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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.


    0 0

    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



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


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    Diving Into Electric Furnaces- Its elementary!             Wenatchee and Chelan Home Inspection Services

     

    I am amazed how often I find electric furnaces with an element or two not working. Quite often the home occupant does not even know because warm air is still blowing out of the registers.

     

                                                                         Heating Elements (10kw)

     

    The beauty of electric furnaces is that they are pretty straight forward. During a home inspection I can test the element leads to see if they are coming on using a clamp on amp meter. Typically I will see around 20 amps per element.

     

    By using the clamp on meter I will check to see if each element is energizing which they should after a minute or two. After running the furnace for a little while with the meter I can evaluate whether a specific element energizes and starts to heat up or never comes on.



    element not energizing



    One of the main culprits for an element not energizing is the sequencer. The sequencers for the electric furnace are designed to turn on and off the heating elements in a series of delays so they all do not come on at the same time causing a surge of current that could trip the breaker.


                                                             

    typical sequencer

     

                                                                                        Sequencer Function

     

    Typically a sequencer depending on model will come on in a few seconds to about a minute and a half. These sequencers rely on a heat relay which is a heater coil and a bimetal switch. The coil heats the bimetal which causes it to flex and create a contact and allow power to the elements. Most modern sequencers are 24v, though you may have an older furnace with 120 or 240 volts but those are not that common anymore, at least here.



     

     

     

    The other big issue I find during the inspection is burned up wires which I see these quite often. This is most commonly caused by a poor connections but corrosion, vibration and that thing that never stops... Age, can also show their ill effects on the wiring. Sometimes repairs have been made and the wrong wire was used, these wires are high temperature rated to handle the environment they are in.

     

     

     

     

           



    Another possible problem is that the heating element has failed or has the high temperature limit switch or fuse has failed. Often this failure will be related to the air filter, not changing the air filter which will reduce airflow and cause the elements to overheat. Repeated overheating will cause these switches to fail.





    The furnace air filter is one of the most important maintenance item in your forced air system. If the filter becomes clogged, the entire system has to work harder and run longer to deliver heat. You should replace or clean your air filter monthly during the heating season.



    By doing this simple test during a home inspection I am able to give my clients a little more information about this system and is a good reminder that annual servicing should be performed.

     

    “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



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

     


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    When Men were Men and Sparkies played by the sparks.     Chelan Home Inspections

     

    As a home inspector I get to see a lot oddities out there. Some are just very interesting. I also am a bit of a geek and history buff so that has lead me to collecting old code books ,especially the National Electrical Code (NEC).

     

    Old fuse panel

     

    From the National Electrical Manufacturers Association- NEMA - Here is a little history of electrical codes-

     

    “National Bureau of Standards Circular No. 49—1914

     

    “The 1st  Edition of Bureau of Standards Circular No. 49—Safety Rules to be Observed in the Operation and Maintenance of  Electrical Equipment and Lines was issued after a year of examination of appropriate requirements for electrical workers and electrical employees. This edition only covered work rules; it did not address clearances, grounding, or the strength of supporting line structures. It was issued primarily for discussion and was apparently not adopted by any states at the time, although it did result in changes in the work rules of some utilities.”

     

    NEC Code Books 1959 to 1947

     

    National Bureau of Standards Circular No. 49, 2nd Edition—1915   

     

    “The 2nd Edition of National Bureau of Standards Circular No. 49 carried the same title as the first edition (Safety Rules to be Observed in the Operation and Maintenance of Electrical Equipment and Lines) with the addition of Being Part 4 of the Proposed National Electrical Safety Code (2nd Edition). By then it was  clear that work rules alone would not solve all the issues. Not only did additional issues of grounding,  clearances, and strengths of structures and wires need to be addressed, but addressing those issues  would best be done by grouping the discussions by categories in a new proposed national code. Work  rules would be addressed in Part 4 of that code. “

     

    NEC Code Books 1999 to 2011

     

    Well my collection does not go back quite this far but I have all the NEC code cycles from 1947 forward and electronic version of the 1920, 1933, 1935,1937, 1940 ELectrical codes.



       

    NEC books 1962 - 1996

     

    Then there were guidebooks published by authors other than National Bureau of  Fire Underwriters (NBFU)/NFPA



    The following is an excerpt from The American Electricians Handbook of 1942. “A Reference Book for Practical Electrical Workers”.

     

    “Electricians often test circuits for the presence of voltage touching the conductors with the fingers. This method is safe where the voltage does not exceed 250 and is often very convenient for locating a blown-out fuse or for ascertaining whether or not a circuit is alive. Some men can endure the electric shock that results without discomfort whereas others cannot. Therefore, the method is not feasible in some cases. Which are the outside wires and which is the neutral wire of a 115/230 volt three wire system can be determined in this way by noting the intensity of the shock that results by touching different pairs of wires with the fingers. Use the method with caution and be certain that the voltage of the circuit does not exceed 250 before touching the conductors.“

     

    Now thats what I call manly but it gets better.



    For all the Einstein's

     

    The following  paragraphs was taken from the “American Electricians Handbook” of 1914

     

    “91. The presence of low voltages can be determined by “tasting.” The method is feasible only where the pressure is but a few volts and hence is used only in bell and signal work. Where the voltages is very low, the bared ends of the conductors constituting the two sides of the circuit are held a short distance apart in the tongue. If voltage is present a peculiar mild burning sensation results which will never be forgotten after one has experienced it. The ‘taste” is due to the electrolytic decomposition of the liquids on the tongue which produces a salt having a taste. With relatively high voltages, possibly 4 or 5 volts, due to as many cells of battery, it is best to first test for the presence of voltage by holding one of the bared conductors in the hand and touching the other to the tongue. Where a terminal of a battery  is grounded, often a taste can be detected by standing on moist ground and touching a conductor from the other battery terminal to the tongue. Care should be exercised to prevent the two conductors ends from touching each other at the tongue, for if they do a spark can result that may burn.



    Well...now the next time a sparky comes to your home you tell them how a real test should be performed.

     

    “Electricity is really just organized lightning”

    George Carlin




    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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    This is for the Women… Size Matters.

    A little history on Baluster spacing.

    East Wenatchee Home Inspections

     

    Now I say this because of the Woman's maternal instinct and child safety  concerns, now I know many males have this instinct also but it is more dominant in females.

     

    Baluster spacing requirements as we have it now is designed for child safety and per Washington State HI SOP’s we are required to report baluster spacing more than 4 inches.






    Washington State Home Inspectors standards of practice reporting requirements:

    (Bold and underline is mine)

     

    The inspector will:

    (a) Verify

    That steps, handrails, guardrails, stairways and landings are installed wherever necessary and report when they are missing or in need of repair and report when baluster spacing exceeds four inches.






    Now as a home inspector we often find baluster spacing that exceeds 4 inches. So I did a little research and found some of the requirements from years past. This is no way exhaustive and I found finding much of this information was convoluted and difficult to find.






    First, from the ICC (International Code Council)-

    “History-  The International Code Council (ICC) was established in 1994 as a non-profit organization dedicated to developing a single set of comprehensive and coordinated national model construction codes. The founders of the ICC are Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), and Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc. (SBCCI). Since the early part of the last century, these non-profit organizations developed three separate sets of model codes used throughout the United States. Although regional code development has been effective and responsive to our country’s needs, the time came for a single set of codes. The nation’s three model code groups responded by creating the International Code Council and by developing codes without regional limitations; the International Codes.”

    Prior to 2000, BOCA, SBCCI and ICBO each had their own model codes. These codes were regionally applied. In 1999, these three organizations started working  together to prepare a unified code under the sponsorship of the ICC. The first set of “I Codes” were published in 2000 and included the International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Building Code (IBC). The IRC and IBC model codes have since been widely adopted by states and  municipalities throughout the country in some version, often with local amendments. The I Codes are published every three years – the most recent publication is the  2012 version.






    So lets start with some definitions of some of the code groups-

     

    Uniform Building Code (UBC)

    Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA)

    The Council of American Building Officials (CABO)




    From some digging around baluster spacing requirements by year;

     

    Uniform Building Code (UBC)

    1961/1976 UBC 9 inches

    1982/1988 UBC 6 inches

    1991 UBC 4 inches

     

    Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA)

    1975 BOCA- horizontal rails not over 10" apart, balusters not over 6" apart.

    1978 BOCA 6 inches for both rails and balusters

    1987 BOCA 6 inches

    1990 BOCA 4 inches

     

    The Council of American Building Officials (CABO)

    1992 CABO 6 inches

    1995 CABO 4 inches

     

    So you can see by the 1990’s the 4 inch rule was pretty well in established.

     

    I had a customer once say to me when I pointed out the baluster spacing  “well didn’t that meet code when it was built?” I replied, “yes, but a child’s head does not care what code cycle you built it to”.

     

    “Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”

    Will Durant






    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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    Bambi goes Bye Bye - Proper bonding is a life safety issue, even for animals.

     

    As a home inspector one of  my greatest concerns to the well being of my clients is to ensure the electrical system is as safe as possible. Simple mistakes can have deadly consequences.

     

    I often discuss with my clients the importance of proper bonding of systems that could become energized. Most really do not see or grasp what can actually happen.

     

    This photo was from Washington State L&I May’s Electrical Currents.



     

    The victims were two deer,  but this easily could be a person.

     

    NEC® 250.4(A)(5) – Electrical equipment and wiring and other electrically conductive material likely to become energized shall be installed in a manner that creates a low-impedance circuit facilitating the operation of the overcurrent device or ground detector for high-impedance grounded systems. It shall be capable of safely carrying the maximum ground-fault  current likely to be imposed on it from any point on the wiring system where a ground fault may occur to the electrical  supply source. The earth shall not be considered as an effective ground-fault current path.

    Consequences of using the  earth as a ground-fault current path as shown in May’s “month’s ugly picture”.

     

    “Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.”  

    Muhammad Ali

     

    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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    The confluence- a flowing together of ducts                     East Wenatchee Home Inspection



    Lets start with some definitions and concepts-

     

    Confluence:

    1. a coming or flowing together, meeting, or gathering at one point

    2. the flowing together of two or more streams

     

    Fluid:

     

    1. a substance, as a liquid or gas, that is capable of flowing and that changes its shape at a steady rate when acted upon by a force tending to change its shape.

    First, most people do not think of air in this way but air is a fluid. Liquids are fluids, but liquids are not the only fluids. Fluids are a subset of the phases of matter which include liquids, gases, and plasmas.

     

    Now what we have here is the confluence of the dryer duct and the bathroom exhaust.



     

    (We also have separation of the duct)

     

    These duct systems should never be commingled and can cause issues with these exhausts systems. This can lead to accumulation of lint and moisture reintroduced into the home. Dryer ducts cause several thousand fires a year and any compromise of this systems is just not a good thing.

     

     

    From the United States Fire Administration

    “There are approximately 15,600 structure fires, 400 injuries, and 15 deaths reported annually as a result of dryer fires. Every year clothes dryer fires account for over $100 million in losses. “



    Dryer exhaust must be independent of other systems and this clearly violates that.

     


    So now the geeky stuff from the 2012 IRC (Residential Code)

     

    M1502.2 Independent exhaust systems.

    Dryer exhaust systems shall be independent of all other systems and shall convey the moisture to the outdoors.

     

    Exception: This section shall not apply to listed and labeled condensing (ductless) clothes dryers.

     

    M1502.4.1 Material and size.

     

    Exhaust ducts shall have a smooth interior finish and be constructed of metal having a minimum thickness of 0.0157 inches (0.3950 mm) (No. 28 gage). The duct shall be 4 inches (102 mm) nominal in diameter.





    “The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.”


    Michio Kaku



    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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    World’s most expensive sheetrock.                         Wenatchee Home Inspections



    What do you think is the average price for ½ sheetrock? About $10 to $12 for a 4x8 sheet you would be very close.

    Then factor what the typical cost of installation the cost of materials and installation is around let say around $1.75 a square foot to install.

     

    That sheetrock installation cost is going to radically change when you have to go back and install it when you have a very large obstacle in the way. Case in point.

     

    This is how it looked from the ground

     

    During a recent home inspection I was doing the garage inspection when I noticed that they had not sheetrocked behind the suspended Air Handler and ducting. Well this is not good because the wall in the garage is what is considered a "fire separation" between the garage and the home (dwelling).

     

     

    The requirements are spelled out in “SECTION R302- FIRE-RESISTANT CONSTRUCTION”

    Article R302.6 Dwelling/garage fire separation. Which states that “Not less than 1/2-inch gypsum board or equivalent applied to the garage side” from the residence and attics.

     

    Yep we must have a proper separation there, and it was missed.

     

    OSB behind duct

     

    Typically what I see during construction is that the drywall company will come in and put up a few sheets of sheetrock where equipment such as the HVAC handler will be so the HVAC contractor can get on their way and later the drywall contractor can finish the job. Well in this case that did not happen.

     

    Drywall installed before HVAC Air Handler

     

     


    Now a lot of head scratching went on and I was getting a few phone calls on how they were to address this when I suggested that maybe you drop the HVAC air handler and rock behind it, though this was not what anyone wanted to hear. Yet in the end that actually became the final solution.

    So the cost of dropping the HVAC handler was around $1000. Then you have the cost of the Drywaller to come in and install the rock at a much higher rate because he is doing such a small area. With the installation cost of the drywall now being about $6 a square foot, then add the cost of the HVAC move you are at about $22 a square foot total to correct this… ouch. Now that is some expensive sheetrock.

     

    Again, as often is the case, it is much cheaper to do it correctly in the first place.

     

    “The learning and knowledge that we have, is, at the most, but little compared with that of which we are ignorant.”

    Plato




    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.