"Canada's Premier Inspection Service"
The Inspector Newsletter
September 2017: Appliance Inspections
Maintenance Matters
Proper Maintenance For Electrical Systems

Taking care of electrical problems starts with proper maintenance. There are some common wiring issues that can be checked for proper functioning, especially concerning outlets. Here are some problems to be on the lookout for:

  • Reverse polarity is simply an outlet that is wired backwards. Certain colored wires must be attached to the correct screws and problems can arise if this isn’t the case.
  • Ungrounded outlets don’t allow excess electricity to flow safely or limit static electricity buildup for electronics. Any modern three-prong outlet should be grounded, although they often aren’t.
  • Ground Fault Interruption Outlets (GFIs) are placed in rooms like the kitchen and bathroom and automatically shut off when a small ground fault is detected. These outlets can restrict shock hazards and should be installed in water-intensive areas.

A qualified inspector or electrician should be called to see if there are any problems with your outlets. With some simple maintenance and periodic testing, your outlets should provide safe electricity throughout your home.

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What’s a Kilowatt and Kilowatt Hour?

Each month, your electric bill shows how much you are charged for kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity — simply, how much energy you use per hour in your home. Watts are a unit of power, and one kilowatt (kW) equals 1,000 watts. The average price for electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kWh. Here are some common household appliances and how much energy they consume per hour on average:

  • Ceiling fan: 0.075 kWh per hour
  • Central air conditioning unit (3 ton/12 SEER): 3.0 kWh per hour
  • Electric furnace: 10.5 kWh per hour
  • ENERGY STAR frost-free refrigerator (17 cu. ft.): 73.0 kWh per month
  • Washing machine (hot wash/ warm rinse): 73.0 kWh per month
  • Television (40–49-inch LCD): 0.4 kWh per hour
  • Laptop computer: 0.02 to 0.05 kWh per hour
  • DVR recorder: 28.8 kWh per month
  • Xbox 360 gaming system: 0.15 kWh per hour

Sources: duke-energy.com, solaroregon.org, npr.org

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What are Phantom Loads?

  1. