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Orillia Home Inspector Tips

Providing Valuable Home Owner Resources for Maintenance

Aluminum Wiring in your Home

 

Aluminum Wiring in your Home?

The only thing that is certain about buying a home with aluminum wiring is that everyone ESA Logohas  different thoughts on  what a home buyer should consider.  The biggest problem with aluminum wiring is that many insures will not insure the home.  Some insurance companies will only insure your home after you get a Certificate of Inspection from ESA. (The Electrical Safety Authority).

Prior to obtaining a ESA Certificate of Inspection you will have to hire an electrician to inspect all the connection points of the homes wiring.  This entails removing all outlets, light switches, appliance connections covers  and of course the panel board.  If approved devices have been installed for outlets and switches they will be stamped with “C0/ALR” or “AL-CU”, which indicates that are rated for use on aluminum circuits of 20 amps or less.

Aluminum wiring is prone to oxidation at its contact points when used in equipment aluminum connectionsdesigned for use with copper wiring.  When the aluminum wire heats up due to gaps caused by oxidation it creates heat, this causes the metal to move away from heat source.  This is known as “Cold Creep” as the aluminum does not return to original position or shape when wire is cooled.  Some of the signs of problems in aluminum wiring is discoloration of light or outlet cover plates, smoke or sparking at devices, flickering lights or smell of plastic insulation burning.

Some studies have indicated that a home with aluminum wiring 55 times more likely to have an over heat or fire condition than a home wired with copper.  Some home owners have added pig tails to their aluminum wiring and is currently an accepted method by ESA.  Some studies in the US have found this method actually increases the risk.  Changing all devices to one rated for aluminum wiring is also an option.  Use CopAlum Crimp connectors on all connections, or re-wire entire home replacing all the aluminum.

Remember that when you put your home back on the market, many home owners will be asking themselves the same questions that you did when you bought the home.  This is definitely a item of concern when it comes to resale value.  Hopefully you hire a competent home inspector who understands aluminum wiring and is not afraid to tell you, the home buyer, the truth, thus allowing you to base your decision on buying a home on the facts.

As always,  CAVEAT EMPTOR – BUYER BEWARE

Read about Purchasing a Century Home

Electrical Issues and Home Inspections

Orillia Home Inspector Articles

During the past ten years inspecting homes in the Orillia , Severn and Rama areas, one issue is more prevalent than any other.  Electrical work being done by DIY owners or unlicensed individuals is by far the most dangerous and serious issue that commonly faces new home buyers.

When inspecting a renovated basement and a large amount of electrical deficiencies are Red Flag During Inspectiondetected it immediately raises red flags.  The biggest issue it the fact that if there is improper electrical work, a building permit was never taken out for the renovation project.  This also implies that not only was the electrical work not inspected, but the plumbing, structural and heating changes were also not approved or inspected.

If you buy a home that has had major renovations completed without a building permit or inspection being completed you are essentially taking responsibility for any deficiencies and repairs that maybe required.  Any savings accrued by the “do it yourself” renovator will go into the sellers pocket and any future expenses will come out of the home buyers pocket.

Read the article below regarding contractor who performed electrical work without permits or proper training.

 

First Ever Jail Sentence for Doing Electrical Work without Licence

Court sends strong message to repeat offenders whose actions put public safety at risk.

contractor in jail

Contractor in Jail

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Oct. 7, 2014 /CNW/ – On Oct. 2, 2014 a contractor was sentenced in a Hamilton, Ontario court to 30 days in jail and $6,250 in fines on charges related to
performing electrical work illegally and violating several Ontario College of Trade’s requirements. This is the first time a jail sentence has been handed down by an Ontariocourt for this type of offence. The defendant was also placed on two years probation.

Richard Hazel, operating as Voltcom Electrical Services, was found guilty on eight charges: four counts of working without an electrical contractor’s licence, one count of failing to obtain the required inspections, two counts of producing a false certificate of qualification, and one count of leaving behind unsafe electrical conditions at four homes in Hamilton and Burlington. Mr. Hazel was previously convicted in 2012 on 19 counts of violating electrical safety regulations at seven sites in the Windsor area resulting in a total fine of $23,750.

In addition to the ESA charges, Hazel pled guilty to five related charges laid by the Ontario College of Trades and was fined an additional $7,400 plus one year probation for those offences.

In October 2013, an ESA Inspector identified a renovation in a Hamilton home had been done without a permit and determined upon further investigation that repeat offender Richard Hazel had completed the work. Numerous electrical hazards were found.  The investigation also found that Hazel falsely produced an Ontario College of Trade’s certificate of qualification in order to gain employment with two licensed electrical contractors.

“The court has delivered a strong, clear message with this conviction and sentence that repeated, unlawful behavior that puts public safety at risk has serious consequences. Despite previous convictions, this individual continued to flout the law,” said Normand Breton, General Manager, Registrar and Director Contractor Licensing and Powerline Safety.  “We are very pleased to see that the court has taken this next important step which we hope will deter others in the underground economy who are working outside the law.”

