Axium SOP

Topic Progress:

ELECTRICAL SYSTEM

General Info:

Go to your Electrical section and it’s going to come up to your 2 cover pictures. The first picture should be of the electrical panel before we touch it, showing the outside cover of the panel and the electric meter. Try to get as much of these components in the picture as possible and try to be about 6 feet away from the panel. The second picture should be once we lifted up the front cover of the panel showing all the breakers. This could be important because if we accidentally flip a breaker we can go back to this picture to make sure it was on in the first place. We want to make sure that we leave the electrical panel exactly as we have found it. We want take this picture from down low, to high of the panel. We want to get different perspectives of the electrical panel and not just take two pictures of the same thing.

Take a picture at the very end after everything has been put back on, showing that we put it back in place correctly, zooming in on the breakers, showing all the breakers are in the “on” position, making sure we look for that. We don’t want that call that we flipped a breaker off and they are missing power somewhere, and then us having to drive back across town to flip the breaker.

Electrical Responsibility of Homeowner vs. Utility Provider (IE, XCEL Energy):

UTILITY PROVIDER (XCEL ENERGY) RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Wires in the air, or underground
  • The meter itself
  • Power connection to, and inside the meter.
  • The wires that are connected to the Riser or Mast

HOMEOWNER RESPONSIBILITIES
Homeowner is responsible for everything else (except the above). Among other things, Homeowner is specifically responsible for:

  • Electrical panel
  • Meter housing
  • The Riser or Mast itself

If Electrical Panel is in Garage, open Garage door, just to give more light, so you don’t miss anything.

The most dangerous part of the Electrical Panel Inspection is removing the panel cover and replacing the panel cover, because as you are taking out screws, they could be piercing or touching wires and as you are removing panel cover, it could touch a wire or move a wire that could create an arc flash.

Also, make sure you are using your electrical screwdrivers and not just plain screwdrivers, because they are insulated and further help to protect you. If we pull out screws and they are sharp sheet metal screws, we want to document that as a defect as well. They should be blunt tipped electrical screws.

(NOTE: Look into and Clarify Company Procedure and Policy, as to if we do pull them out and they are sharp sheet metal screws, do we continue to remove them or do we even put those screws back in. We have had at least two instances last year where we screwed sharp sheet metal screws back in and 
it pierced a wire and created an arc flash, tripped the breaker to the main house and electricians had to come out. We want to clarify that procedure to prevent any future damage to property or to employees.)

Once you take the screws out, we want to make sure we do not lose the screws. It’s common to drop a screw, so be aware of your surroundings, so you won’t drop a screw into a snow bank or into the gravel and can’t find it. So put them in a safe place on a window ledge or on top of the panel or preferably even into your pocket.

Be very careful taking the panel cover off, not to lean it back too far, and then try not to trip any breakers on or off as you are taking the panel cover off.

And then at the end of the Electrical Section, as we are putting everything back on, it will be the same thing, the reverse of above. Make sure we have our safety equipment on, make sure we are placing the panel cover into the box very carefully, not to touch any wires and not to trip any breakers.

Make sure we secure it properly with all the screws in place and make sure we tighten all the screws down tight and not just put it on loose. Also make sure the panel cover is on straight, so it doesn’t obstruct any of the breakers from tripping. If it’s on a nice finished wall, make sure it fits back into the square where you cut the caulk and the paint when you removed it.

Make sure the door latches and shuts properly. If it doesn’t latch and shut, then that is a defect, so make sure that is put into the report.

REMEMBER: Before you are done, always check and make sure that everything on screen is green. When you think you are done with the electrical section, scroll through and make sure everything is green. Don’t move on to the next step or section until you are done so you don’t have to waste your time to go back to the electrical panel and get a picture to complete the section.

Tools Needed:  Safety Glasses, Non-Contact Voltage Tester, Electrical Screwdriver, Electrical Gloves, Electrical Calipers.

Cover Pictures Needed:  Two pictures of electrical panel.

11.01 Electric Meter

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: The inspector will check the electric meter and base, specifically to make sure that there is a tag present.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the electric meter.

Pictures Needed

Picture of meter.

Procedure

  • The inspector will check the electric meter for any damage and that it is installed at the proper height, with the center of the meter measuring between 4 feet and 6 feet above the walking surface. We also want to make sure that it is securely fastened to the property and the tag is present. Electric meters are installed by utility companies to measure property electrical consumption.
  • The only picture that is taken for this section needs to show the electric meter and the tag being present and secure. We also want this picture to show the service entrance line conduit connections and that the meter is securely fastened.
  • We do not inspect electric meters at condos most of the time because they are located outside and sometimes difficult to determine which meter goes to which property.

