Construction Maintenance Electrician

If You’re Considering Electrician Training, Here’s How Moisture Can Affect Residential Wiring

February 23, 2021

Water damage is a common occurrence in residential buildings. In addition to being an inconvenience, water damage can also be a serious safety hazard. When combined, water and electricity can be an extremely dangerous pair — sometimes even deadly. There are many different kinds of moisture that can cause damage to the residential wiring systems in a home or business, with varying degrees of severity depending on the form of moisture and the method of intrusion. 

If you’re thinking about becoming an electrician, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs of moisture damage in order to address potential threats to the safety of a building’s inhabitants and the integrity of its wiring system. Here’s what future electricians should know about the effects of water damage on residential wiring systems.

A Look at Wiring’s Ability to Withstand Moisture for Those with Electrician Training

Most residences contain cables and wiring with different levels of insulation, depending on where they are located. Water exposure can have a varied effect on electrical wiring systems depending on their make and insulation type, as well as the amount of exposure. Wiring systems may consist of bare conductors, such as copper grounding wires, or conductors insulated with nonconductive material such as plastic or vinyl. 

Depending on level of insulation, wires can differ in their ability to withstand exposure to moisture

Professionals with electrician training can identify the level of insulation on a conductor by looking at the wire coding. If there’s a “W” in the coding, this means that a wire is suitable to withstand conditions of moisture. Some cables, such as UF-B cables, are manufactured specifically to withstand wet or damp conditions, protecting conductors in water-proof plastic vinyl. However, residences are commonly equipped with plastic-coated Romex cables–consisting of copper ground wire coated with paper and wrapped in neutral and live wires. This wiring is typically unable to withstand exposure to moisture due to its lower level of insulation. 

How Moisture Can Harm Residential Wiring

Whenever water penetrates through the walls of a structure, whether in a liquid, frozen, vaporized or condensed form, moisture damage can occur to the residential wiring systems. Within indoor structures, many electrical components are not designed to withstand contact with water, and it’s important that electricians are familiar with elements vulnerable to water damage. Common causes of water damage in residences include burst pipes, leakage and flooding. Excessive moisture resulting from conditions such as a humid environment can also be a catalyst for milder cases of damage. 

Moisture damage can cause residential wiring to corrode

The most common effects of moisture on wiring include corrosion and mold growth. Over time, corrosion can lead to gradual deterioration of wiring components–leaving systems vulnerable to power loss or further damage. Interior electrical components are typically made more vulnerable to water contact due to the fact that they are often only protected by enamel, which is not effective in preventing water damage. As a result, moisture can cause mountings, conductors, or metal connectors to corrode. Additionally, moisture can increase the current of electrical circuits, leading to overheating and increasing the risk of a fire, or resulting in a blown fuse. When a fuse is blown, short circuiting will occur in the electrical system.

What to Do When Electrical Water Damage Occurs

For those who want to become a construction electrician, it’s important to know what to do in the case of potential water damage to a residential wiring system. If water damage is detected within a structure, it’s important to cut off electrical supply at a residence’s fuse box before inspecting any electrical circuits. Failing to do so could result in shock exposure. In the case of moisture damage, all vulnerable components should be inspected to check for areas of corrosion or mold growth. Depending on the extent of the damage, the affected area can be cut out — but it’s also possible that a new set of wiring will be required. The surrounding area should then be further insulated from moisture to protect against future harm.

In the event of flooding, all cable or wiring products that have been submerged in or exposed to floodwater should be inspected thoroughly to determine whether they can still be used. Floodwater can contain additional contaminants which can be harmful to electrical systems. With this in mind, electricians should be sure to check for foreign elements, as these can interfere with a wiring system’s ability to function.

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

If You’re Interested in Electrician Training, Here are 3 Facts About Wiring in the Smart Home

January 13, 2021

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When smartphones hit the market, everyone seemed to want one. Now more and more people are also upgrading their houses to become smart homes–intrigued by the idea of home automation for an easier and more efficient lifestyle. If you’re interested in electrical wiring, this is a trend you might encounter. These setups can include anything from lighting and temperature automation to security and entertainment systems. 

Here’s a quick overview of some key facts about smart home development. 

