safety Checklist-Checklist Link pdf.
    Home Fire Prevention-Link

    “A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”

    John Steinbeck

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Orville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…      

     
    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service


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  • 02/28/15--10:42: A Hat Trick
  • A Hat Trick - Home Inspection Findings                                              Chelan Home Inspections

     

    Hat Trick n. Sports

     

    1. Three goals scored by one player in one game, as in ice hockey.

    2. Three wickets taken in cricket by a bowler in three consecutive balls.

    3. Three consecutive wins or outstanding accomplishments by the same individual, such as a jockey in horse racing.

     

    Also a hat trick can be something a little more humorous and a great lesson.




     

    During a bathroom inspection a hat was on the wall. Now this was a bit of an odd place for a hat, so lifting the hat revealed an interesting find.



    Behind the hat we have the electrical hat trick; One- the electrical splice not properly contained in a junction box, Two- the wires do not have the required termination length of conductors and Three- the grounds have not been spliced together.





    Time for Sparky to come to the rescue.

     

    Here is a little code on required length of conductors from the 2014 NEC.

     

    NEC 300.14-  Length of Free Conductors at Outlets, Junctions, and Switch Points

     

    At least 150 mm (6 in.) of free conductor, measured from the point in the box where it emerges from its raceway or cable sheath, shall be left at each outlet, junction, and switch point for splices or the connection of luminaires or devices. Where the opening to an outlet, junction, or switch point is less than 200 mm (8 in.) in any dimension, each conductor shall be long enough to extend at least 75 mm (3 in.) outside the opening.

     

    Exception: Conductors that are not spliced or terminated at the outlet, junction, or switch point shall not be required to comply with 300.14.



     

    Proper conductor length is required to facilitate making connections and splices.



    Proper terminations and splices are crucial for safety and proper system performance. Improper splices can lead to fire and potential shock. A large portion of electrical system failures come from improper terminations and splices.

     

    Again this was a great lesson. Often when doing home inspections there will be objects that may seem a bit out of place, such as this hat. As a home inspector it is often a wise idea to evaluate such findings a little farther.  Often I have found sub panels, plumbing connections/devices and various other items that need evaluation hidden behind oddly placed wall and floor objects.




    “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.”

    Peter Drucker

     

    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service.

     

    Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572



    You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.


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    2015- Moore is More.  50 years of computing.

     

    Oh how the times have changed



     

    Its 2015 and we have reached the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law. Moore’s law is  based on Moore’s paper published in 1965 about the processing power of computers. Moore’s Law describes that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit will approximately double every two years. Moore was a co-founder of Intel and his law is used as a business model for the Semiconductor industry.

     



    So far Moore’s law has held true and the power of computing has doubled about every two years. I tend to buy computers in two year cycles to take advantage of this processing power and keep cost in check by buying just behind the newest technology.



     

    So for a little timeline to transistors and size. Back in the early 1970’s we had what was referred to as the 10 µm process transistor (or 0.000393701 inch) which was the level of semiconductor processing technology reached around 1971/72 timeframe. Today we are looking at a 14 nm process (14 nm = 5.51181102362E-7 inch).

     

    Here is the size of the semiconductors by decade-

    The 1970’s-  10 µm - 1971, to 6 µm- 1974, to 3 µm – 1977

    The 1980’s-  1.5 µm – 1982, to 1 µm – 1985, to 800 nm – 1989

    The 1990’s- 600 nm – 1994, to 350 nm – 1995, to 250 nm – 1997, to 180 nm – 1999

    The 2000’s- 130 nm – 2001, to 90 nm – 2004, to 65 nm – 2006, to 45 nm – 2008

    The 2010’s-  32 nm – 2010, to 22 nm – 2012, to 14 nm – 2014

     

    Intel in their 22-nm process started stacking transistors on top of each other in what they refer to as 3-D design. This was enhanced even further with their 14-nm technology.

