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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Electrical Power Systems in Buildings Explained for Those in Electrician School

August 25, 2020

Have you ever wondered how electricity flows into buildings? An electrical power system helps make this into a reality. With electrical power systems and their parts and conductors, they can vary based on how big or small the building is. The processes used to deliver electricity into those buildings can also differ based on the size and nature of the building. Electrical power is delivered and converted to any load in the building using the electricity. The power being distributed within the buildings can differ depending on both the size of the building using it and the system itself.

Understanding how electricity travels towards outlets in rooms in a building is important to know for your electrician career, as well as the necessary procedures for it to travel efficiently within the building, regardless of size. Here’s what an aspiring electrician should know about electrical power systems in buildings.

Important Facts for Electrician School Students to Know

For any electrical power system, electricity is delivered via conductors, which brings power between two different areas of the building. Usually in electrical cable form, conductors deliver electricity to a load device from a generator, and are often made of copper. It’s typically at extremely high voltages that power is transmitted from the plant to buildings, as this is what is most effective. However, smaller buildings have electricity delivered through a meter with lower voltage numbers via a transformer. A switchgear will then be used to not only be an on-off switch for the circuit (with current flow being either automatic or manual), but also to protect equipment from the power supply. Lastly, a load device such as a heating unit is used to turn electricity into energy types like light or heat.

Electricity is usually brought into buildings at extremely high voltages

Larger-Sized Buildings: Bigger Spaces Need Bigger Systems

A big building needs an equally big load of electricity. Electrical equipment must also be proportionately sized for the power it would carry, and a transformer would be used to lower the high voltages coming through it. A switchgear—or multiple ones, if the building needs more than one transformer—then delivers electricity to various parts of the building, via either a bus or feeder. Students in electrician school probably already figure this is the case, but large-scale buildings need more power, and electrical systems for these types of buildings are used to study factors like load flow to ensure the conductors and equipment are sized accordingly. With taller buildings such as high-rise apartment complexes, high-voltage lines can be brought into the building in order to place different transformers in rooms on different floors. 

Smaller-Sized Buildings and Residences: A Simpler Process for Power

Those in electrician training may already know that smaller buildings and homes do not have a very complex system for distributing electricity. In these instances, either a utility pole or a pad will have the transformer attached to it–reducing the voltage before power goes to the meter. About 13,800 volts from the utility is significantly reduced, with power later going from the meter into the building. It then travels to a panel board with a series of breakers. Various circuit-based components in a home, such as lights or electrical outlets, will have this power flowing toward it. Residential homes often use low voltages of electricity, ranging between 110 and 260 volts. Smaller buildings such as low-rises tend to use step-down transformers, which reduce voltage to various levels depending on the size of the device using it.

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

Considering Pre-Apprentice Maintenance Electrician Training? Here’s a Day in the Life of an Electrical Technician

July 21, 2020

Heading out on any new career path, it’s normal to have a level of curiosity about where that path will lead. You might wonder about what your responsibilities will be, or what kinds of environments you can expect to work in, or have other important questions as you look forward to your coming future.

If you find yourself in this situation while considering a construction and maintenance electrician pre-apprenticeship program, take a look at this quick guide to a day in the life of an electrical technician. It should give you some decent answers to many of the common questions regarding this career path, and get you excited for your future.

Pros With Pre-Apprentice Maintenance Electrician Training Use Diagnostic Tools to Find Problems

As much as modern electronic technology offers many benefits, it also has this habit of breaking down in a way where the problem isn’t obvious. This means electrical technicians often spend a part of their day using diagnostic tools to try and locate where the problem lies in a faulty machine or electrical setup, so that it can later be fixed.

A couple examples of tools commonly used in this work include: voltage testers, which verify whether voltage is present in wires, outlets, switches, or other electrical components. Another tool is circuit breaker finders, which identify which breaker controls an outlet. Several variants on these tools also exist, with each having slightly different capabilities and applications. You will get to learn about many of these different instruments, and how to correctly use them, when you begin your pre-apprentice maintenance electrician training

Electrical Technicians May Do Repair or Maintenance Work on Electrical Systems

Once a problem has been identified within an electrical system, electrical technicians are frequently the ones called upon to fix it. The scope of this work can be quite wide, with many interesting challenges for qualified professionals to tackle.

