DIY Electrical Problems & Solutions

There are many common electrical issues that I have found over and over again while performing home inspections in the past ten years.  You might want to look around your own home and see if any of these issues are present.

These electrical issues are also Red Flags that work was most likely done without a permit, which in a basement renovation means the complete basement was finished without the proper building permit of subsequent inspections.

Electrical wiring in metal stud walls

When using metal stud walls the electrical cable requires approved inserts (grommets) to protect the cable where it passes through the metal stud.   ESA also states in its bulletin that NMSC cable cannot be fished through a metal stud wall.

Mechanical Protection Required in Attic

A running board must be installed for NMSC installed in attic where distance between joist and rafter exceeds 1 M.

Kitchen Islands

If you install a fixed kitchen island with a work surface greater than 300 mm X 600 mm then an electrical outlet is required to be installed.

Cold Air Returns

While you are allowed to have electrical cables installed in a cold air return, the entry and exit point must have an approved insert to protect the cable.   You are not allowed to “fish” and electrical cable through a cold air return.

Bundling of Electrical Cables

Electrical cables maybe bundled as long as approved cable ties rated for 23 kg or greater are used and bundled cables are not in contact for more than 600 mm.

TWO GFCI outlets on same circuit

Most builders will install a single GFCI outlet and use this to protect the installed outlets downstream.  This is common for both exterior outlets and for bathrooms.   Because most home owners do not have a GFCI tester they wrongly assume that because there are no test or reset buttons on the outlet it is not protected.  Many times I have tested a GFCI protected outlet and then had to hunt down the extra one the homeowner has installed in order to get a reset.  The circuit is still fully protected but it is not good workmanship to add GFCI outlets to a circuit that is already protected.

Lights in Showers

Lights in showers have to rated for use in damp location.  This is typically a pot mounted light with a glass lens.  Sometime individuals will remove glass lens to install a higher wattage bulb, this is not permitted and is an electrical shock hazard.

GFCI’s & Light switches in Bathrooms

Light switches in bathrooms have to be 1 metre away from shower or bathtub or GFCI protection is required.  GFCI protection for outlets has been required since 1975.

Kitchen GFCI’s

Kitchen outlets were not required to have GFCI outlet protection until 2003.

Home owners who do their own electrical wiring should have it inspected by ESA or other Licensed Electrical Inspector prior to covering up wiring.  Failure to do so could adversely affect the resale value of your home and even jeopardize your family’s safety.

If you have any questions about electrical problems or home inspection information please contact Roger Frost at Barrie Home Inspections.

Electrical Service Boxes
Self Test GFCI Receptacles