1. Many Start Home Automation With Smart Plugs or Switches 

Installing smart plugs or switches is a good way to start the home automation process. Smart plugs allow homeowners to control their smart devices using their phones—or even their voice, if smart speakers are around. Smart switches enable them to control the lighting system much more efficiently. The rise of smart devices makes this an important step, with the wiring process for both switches and plugs being fairly similar. 

As an electrician, you’ll first unscrew the wall plate and begin disconnecting wires. It’s a good idea to identify all the wires involved—checking for line and load wires as well as neutral wires. Once everything is properly identified and connected, the homeowner can begin integrating smart applications seamlessly into their home. If you want to become a construction electrician, then you might also be looking to install deep junction boxes (where wires meet) during construction as well as in-wall remote control panels to influence lighting groups for a more complex lighting setup.

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As an electrician, you might be installing smart plugs and switches for a smarter home

2. Home Temperatures Can Be Automated by Wiring Smart Doors and Windows 

In addition to being convenient, automated doors and windows can help manage a home’s temperature during summer and winter. Smart doors can include automated garage and sliding doors–both of which can be programmed to open at a scheduled time. They can also be wired with extra sensors that indicate security risks (such as unlocked or open doors). 

Smart windows can operate in the same way. They can be programmed to open or close depending on room temperature. This can be helpful to homeowners who want easier temperature regulation. As a construction electrician, you might also be interested in wiring a smart thermostat, which should be done carefully as it affects the HVAC system. Smart thermostats can give useful energy reports and control temperatures in different rooms. They also provide other features that could make smart homes a compelling option for homeowners.

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You can automate room temperatures by installing smart doors, windows, and thermostats

3. Those With Electrician Training Can Help Homeowners Set Up Smart Security 

Home alarm systems are a big part of smart home security. Both wired and wireless systems can be used to monitor homes, detect intrusions, and even send notifications directly to an individual’s phone. Wired home security systems are permanent, while wireless systems offer more flexibility and can be easily moved around. This makes the option convenient for homeowners who frequently modify their living space. After your electrician training, you can install home security systems–linking them to motion detectors and security cameras. A wireless setup can be easily hooked into the Wi-Fi network, but wired home security requires a central control panel and some hands-on electrical wiring skills. 

The opportunities for smart home development are endless, with options to add smart smoke detectors, video doorbells, and much more. 

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

3 Challenges to Expect After Electrician College, and How to Tackle Them

December 22, 2020

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The job of an electrician isn’t easy. Electrical problems are a common occurrence in all kinds of structural installations, requiring anything from a simple fix to a complex solution. If not addressed, electrical issues can lead to electrical shocks, fires, or other unsafe conditions. Electricians are vital when it comes to solving electrical problems as they occur, and knowing how to fix common problems safely is essential to a job well done. Most electrical issues are caused by low-quality parts, a lack of regular maintenance, or failure to comply with codes and regulations. Fortunately, all of these problems can be fixed by a qualified electrician. If you want to become an electrician, then you’ll want to be aware of these three common challenges that electricians often face on the job, and how to handle them. 

Those With Electrician Training Should Look Out for Overcrowded Electric Control Panels

Disregarding electrical codes and regulations when putting electrical systems and circuits in place can seriously increase the chances of encountering an electrical problem down the road. Once called in, a qualified electrician should be able to identify and address the problem. One common reason an electrician will be called to the scene is when a breaker or fuse is regularly tripping or blowing. A professional with electrician training will be able to identify the cause of this. Often, the cause can be an overcrowded electric control panel. Too many circuits, breakers, and wires on one control panel can cause overloading, leading to the overheating of components attached to the panel and issues with the fuse and breaker. If left unattended, overloading can cause fires. Electricians can solve this problem by switching to a panel of a larger size, and ensuring that the total load is not above the rating of the breaker or fuse. By being familiar with electrical codes and regulations, this problem can be mitigated.

Haphazard Wiring Methods

If you want to become a construction electrician, one of the main difficulties you’ll encounter throughout your career is incorrect wiring practices. Incorrect wiring practices can be identified by checking power outlets. If they are warm or emitting a burning smell, this is often a sign of faulty wiring. If the wires’ conductors are the wrong size or incorrect connections are used, this can leave wires exposed, causing the insulation to deteriorate and the wires to melt. When exposed wires come in contact with flammable or combustible material, outlets can become warm or emit a burning smell. Electricians can often fix this problem by replacing the conductor with one that is the right size for the wires.