After your pre-apprenticeship program, your electrician career in construction could involve everything from fixing or replacing light fixtures, to redoing faulty wiring, maintaining, or repairing motors in equipment, and many other interesting tasks.

Needless to say, there’s a lot of skill that goes into performing these tasks well, not the least of which is knowing how to complete the work safely. Attending a pre-apprenticeship program like the one at North American Trade Schools will give you the opportunity to learn repair and maintenance techniques hands-on. This can help ensure that by the time you enter the workforce, you know exactly how to keep yourself and others safe when working with electrical equipment and components. It’s a foundational skill that offers benefits to last a lifetime.

Learning how to do electrical repair work safely is crucial to success in the field

You May Have to Perform Inspections as a Maintenance Electrician

One of the most important parts of many electrical technicians’ days is performing inspections of electrical equipment and systems to ensure they are working as they are meant to. Any deficiencies that are noticed in the process of these inspections are typically noted down, and likely lead to diagnostic and repair work later on.

Inspections of this nature are critical. They might mean the difference between catching a problem early on, versus being confronted with an unexpected breakdown or scrambling to get it fixed. In Ontario, electrical inspections are mandatory for renovations, new construction, and in many industrial and business settings. This means there is no shortage of this type of work out there.

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

4 Tips for First-Year Apprentices Working Towards Electrician Certification

January 22, 2020

become a maintenance electrician

After you complete a pre-apprenticeship program you can seek out an electrician apprenticeship, where you get paid while learning on the job. In Ontario it can take up to five years to complete an apprenticeship during which you will learn the tools of the trade from professionals. An apprenticeship also includes some more time in the classroom and is a necessary step to becoming a licensed electrician.

Before you start your apprenticeship, you may have an idea of what it will be like, but there are a few points that may help you adjust to on-the-job training. Also, depending on which province you apprentice in, there might be loans to buy tools as you start and grants to support you during your classroom hours. In the meantime, here are a few tips to help you during your first year as an apprentice. 

1. Ask Questions

While it is true that you are doing a job and you are getting paid, an apprenticeship is still training and it is a great time to ask questions. Professionals know that you are learning to become a maintenance electrician and should be prepared to explain tools and procedures to you. This may be as simple as asking “what’s next?” and “why?” Electricians have experiential and sometimes highly specialized knowledge that goes beyond the classroom. This is why they may have special insight and it is worth asking for as much information as you can get.  

2. Record Your Hours 

When you are on your way to electrician certification it will be necessary to record your hours and ensure that they are counted toward the completion of your apprenticeship. The same way you will have to keep up to date with electrical codes and regulations as an electrician, you should stay up to date on your progress as an apprentice. Not only is this necessary, it also helps you keep track of how much you’ve learned.

As you learn from professionals, make sure all your work hours are counted properly
As you learn from professionals, make sure all your work hours are counted properly

3. Stay Healthy

You will get a sense of the physical demands in the first year of your apprenticeship and many electricians say it is important to stay in good shape. Electrician work can involve a lot of movement, stretching and lifting. You will be able to work longer and better in your career if you are healthy. The first year of your apprenticeship is a great time to work exercise into your routine, and make sure you are having nutritious meals.  

4. If You Want to Become a Maintenance Electrician, Take Your Work Seriously

Electricians are highly respected skilled trades people and play an important role in construction and maintenance. When you begin your apprenticeship, remember that you have a big responsibility. It is important to do basic things like show up on time for jobs, but it is also important to remember that you are responsible for maintaining safety standards in whatever setting you work. The more seriously you take your work during the first year, the more you’ll develop good habits in your career that can help you land additional work in the future.

Your apprenticeship is your chance to prove that you are serious about your work
Your apprenticeship is your chance to prove that you are serious about your work

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

Exterior Wall Components for Electrician Training and Beyond

December 13, 2019

become a maintenance electrician

When you study construction maintenance for electricians, you will have the opportunity to apply what you learn in the classroom to hands-on training. This will include working on skill sets for commercial, industrial and residential electricity, analyzing and preparing machine controls, and building an exterior wall, among other things.