How to Ensure You Hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor

Consumers are reminded when considering hiring someone to do electrical work to follow ‘the three C’s’: check to ensure the contractor holds a valid ECRA/ESA electrical contractor licence (you can search the database at www.esasafe.com); confirm that they are arranging the appropriate inspections from ESA; and call ESA at 1-877-ESA-SAFE (1-877-372-7233) if you suspect someone is misrepresenting themselves. “Don’t settle the final bill until you have the ESA Certificate of Inspection in hand,” added Breton.

Hiring an ECRA/ESA licensed electrical contractor ensures that the company you have hired:

  • is fully insured
  • uses qualified electricians to perform the electrical work you require
  • will arrange for permits with the ESA
  • can deliver an ESA Certificate of Inspection

About the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA)

The Electrical Safety Authority’s (ESA) role is to enhance public electrical safety in Ontario. As an administrative authority acting on behalf of the Government of Ontario, ESA is responsible for administering specific regulations related to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code, the licensing of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians, electricity distribution system safety, and electrical product safety. ESA works extensively with stakeholders throughout the province on education, training and promotion to foster electrical safety across the province.

Read about Century Home Inspections

Oil Tank Certification

Oil Tank Certification – Fuel oil is governed under the Technical Standards and Safety Act, and Ontario Regulation, 213/01.

The fuel oil supplier inspects the entire fuel oil installation including each appliance (furnace, boiler water heater) that is using fuel oil, the venting system, tank and piping from the tank. This inspection is for the safe use of the appliance at the time of the inspection and does not cover performance.

All heating contractors working on fuel oil equipment are required to be registered with TSSA. When calling a heating contractor, ask for the contractor s TSSA registration number and request that only a TSSA certified Oil Burner Technician work on the appliance.

New requirements for the installation and inspection of fuel oil tanks (above and below ground) were introduced by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) in October 2001 to reduce the number of fuel oil leaks and spills that occur throughout the province each year. In November 2002 the TSSA advised all owners of fuel oil heating systems of the requirements to have their heating systems inspected by qualified oil burner technicians, and the need to register their underground (buried) fuel oil storage tanks with TSSA.

The regulations require fuel oil distributors to conduct inspections on all fuel oil heating systems. This includes all underground and aboveground tanks, associated piping, venting and heating appliances such as furnaces, boilers and water heaters. The fuel oil distributors must inspect all equipment to which they deliver fuel, whether it is located above or below ground, initially and at least once every 10 years. Fuel oil cannot be delivered to equipment that poses an immediate hazard. Many fuel oil delivery companies will inspect the equipment yearly at no additional cost to the homeowner to ensure that the tank is safe before the delivery of fuel oil at the start of the heating season.

Should the technician determine that there is an issue with the installation of the tank or supporting components of the heating system they will issue an order for rectification. Depending on the severity of the danger from the unsafe installation, a fuel supplier can specify a time period up to 90 days for corrective action or the delivery of fuel oil will cease. If the unsafe installation is very dangerous (Red Tag), then the distributor must immediately stop the supply of fuel oil to the installation. Tank owners can get a second opinion from other Oil Burner Technicians and other Fuel Oil Suppliers to confirm whether or not there is an unsafe installation.

There are insurance carriers who choose not to provide insurance coverage when tanks have passed a prescribed age. This is not a requirement of TSSA. TSSA does not regulate Insurance carriers who ultimately may decide to impose a replacement requirement based on the age of the tank according to their own risk assessment criteria. There may be insurance companies who will provide insurance despite your tank’s age. You may consider contacting other insurance carriers for insurance coverage requirements.

There are no specific code or regulation requirements that dictate the replacement of above ground storage tanks, based on age limit considerations. The deadline for replacing underground storage tanks is determined by CAN/CSA-B139-00 Installation Code for Oil Burning Equipment.
To find out more about Fuel oil governed under the Technical Standards and Safety Act, and Ontario Regulation, 213/0, you can obtain a copy from the TSSA Web at www.tssa.org or order a copy from the Ontario Government Bookstore at 1-800-668-9938.

The new regulations are not grandfathered to include existing fuel oil storage tanks however this change will affect the cost incurred when replacing older tanks found in many of Ontario’s homes. As most of you are aware the acceptance of existing fuel oil storage tanks rests with the insurance industry, the TSSA service technician and the fuel oil distributor. Any one of these entities can condemn the existing fuel oil tank. The costs involved to install a new compliant fuel oil storage tank is expected to be considerably higher and can affect your client’s bottom line. Typically fuel oil tank replacement costs were in the $1,200.00/$1,500.00 range.

Many TSSA Licensed oil technicians will not certify an oil tank which has the old style saddles supporting tank. The newer tanks all have legs for support. The saddles allow the creation of moisture which is the cause of most tanks rusting.

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