Orillia

HOME INSPECTIONS

Electrical

By the Orillia Home Inspector

Certified Building Code Official

 

Incoming Power

Residential homes will either have underground or above ground electrical supplies. Above ground wires should be maintained free of contact from trees or bushes.

It is important that over head electrical cables have a proper drip loop at the service mast to prevent water from entering the mast.

 

 

Power Line Inspection

  • Determine the type and number of conductors with the incoming service.
  • Evaluate the height of the incoming service cables above the ground or grade level.
  • Observe potential obstructions, such as tree limbs, in the area.
  • Determine if the mast or service head is correctly oriented and properly secured to the structure.
  • Count the number of service conductors attached to the weather head. The number of service/entrance conductors determines the voltage of the service.
  • A 120-volt, single-phase system consists of two conductors; an ungrounded phase (hot) conductor, and a grounded (neutral) conductor. The 120-volt single-phase service can only supply power to single phase loads (i.e., 120 volt circuits only).
  • A 120/240-volt single-phase system consists of three conductors; two ungrounded phase (hot) conductors, and one grounded (neutral) phase conductor. This system will supply both 120-volt loads and 240 single-phase loads to a dwelling.
  • The size and material of the individual conductors determine the ampacity of the service conductors (ie., copper or aluminum). More than 95% of modern day services are stranded aluminum conductors.
  • Underground or lateral service extends from the transformer to the meter base of the dwelling. An underground service must be at least a #8 copper or #6 aluminum SEC. The cables must be buried a minimum of 24 inches from finished grade to the top of the cable. (Check local requirements for burial depths).

 

Roof Contractors

When choosing your roofing contractor there are some important points to consider.  Is the roofing company licensed with the Province of Ontario? Do they have valid liability insurance that covers you and your house while they are working on it?  Can they offer proof of WSIB coverage and is their account in good standing?  Roofing companies that cannot provide proof of their workmanship and performance, otherwise you could be paying for one type of new roof and getting another.

Ice Dams on Eaves

Installing properly designed attic ventilation to allow heat from the sun to be removed in the summer and moisture in the winter.  Lack of ventilation is one of the major causes ice damming in the winter.  A properly designed attic will have soffit vents along the perimeter of your roof to allow for air intake and then a vent system at the higher portion of the roof for exhausting heat and moisture.

 

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Inspection Definitions


1. Chimney - vent flue gases from fireplaces or heating equipment.
2.  Chimney flue top or chimney cap (if present)
3.  Chimney crown or chimney top seal
4.  Chimney Flashing seals the roof penetration to avoid leaks into the structure.
5. Masonry fireplace
6. Fireplace ash pit door. 
7.  Fireplace ash pit cleanout door.
8.  Fireplace mantel - horizontal trim attached to wall above fireplace opening.
9. Hearth - flat surface in front of the fireplace, protects flooring from fire.
10. Ridge cap or ridge vent (if present)
11. Ridge board
12. Cripple rafters or Jack rafters (between chimney and house eaves - rafters that do not extend the full distance between house eaves and the roof ridge board)
13. Rafter blocking or cross bridging, also found on floor joists and in some wall framing
14. Soffit or lookout or house eaves. The soffit is the enclosed portion of the roof that overhangs the house walls at the roof lower edges.
15. Roof sheathing or roof decking.
16. Roof shingles (asphalt shingles, clay tiles, slates, wood shingles, or shakes, similar materials)
17. Drip edge (used at lower roof edges or eaves). The drip edge is special metal flashing intended to divert water off of the roof lower edges into the roof gutter system. Drip edges should spill into the gutter, not behind it. 
18. Gutter (attached over or to fascia board) to collect roof drainage and prevent it from spilling down and along the building walls (leaks) and basement (wet basements
19. Downspouts (conduct roof drainage from the gutters to a destination away from the building or into a storm drain system).
20.  Downspout leader or downspout extension (hard to see, behind that front right entry porch column)
21. Gable end and gable-end attic vent. The gable end the house wall on a conventional simple gable roof such as shown in our sketch is the triangular end wall
22. Gable end fascia. The gable end fascia is the trim board attached to the roof edges, extending from ridge to lower roof edge, and where a rake overhang is present, covering the outermost rake rafter or barge rafter.
23. Gable end vent or attic vent at gable end
24. Wall corner studs or post; 
25. Wall Stud basic framing unit of wood frame construction building walls
26. Sill plate (rests atop foundation wall, nailed to rim joist and joists)
27. Wall top plate
28. Diagonal wall bracing (not present on all buildings, modern wood frame construction uses plywood or OSB sheathing to provide wall stiffness and protect against "racking" or diagonal movement in the wood framed structure)
29. Wall sheathing - showing diagonal tongue and groove boards, typically 3/4" thick; modern wall sheathing in wood frame construction uses 1/2" thick plywood or OSB sheathing products.
30. Floor joist resting on sill plate atop foundation wall. 
31. Interior partition wall over fireplace mantel; may be plaster over solid masonry or other construction;
32. Floor joist resting on basement beam or center girder.
33. Flooring underlayment (in 1955 this was red rosin paper or 15# roofing felt). Modern floor underlayment uses at least one thickness of tongue-and groove 3/4" plywood. Where carpeting is to be installed builders may use solid-core plywood to avoid accidental punctures of the flooring through the carpeting (stiletto heeled shoes).
34. Subflooring (shown, diagonal tongue and groove boards) - see #33 above. Additional layers of subflooring over the base underlayment may be installed where tile is to be installed;
35. Housewrap or moisture barrier (in 1955 this was red rosin paper or 15# roofing felt).
36. Exterior siding
37. Interior partition wall or center wall partition (may be load bearing, supporting 2nd floor joists)
38. Interior wall covering: Plaster wall scratch coat or masonry for chimney (if present)
39. Grade level (top of soil around building).
40. Foundation wall, along with wall footings (42) supports the structure and holds back earth where a basement or crawl space is included.
41. Sill sealer (between sill plate and foundation wall top)
42. Footing, supports the foundation wall.
43. Footing drain or foundation drain (perforated pipe + gravel, should extend to daylight to drain by gravity)
44. Poured concrete basement floor slab (floating slab atop compacted fill inside foundation wall)
45. Compacted fill (or gravel atop fill or poly on gravel on fill) below basement floor slab
46. Main girder resting on supporting posts or pockets in foundation walls (not shown but you can see a post to the right of (30). The main girder carries part of the floor joist load, typically through the center of the home. 
47.  Backfill around foundation wall.
48. Rim joist or pier cap (rests on pier top where a continuous foundation wall is not present)
49. Pier, alternative to a continuous foundation wall, piers may support posts that in turn support perimeter girders or beams carrying the building wall loads.
50. Window sash.
51.  Window jamb or window frame
52.  Window sash frame
53.  Window header
54.  Window interior trim
55.  Entry porch gable
56.  Fireplace ash pit
57. Stair tread.
58.  Stair riser
59. Stair stringer (structural support for stair treads and risers)
60. Newell post at stair bottom (handrail ends at this post)
61. Stair rail or handrail;
 on landings or balconies: guardrail.
62. Stair baluster. Balusters are the vertical supports enclosing the space between the underside of the stair railing and the stair tread upper surface. Typically spaced 4" o.c. to avoid child hazards.