Exterior building walls, on first glance, may just appear to be what you see from the outside. When you look at a building you may see materials like brick, cement, siding, or shingles. However, the construction of an exterior wall that is fit for its environment is a complex process that requires a lot of attention to detail and design. Here are a few important points about exterior wall components.

A Brief Introduction to Components for Electrician Training

During your electrician training it will become clear that understanding a building layout and how walls are constructed is important for maintaining electrical systems. The exterior wall assembly in particular helps protect the interior of a building from outside elements. This not only refers to providing shelter for people, but also keeping systems within the building running properly.

Here is a quick introduction to the components of exterior wall assembly:

  • Exterior cladding: this layer is chosen based on environmental conditions as well as aesthetics. It is the first, but not most important, defence against weather.
  • Air barrier, also known as air paper or house wrap: this is a weather resistant layer that allows moisture to escape.
  • Vapour control layer: moisture can build up in the exterior wall assembly without this component so it is typically required by building codes and regulations.
  • Insulation: this supports interior temperature control.
  • Structural element: this is the load bearing component (or components) that distributes weight and pressure to the structural frame of a building.
Insulation helps keep the interior of the building warm
Insulation helps keep the interior of the building warm

Interface Conditions

After you are introduced to the functions of each component of an exterior wall assembly it is important to understand how each component affects the whole. Essentially, the assembly must be able to control and mitigate moisture and protect the interior, including its electrical systems. The ways in which the components of the wall assembly are separated, joined and installed, are referred to as the interface conditions. For example, elements like flashing and end dams prevent excess rain from entering the dry zone of the assembly and may be necessary around windows, or where the wall meets the roof.

Examples of Common Materials

There are many standard materials for exterior wall assemblies that you might be familiar with even before you start maintenance electrician training. For example, Tyvek and Typar are two of the most common polyethylene air barriers. They let water vapour out, but eliminate exterior moisture, thus protecting wiring that may otherwise be vulnerable to moisture. Like tarpaper, another common air barrier, they can be damaged by UV rays.

For the exterior cladding some of the most common materials are cedar shingles, vinyl, cement board, stucco, brick, and a few others. Vinyl or steel siding can be applied directly to air paper. However, if you are using brick or stucco, the interface conditions dictate that a layer of rain screen siding may be required. At the very inside, the most common material is drywall. Overall, your expertise on each of these elements will be required as you work with building plans.

Exterior cladding can come in many different materials, such as stucco
Exterior cladding can come in many different materials, such as stucco

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

What Electrician Diploma Students Should Know About Reading Layouts

October 08, 2019

As an electrician (particularly a construction electrician), it’s important to be able to understand how to read electrical blueprints or layouts. With these layouts, you will have a better understanding of how electrical systems are to be built, and where all the various parts (eg. light fixtures, switches, wires) need to go. That said, they can be a bit complicated to look through at first. Luckily, it’s easier to get the hang of than you might think.

Regardless of all the symbols and more specialized aspects you may encounter while reading them, there are ways you can effectively interpret an electrical plan without too much trouble. Here’s what you should know about reading layouts if you’re studying to become an electrician.

Read What’s in the Architectural Layout Before the Electrical One

When you look at the floorplan for the building’s architectural layout first, you’ll get a good sense of how much space you have to work with, where things are, and where electrical parts should logically go. Not only that, but you’ll have information about the layout that isn’t necessarily in the electrical portion of the plan. This can help you identify potential conflicts between the architectural and electrical plans that you may not have noticed by only looking at the electrical plan. Either way, you’re going to need to understand what sort of parameters and space you have to work with, since you’ll have to work within them to make sure all the wires are in the right place and able to deliver power throughout the building in ways that are safe for everyone and compliant with bylaws and regulations.