     

    Here is an interesting video from Intel on their 22-nm process.

     

     

    And to the future here is what they predict-  2016- 10 nm,  7 nm in 2018 and 5 nm by 2020





    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572



    You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.


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  • 03/25/15--07:06: Wild Wednesday
  • Wild Wednesday

     

    This week in home inspection was quite fun. I had several friends sharing the inspection process with me. My posting have been lacking since time has put the squeeze on me.

     

    This was a female that thought I was the cat’s meow. She could not get enough of me and followed me around on the exterior inspection.

     

    And here is the cat’s meow. This little guy had thumbs and was also very friendly and following me.

     



    “In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.”

    Terry Pratchett






    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572



    You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.


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    Bonding and Grounding, What they mean and which is more important.

     

    Chelan Home Inspections

     

    Bonding or grounding what do you think is more important? Heck many do not even know the difference?

     

    So let’s start off with terminology .

     

    From the 2014 NEC Article 100-

     

    Bonded (Bonding).

    Connected to establish electrical continuity and conductivity.

     

    Bonding Conductor or Jumper.

    A reliable conductor to ensure the required electrical conductivity between metal parts required to be electrically connected.

     

     

    This material was extracted from Mike Holt Training Materials copyright 2007 by permission. Visit mikeholt.com or call 1.888.NEC.CODE (632-2633) for more information.

     

     

    Ground.

    The earth.

     

    Grounded (Grounding).

    Connected (connecting) to ground or to a conductive body that extends the ground connection.

     

    I am sure that helped.

     

    Here is a little more terminology from article 100

     

    Effective Ground-Fault Current Path.

    An intentionally constructed, low-impedance electrically conductive path designed and intended to carry current under ground-fault conditions from the point of a ground fault on a wiring system to the electrical supply source and that facilitates the operation of the overcurrent protective device or ground-fault detectors.

     

    I am sure that helped also ;)

     

    First off all electricity wants to go from the source back to the source, it can go through the ground but is not prefered. This is a general concept and there are more to it than this but for all intents and purpose this is true in residential. So the ground is just another path to the source and there can be several paths. This is why we want to create better paths to the electricity to take.



    Grounding and its primary purpose-

     

    The main purpose of grounding electrodes at a home is for lightening, line surges or other unintentional dangerously high voltages that can develop in the electrical distribution system.  The grounding electrode connects to the earth to provide a safe, alternate path around the electrical system of your house and hopefully minimizing damage from these high voltages.

     

    Due to this connection we can also induce current back to the home from the earth.

     

    Bonding and equipment grounding conductors primary purpose-

     

    The primary purpose of these is to create a low resistance path back to the overcurrent devices so they can open during a fault condition.

     

    The equipment-grounding conductor (EGC) is used to ground those things that we do not want carry current, such as metal or conductive casing of equipment or appliances. By providing a proper sized and installed EGC we hope to be as close as possible to ground potential and provide a safe low resistance path for ground-fault current to flow.

     

    This is where the terminology really has it wrong. The equipment-grounding conductor (EGC) is really a bonding conductor in purpose and function, and this causes confusion between grounding and bonding.

     

    By bonding any metal objects and systems, such as metal water pipes, we again are trying to create that low resistance path back to the overcurrent device.

     

    Before we do the math that shows how this all plays out first lets look at this statement from Schneider (Square D) on Breaker tripping characteristics. This is important to understand.

     

    “The tripping characteristics of molded case circuit breakers can be represented by a characteristic tripping curve that plots tripping time versus current level. The curve shows the amount of time required for a circuit breaker to trip at a given overcurrent level.” (Schneider Electric)

     

     

    So lets dispel a few myths. How many people think a 40 amp breaker will trip at 42 amps? How about that they will trip immediately or when an electrical event happened? Or that you will not get shocked. These are a few myth examples and these examples are far from the truth.