Unsecured Connections

Loose connections refer to an electrical connection that isn’t tight enough, which can cause a buildup of heat and can increase the risk of an electrical fire. A common sign of a loose connection is the frequent flickering or burning out of light bulbs, and can even manifest in a smoke detector going off when it shouldn’t. If the frequency of this occurring is unusual, electricians may suspect that a loose connection is causing the issue rather than the light bulb itself. Loose connections can cause lasting detriment to electrical appliances and can even cause electrical fires. Electricians can solve this issue by cleaning the loose conductors and tightening the connection in concern.

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Incorrect wiring methods or unsecured connections can, in some cases, lead to electrical fires

These are just some of the many problems electricians may face during a day’s work, and it’s important to be knowledgeable about the potential issues that can occur on the job in order to safely and effectively solve the problem.

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

5 Facts About Residential Wiring for Those Interested in Electrical Training

September 29, 2020

If you’re considering becoming an electrician, you might be surprised by the variety of standards and regulations set in place for wiring systems in residences such as homes and cottages. Homes contain a variety of appliances and safety features which require electrical wiring. Hydro One, Ontario’s electricity provider, has a number of specifications in place for how they are to be installed within the home. 

Here are five things to consider with regards to residential wiring. 

Wiring Sizes May Be Different for Residences

For residences, common wire sizes may be different from other types of buildings. The American Wire Gauge Number (AWG) serves as the standard measurement of a wire’s diameter. Residences typically use four kinds of AWG wire sizes, with different amp circuit numbers for each: 8 (40 amp circuits), 10 (30), 12 (20), and 14 (15). The No. 8 AWG is often used for loads like electric ranges. No. 10 is used for loads needing electricity, such as dryers and electric water heaters. No. 12 serves loads like kitchen counter receptacles (e.g. appliances like microwaves). And No. 14 works best with loads such as lights (eg. lamps), switches, smaller appliances, and receptacles. Electrical box sizes may also vary, but this depends on several factors. These include the mounting of switches or receptacles, how many wire conductors are present, how many are in use, and the conductors’ sizes.

Many Different Appliances Require Electrical Installation in a Home

The home has a variety of appliances which have different electrical installation needs. The oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, counter spaces, built-in microwave ovens (and possibly more) all require consideration when planning for residential wiring. These appliances typically require their own, separate receptacle, from an entirely different circuit. As those with electrician training may know, any receptacle with 15 to 20 amp circuits must not only be marked, but tamper-resistant. This is because inserting any conductive object that is not a plug into the receptacle can cause electric shock. However, Hydro regulations state that, if a stationary appliance’s receptacle is a minimum of two metres above ground and/or out of reach, tamper resistance is not necessary. Prior to installation, be sure to mark on your floor plan where these appliances—and their corresponding receptacles—are located.

Different Rooms Within the Home Require Different Wiring Configurations

If you’ve completed maintenance electrician training, you will need to follow many requirements when working on residential homes. Hydro One has a set of requirements for each room in the house to ensure safe living conditions for residents. For one, each room must be equipped with a light controlled by a light switch. Two lights controlled by a three-way wall switch—one for the bottom and the top each—is required for any stairway containing a minimum of four stairs. Keep in mind that, on any two-wire branch circuit, 12 outlets are allowed at maximum. This includes receptacles and lights. Range receptacles must also be installed in the home with their receptacles marked on the floor plan.

Electricians are familiar with different wiring configurations of homes

Those With Electrician Training Should Plan to Install Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms are an important and necessary safety feature for homes. They are required to be installed on each of the home’s floors, and a battery backup should also be present. Additionally, there should be one in each bedroom and an additional alarm in hallways attached to them. These smoke alarms must all be interconnected and should operate at 120 volts. Either a branch circuit with a receptacle/lightning combination or an unswitched lighting branch circuit can be used for these alarms.

Service Size May Depend on the Requirements of the Home

Typically, homes should have a distribution panel containing 24 circuits, and a service size of at least 100 amps. When calculating the service size, take into account the kilowatt demand. There are multiple factors which help to determine this, such as electric heating, the area of the floor, and appliances, among other loads that may be present. Although the service size should be larger if a home requires greater amounts of heating, most homes with a minimum 100-amp service size should be able to maintain both their typical electrical loads and electrical heating of up to 10 kW.

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