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Operating Systems Home Inspection from A to Z - DVD Flash Videos

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Operating Systems Home Inspection from A to Z - DVD Videos. Real Estate Home Inspection, Appraisal, Energy Saving Home Improvements.-Operating Systems Home Inspection from A to Z - DVD Videos. Real Estate Home Inspection, Appraisal, Energy Saving Home Improvements.

 

Electrical System

Electrical System photos: P 69-P 90, P 207

The National Electric Code, or the NEC as it's also called, is the standard that most local building departments use to draw up their electrical construction codes. Most local municipalities will adapt the NEC codes to fit the needs of their local area. The NEC codes are only recommendations and the local building departments are not required to follow them. However, the local electrical codes are never far off from the NEC codes because they're very good, safe recommendations.

The basic operation of an electrical system is very similar to that of a plumbing system:

  • Electricity is brought in through the service entrance lines to the house from the utility company lines in the street. It's just like a water main line.

  • From this main line, the electricity then passes through an electrical meter. The electrical meter registers the amount of electricity that's used. The electricity then travels to the main electrical panel.

  • From the main panel the current is then carried to different parts of the house. The current travels through the "hot " interior electrical wiring that branches out in different directions to all parts of the house. The hot wires are similar to the plumbing supply lines. The expression "hot" is used to describe the wires that are carrying the live electrical current to the appliance, outlet, switch, etc.

  • After the electricity is used at an outlet or light fixture, the used electrons then go back to the main panel along the "neutral" wiring in the branch lines. The neutral wiring is similar to the plumbing drainage lines.

  • Just as water in a drainage line is under extremely low gravity pressure, so the electrons flowing through the neutral wire are at close to zero volts. They've given up nearly all of their energy in operating whatever device they've passed through.

  • The neutral wiring then carries the neutral electron current back to the ground via the grounding cable. It's similar to a city or septic sewer system where the used water drains into.

  • There are three terms to describe the power of electricity:  Volts, Amps and Watts.

  • The total of the electrical current is called Volts. For example, the total potential of the electrical current in a house with three service entrance lines, is 220 volts. This is similar to the water pressure in the water main line supplying a house. Let's say you cut open that main water line that runs from the street to the house. Then the amount of water pressure rushing out of this pipe would be similar to the potential of the current in the electrical service lines. The only difference is that instead of measuring the electrical current in water pressure standards, you're measuring it in Volts.

  • The total of the electrical current being used by a particular electrical branch line inside the house is called Amps. This is similar to the water pressure in the water supply lines inside a house. If you turn on a faucet, you don't draw all of the water from the water main line supplying the house. You just draw some of the water. The only difference here again is that instead of measuring the electrical current in water pressure standards, you're measuring it in Amps for that particular branch line. Amps is the abbreviation for Amperes. Amperes measures the rate or strength of electric flow. This is similar to the flow of water being measured in gallons per minute. Amperage is the actual measure of current flowing in a circuit to an appliance.

  • The actual electrical power being used by a particular light bulb or appliance inside the house is called Watts. The only difference is that instead of measuring the electrical current in water gallons per minute standards, you're measuring it in Watts.

You're not required to do any math but if you want to use mathematical equations to impress your client, then feel free. You can use the following equations to help figure out if there are any possible overloaded electrical circuits in the house.

Watts = Volts x Amps
or
Amps = Watts / Volts

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