Over the next few months I’m going to be putting out a series or posts on what to look for when walking a house to help estimate repairs. The goal isn’t to make you an expert, but to help you know when something needs fixing. As a wholesaler you just need to come up with an rough estimate (most likely conservative until you gain enough experience). Being able to spot some roof problems, or know what to look for when examining an electrical box should help you out in knowing if you need to replace, repair or leave alone an item on your check list.
I am not experience at all in estimating repairs and have only seriously done it once. That being the case I’m going out and asking the questions and doing the research to come up with a quick check list of items to look for. Each week I will take a closer look at a part of the house and let you know what I find. Hope this is helpfull and if you have something to add, please do so.
- Minimum amperage for a modern house should be about 100amps
- New 200 amp panel & breakers: $1500 to $2000. (Not sure if that is installed or for just the hardware)
Minimum Requirements for House Hold Items (gotten from http://www.applianceaid.com/electric.html)
- Gas Range : 110-120 vols, 60 hertz and a properly grounded 15/20 amp circuit breaker of fuse
- Microwave: 110 – 120 volt, 60 hertz and a properly grounded 15/20 amp circuit breaker of fuse
- Dishwasher: 110 – 120 volt, 60 hertz, properly grounded circuit protected by a minimum 15 amp breaker or fuse ( d/w without temp boost ) to a maximum of 20 amp breaker or fuse ( d/w with temp boost )
- Refrigerator: 110 – 120 volt, 60 hertz, properly grounded circuit protected by a 15 amp circuit breaker or fuse.
- Gas Dryer: 110 – 120 volt, 60 hertz, properly grounded circuit protected by a 15 amp circuit breaker or fuse.
- Electric Dryer: 220 – 240 volt, 60 hertz, properly grounded circuit with 30 amp breaker or fuse protection.
- Electric Range: 220 – 240 volt, 60 hertz, properly grounded circuit with 40 amp breaker or fuse protection with #8 gauge wire. With a 50 amp breaker, # 6 gauge wire is required.
Handy Calculation Formula
- Amp * Volts = Watts
- A standard 120 volt circuit at 20 amps can handle 2400 watts. 120 * 20 = 2400. A typical hair dryer uses about 600 watts for example
- Look (and test?) before touching, open door, look again (rust, burns, gaps, unsafe stance)
- Block client from touching equipment
- May be unsafe to remove upper cover of combination panels (service main at top)
- Sheet metal screw shorts, shocks, fires
- Swing-out covers can pinch wires
- 14 gauge – 15Amps
- 12 gauge – 20 Amps
- 10 gauge – 30 Amps
- 8 gauge – 40 Amps
Other notes regarding circuits and wiring..
- Exceptions to these wire sizes and fusing occur for special circumstances such as air conditioners whose motors produce a brief current surge during startup.
- Aluminum electrical branch circuit wiring size guide: for a circuit of the same amperage, an aluminum solid conductor branch circuit wire must be 1 size larger than copper. Currently (since the 1970’s) aluminum electrical wiring is used only in the form of multi-strand on single-use circuits like range /DHW/AC older solid conductor AL may be present in next gauge.
- Solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring is unsafe, a fire hazard, and requires repair – see The Aluminum Wiring Website
- Mains: Not in: bathroom, clothes closet, kitchen cabinets, stairwells (same as service disconnect)
- Should be at eye level, easily accessible, 3 ft. clearance
- Subs: may be located almost anywhere (still some Sub panels are improper as above).
- Finding hidden sub panels: Look for feeder-breaker/fuse or wires leaving main
- Fuses more reliable to “blow” – not mechanical BUT easier to over-fuse (reduce with S-type retro)
- Breakers more convenient to reset can be tested without having to then replace the safety device – less likely to be over-fused (but over fusing still happens – compare wire gauge to breaker ampacity)
- Obsolete and/or fused neutrals
- Damaged panel/components
- Loose panel
- Inappropriate support material
- Unprotected panel openings/knockouts
- Undersized panel – physical size/crowded
- Overheating – look at mains, breakers, bus, neutrals, wires
- Rust or water – look for rust, corrosion, overheating, subtle spots, suspect hidden damage to bus or breakers, look for water trace marks on entering SEC
- circuits not labeled
- panel overcrowded
- poor access to panel
- panel upside down or switches “on” in down position (obsolete)
- Panel used-with and not suitable for AL wiring
The source for most of this information was found here http://www.inspectapedia.com/electric/ElecPanelInsp.htm
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