Common Defects

  • The electric meter not be installed at the proper height.
  • The electric meter is loose and not securely fastened.
  • The electric meter is not grounded.
  • The security tag is missing at the electric meter.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking the electric meter for the security tag.
  • Not checking the electric meter for proper height and fastening.

11.02 Main Distribution Panel

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: The inspector should inspect the main distribution panel for any damage and remove the front cover to observe the wiring.

Tools Needed

The inspector will need to use the non-contact voltage tester before opening the panel cover to make sure that it is not energized. We also want to make sure that our safety glasses are on before opening the panel cover. Lastly, the inspector will need an electrical screwdriver to open up the front cover of the main distribution panel.

Pictures Needed

No pictures needed.

Procedure

  • The first thing that we want to do is take the non-contact voltage tester and check the panel cover to make sure that it is not energized before opening.
  • Once we know that it is not energized we will open it up and observe the electrical panel. For this section there are no pictures required unless there is a defect. We just want to determine what brand the panel is and point out where it is located at the property.
  • We do want to check for any common defects while observing the panel which are listed below.
  • We are not going to take the screws out yet so we might need to come back to this section if it turns out the screws are sharp or there is another defect with the electrical panel. Before removing the front panel, we will go ahead to the next couple of sections (Manufacturer’s Label and Circuit Label). Once we do remove the cover we will inspect the other sections and replace the cover after all sections have been complete.
  • Now if we cut the paint and the sealer from around the panel, we want to get the razor blade and cut very nice and neatly. Be very careful and make sure we don’t damage any of the drywall or the paint as we remove the panel cover, so have your razor blade handy as you remove it, so if you still have a piece of paint or caulk, you can cut that nicely and take that off. Then, just as important, at the end of this section, when you are putting this back, make sure everything lines up properly and within the area that you cut and you don’t see any of the unfinished area underneath. You should make sure that panel is in the exact condition as the way you found it, and that everything is documented thoroughly. We need to make sure all the breakers are on after that panel cover is back installed.

Common Defects

  • The electrical panel has missing bushings or screws. Could also have screws that are not accessible or sharp.
  • There is improper clearance for the electrical panel, the cover won’t stay open, or the door is damaged/won’t close/not attached.
  • There is corrosion present at the electrical panel.
  • The electrical panel has gaps and is missing knockout plates.
  • The locking tab is missing.
  • The electrical panel is painted and stuck shut.
  • The panel cover is damaged, missing, not attached, packed, recessed or difficult to open.
  • We also want to make sure that we are looking for the following panels which have been known to have defects: Federal Pacific, Zinsco, and Sylvania.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking the screws of the panel to make sure they are all present and none of them are sharp.
  • Not calling out that there are gaps in the panel and knockout plates are missing.

11.03 Manufacturer’s Label

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: The inspector should determine if the label is present in the electrical panel.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the manufacturer’s label.

Pictures Needed

Picture of label.

Procedure

  • When you lift the front cover of the panel you will want to look for the manufacturer’s label. If it is present you will take a picture of the label and if it’s missing/partial/illegible you will take a picture of that under repair and replace.

Common Defects

  • The manufacturer’s label is missing, partial, or illegible.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking for the manufacturer’s label.

11.04 Circuit Label

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: The inspector will observe whether the circuit labels are present or not at the electrical panel.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the circuit labels.

Pictures Needed

Picture of label or lack of label.

Procedure

  • Before taking off the front cover of the panel the inspector should observe the circuit labels to see if every breaker is labeled and is legible. We do not verify whether the labels are correct. There is just one picture for this section and it should be showing that the labels are present and legible. If there are no labels present or legible you would take a picture showing that and put it down as repair and replace statement.

Common Defects

  • Circuit labels being partial, missing, or illegible.

 Common Mistakes

  • Not checking to see if all of the circuits are labeled and are legible.

11.05 Service Entrance Conductors

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Same as NACHI Standards of Practice.

Tools Needed

The inspector might need to use the electrical calipers to measure the size of the service entrance conductors if there are no labels present.

Pictures Needed

Picture of connection size, and wider shot if visible.

Procedure

  • Once the front cover has been removed we will want to inspect the service entrance conductors in the electrical panel. We will first observe for any general damage to the service entrance conductors.
  • We also want to inspect the service lines that are coming into the property and make sure there are proper clearances from building, roofs, tree branches, or windows.
  • Next we want to determine the size and type of wiring that is being used for the service entrance conductors. The first picture that we take should be a close up showing the type of conductor material (Copper or Aluminum). It is important that this picture is very clear. The second picture should be the entrance conductors from termination through the box, looking at damage and bushings. If the service entrance conductors aren’t labeled try using the electrical calipers to determine the size.