Electrical plans can be full of symbols and diagrams an electrician needs to fully understand

Familiarize Yourself With the Wiring Diagrams and Symbol Legend Before Getting Started

In many electrical layouts, there will be symbols representing various parts, and it’s important to study the symbol legend before you start working. Once you understand the symbols legend, you’ll be able to work faster and more efficiently. The legend will help you understand what the symbols are, what they mean, and where various components need to be. The plans for the project’s electrical components will also likely show diagrams of the paths the wires will take between the different pieces of equipment—important to keep in mind since you will be learning about residential wiring in your maintenance electrician training. This will show you the breakers running each wire, as well as which items within the house (eg. lights) are grouped or phased together onto one breaker.

It will take proper training as an electrician to have a fundamental understanding of blueprints

Your Electrician Training Will Help You to Read Blueprints

All instructions of the electrical layout have to be followed exactly as written—or drawn—and sometimes the information presented can be overwhelming and will require specialized knowledge on electrical components. For example, you’ll need to understand how power across lines will be distributed, as well as the circuit’s flow and critical points where separate wires connect. It sounds like a lot to take in, but it is important information to remember so that the job is done effectively and so that fire, sparks or other hazards can be avoided. Fortunately, in electrician training you will learn how to read blueprints and building layouts, as well as the fundamental principles of electricity. At the end of the day, no part of the layout can be misinterpreted or ignored, and learning about plans and layouts will help you become a better electrician.

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Construction Maintenance Electrician

What to Know About Conduit Bending for Your Career After Electrician College

September 12, 2019

electrician diploma

Conduit bending is an essential skill electricians learn during their training. Various materials from rigid steel to EMT (electrical metallic tubing) will call for bending at some point or another. If you’re studying to become an electrician, there are numerous reasons why this is an important skill to have under your belt.

While you’ll be taught about conduit bending during your courses, it’s good to have some idea of what it is beforehand. Here’s what students in electrician college need to know about conduit bending.

There Are At Least Four Different Ways You Can Bend It

With regards to conduit bending, there are several methods you can choose to get the job done. Among them are the 90º (also known as the “stub up” bend), back to back, offset, and the saddle bend. The stub-up bend is where one end of the conduit is bent upward into a 90º L shape. Back to back bends are where parallel stub-up bends are made to a 90º angle on both sides, making a U shape.

An offset bend is where a shift is made somewhere along the conduit even though the bend continues to run parallel to where it was initially. Lastly, the saddle bend is where one portion of the conduit is bent at 45º over an obstacle before returning to its original plane. You’ll learn to develop your conduit bending skills during maintenance electrician training.

Certain bends involve the conduit eventually going back to its original plane, like offset and saddle bends
Certain bends involve the conduit eventually going back to its original plane, like offset and saddle bends

Bending Conduit Involves a Lot of Marking

After you’ve undergone the first step of selecting the proper bender and removing cutting burrs if necessary, you’ll need to mark the points on the conduit for bending it properly. You’ll then need to decide where the conduit should start, the necessary length of the bend, and where you need it to change direction. Then, you’ll need to mark the bend’s midway point before measuring to make sure those marks will bend correctly, and then mark another line on the floor.

In other words, make sure you buy yourself a Sharpie if you want to be an electrician! However, if your bend is for exposed work like in factories, use a pencil instead to prevent the ink from bleeding through after the conduit is painted.

You’ll Want a Good Bender After Electrician College, But it’s Not the Only Tool You’ll Need

Whether it’s made of steel or aluminum, it should go without saying that having a good bender to use after getting your electrician diploma is important. However, aluminum ones are preferred over steel, as the latter type is a lot heavier. It’s also very useful for newer electricians to have a handle as well as multiplier markings on the bender, to streamline the calculation process.

A good bender is essential for bending conduit, but you’ll need more than just that on hand
A good bender is essential for bending conduit, but you’ll need more than just that on hand

While a bender is easily the most essential tool you’ll need here, it’s not the only one. You will need a strong, high-quality level, and ideally one with rare-earth magnets and levels attached to them. Additionally, you will do well to have a tape measure and a framing square on hand, as both will be key in helping ensure you get the correct angles and measurements for the bend.

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