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Pot Lights Picture

Having conducted over 1,500 home inspections in the Barrie, Orillia and Alliston area there are some electrical defects that keep appearing. Having just completed a two-day CEC course I made notes and will list these common defects. Note: These are quotes from the Canadian Electrical Code and may differ from your local authority. It is always recommended that you check with your local authority for any local rules that may apply.

Code REF: 12-3024 Unused Openings in Boxes, cabinets and fittings

Unused openings in boxes, cabinets, and fittings shall be effectively closed by plugs or plates affording protection substantially equivalent to that of the wall of the box, cabinet or fitting.

This is always picked on any home that has had any renovations or change of heating system. Plugs are available from most hardware stores that just snap into place and only cost pennies.

Receptacles for Dwelling Units.

Location

except as otherwise provided for in this Code, in dwelling units duplex receptacles shall be installed in the finished walls of every room or area, other than kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, laundry rooms, water closet rooms, utility rooms, or closets, so that no point along the floor line of any usable wall space is more than 1.8m horizontally from a receptacle.
at least one duplex receptacle shall be provided in each area, such as a balcony or porch that is not classed as a finished room.
One receptacle for refrigerator and if gas stove one not more than 130mm from floor.
Sufficient 15 amp/split or T-slot so that distance is not greater than 900mm.
At least one duplex receptacle shall be provided at ground level.
One duplex receptacle per car parking in residential garage.
Stove receptacles shall be located at a height not exceeding 130mm at center of receptacle.
Electric water heaters shall be controlled by temperature regulating device and also be provided with a secondary protection that will open if temperature reaches 96 C.
Electric water heaters shall be installed so that electrical supply connections, service covers, and name plate markings will be accessible.
All branch circuits within 1.5 m from the floor shall be adequately protected from mechanical injury.
3 way switches will be supplied for any stairs containing four or more risers, except an un-finished basement, which is excempt.

Pot Lights

When buying pot lights for your home, always ensure that you read the manufactures installation instructions prior to purchasing. Many halogen pot lights are designed for installation in suspended ceiling as they require air space to prevent overheating.

If you are installing pot lights into your attic, carefully read your manufactures instructions and specifically look for required clearances. It is possible to build a 3 sided box out of drywall or plywood and install this over the pot light. You have now met the manufactures installation requirements and can now cover you boxes with insulation, protecting your attics insulation integrity.

Over 50% of the pot lights I scan with my thermal imaging camera show huge amounts of heat loss. Not only do a majority of pot light installations not have adequate insulation installed on top of them, but usually the installer has compressed and waded through the blown in attic insulation and left exposed trails through out the attic.

Insulation

Although I have covered this issue in my Ice Dams article, I am still going out many times a week for attics with leaks, ice build up or moisture issues.

Do not stuff insulation into your rafters along your outer wall unless you are 100% sure of how much ventilation you need and where your soffit vents are. Some older homes only have a couple of vents in their soffits so it is a recipe for disaster to arbitrarily plug up your soffits. Also, your insulations R-value comes from the air trapped in the insulation. Compressing or rolling insulation negates most of its R value and then you have only accomplished preventing your attic from being properly ventilated.

If you have questions about any of these items, call your local municipality or city building department or one of your local professional home inspectors for some free advice.

By Roger Frost

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