    Using a 40 amp circuit breaker as an example it takes about 1200 amps (multiple of 30 to the breaker rating) to instantly trip the breaker.  Lower amperages depending on the trip curve will take longer to open the circuit breaker.

     

    Circuit breakers are basically designed to protect wiring from both a short circuit and overload damage. Typical breakers in residential are a Thermal Magnetic Circuit Breaker (Inverse-time) type.

     

     

    The breakers thermal part works by the use of a bimetallic strip which causes a spring-loaded latch to release and trip the breaker when a certain temperature is achieved. The faster the rise of heat, the faster the breaker reaches temperature threshold of the bimetal strip and trips. Heat needed to activate the trip mechanism is directly proportional to the power (watts) and current (P=I2 x R). This is for an overload condition.

     

    So let’s use an overload of 250%  on the 40 amp breaker, that is 100 amps, it takes approximately 60 sec before the bimetal will bend far enough to trip the breaker.  At an 135% load, 54 amps, it takes about 1800 seconds(30 minutes) to initiate the breaker to trip. So you can see that is not even close to instantaneous.

     

     

    The Magnetic trip function is used for a short circuit conditions using an electromagnet. As load current passes through the electromagnet coils if that current spikes from a short circuit it will create enough electromagnetic field strength to attract a nearby armature to also cause the breaker to trip.

     

    From Schneider

    “Thermal-magnetic circuit breakers include both a magnetic tripping function, for short-circuit protection, and a thermal tripping function, for overload protection. As the alternate name “inverse-time” implies, the higher the overload, the shorter the time in which the circuit breaker will open.”




     

    Now back to bonding and time for a little ohms law math, Amps- E/R=I (Volts/Ohms=Amps) and  Watts is P= E x I (Watts= Volts x Amps).

     

    Many think that volts kill but this is not exactly true. Lets say you have been a bad boy or girl you may be hit by a policeman’s taser,  it may be 5 seconds of 50,000 volts at 26 watts,  this equates to 0.00052 amps. The result is no fun and an instant loss of neuromuscular control and any ability to perform coordinated functions but you are normally not dead (well if you had a heart issue this may kill you).

     

     

    With normal household voltage of 120 volts any amount of current over 10 milliamps (0.01 amp) is capable of producing painful to severe shock and currents of 100 to 200 milliamps can be deadly. This is why GFCI devices are set to trip at 5 to 6 milliamps (0.005 or 0.006 amps).

     

    So now comes the math again,

     

    If we have 120v and 25 ohms of resistance (this is the required maximum resistance of a ground rod) you would reach only 4.8 amps. Well below any trip threshold of a circuit breaker.

     

    Here is the math, E/R=I,    120 volts/25 ohms=4.8 amps

     

    Typically the equipment and equipment grounding conductor design is that all grounding circuits within equipment should ensure a resistance of one tenth ohm (0.1) or less at any point. (Here again is a problem with this terminology that leads us to some confusion).

     

    Now back to the design principle from above, when we apply ohm's law to this design we reach the 1200 amps required for instant trip on a 40 amp breaker.

     

    The math, E/R=I ,  120 volts /0.1 ohms =1200 amps

     

    Now armed with this information we can now see that having a proper equipment grounding(which really is a bond) and proper bonding of metallic/conductive systems is actually really about the safety of the wiring system to prevent shock and fire.

     

    We as home inspectors need to be well aware that a properly bonded system is essential to the safety of the electrical system.



    Here are two very good articles on grounding and bonding.

     

    http://www.esgroundingsolutions.com/blog/287/why-do-you-have-to-bond-the-neutral-and-the-ground-wire-in-the-main-panel



    http://www.esgroundingsolutions.com/blog/868/when-does-the-earth-circuit-comes-to-play-why-is-it-that-you-can-disconnect-the-earthing-lead-and-still-have-a-functioning-electrical-system



    “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

     

    Benjamin Franklin




    NCW Home Inspections, LLC is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

     

    Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

     

    Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



    www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                  509-670-9572



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