Common Defects

  • The conduit at the service entrance conductors is damaged.
  • There is inadequate overhead clearance above a building, property, roof, tree branches, or a window.
  • There is no drip loop present at the service entrance conductors.
  • The size of the service entrance conductors is smaller than the amperage coming into the house.

Common Mistakes

  • Not taking the proper pictures of the service entrance conductors.
  • Not checking for proper clearance of the service lines coming into the property.
  • Identifying the wrong size/type of service entrance conductors in the panel.

11.06 Main Disconnect

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Same as NACHI Standards of Practice

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the Main Disconnect.

Pictures Needed

Picture of amps.

Procedure

  • The inspector will check the main disconnect to the home and comment on the service amperage to the home. There is one picture for this section and you want to make sure that you can see the service amperage amount, if possible.

Common Defects

  • No main disconnect is present and it takes more than 6 hand movements to shut off power to all breakers in the main electrical panel.
  • Service amperage to the home being less than 100 Amps.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking the amount of service amperage supplied to the home.
  • Not using the “Repair/Replace” if there is no main disconnect and it takes more than 6 hand movements to shut down power to the home.

11.07 Electrical Service Capacity

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: The inspector will determine if the electrical service capacity is adequate for the size of the dwelling. Typically, this means having at least 100 amp service.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the electrical service capacity.

Pictures Needed

No pictures needed.

Procedure

  • There is no picture for this section. The inspector just needs to be able to determine if the electrical service capacity for the home is adequate based on evidence found within the electrical panel. If the service amperage is at least 100 amps that would be considered sufficient.

Common Defects

  • Having service capacity that is not adequate for dwelling of this size and age.

Common Mistakes

  • Putting in the report that the service capacity is adequate when it is either inadequate or unable to be determined if it is adequate for the dwelling.

11.08 Electrical Conductor Material

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Same as NACHI Standards of Practice

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the electrical conductor material.

Pictures Needed

Picture of 30+ amp and copper wires.

Procedure

  • While the front cover of the electrical panel is off we will inspect for the type of electrical conductor material that is inside the electrical panel. It is very important to look for solid conductor aluminum-branch wiring. We will take two pictures for this section and in those pictures make sure to get clear pictures of the wiring so we can tell if it is copper or aluminum wiring.

Common Defects

  • Solid conductor aluminum-branch wiring being present in the electrical panel.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking all of the wiring to see if there is aluminum wiring present.

11.09 Electrical Circuit Breakers

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Same as NACHI Standards of Practice.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the electrical circuit breakers.

Pictures Needed

Picture of breakers.

Procedure

  • The inspector will check the circuit breakers while the panel cover is off to make sure that they are properly secured and there are no different brands in the panel.
  • We also want to use the test button on any GFCI and/or AFCI breakers to make sure that they are working properly.
  • Also, look for any double taps, signs of overheating, and the wire breaker size/insulation.
  • If everything looks good and there are no defects we will take one picture showing all of the circuit breakers.

Common Defects

  • The AFCI or GFCI breakers don’t trip when tested.
  • There are different brands of breakers in the electrical panel.
  • There is a double tap or signs of overheating.
  • The wire breaker size or insulation is insufficient or damaged.

Common Mistakes

  • Not checking all of the breakers to make sure that the brands are the same.
  • Not testing the AFCI or GFCI breakers that are in the panel.
  • Not checking the circuit breakers for general damage or that they are secured in the electrical panel.

11.10 Electrical Branch Circuitry

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: The inspector should view the electrical branch circuitry

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the electrical branch circuitry.

Pictures Needed

Picture of defect, or if inaccessible document why.

Procedure

  • While the electrical panel front cover is off the inspector should view all of the wiring in the panel for any damage or splices. They should also make sure to point out if the wiring is knob and tube. There is not a picture required for this section if there are no defects.

 Common Defects

  • Any wiring that is damaged or spliced incorrectly.
  • Knob and Tube wiring that is present in the electrical panel.

Common Mistakes

  • Not closely examining the wiring in the electrical panel.
  • Not determining if the wiring is knob and tube.

11.11 Electrical Grounding

Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: For this section we will always want to select “Not Inspected” because we are not able to see the grounding and determine if it is adequate.

Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the electrical grounding.

Pictures Needed

No pictures needed.

Procedure

  • For this section we will always want to select “Not Inspected” because we are not able to see the grounding and determine if it is adequate.

Common Defects

  • No defects for this section.

Common Mistakes

  • Selecting that the “Inspected” comment when it should be “Not Inspected”.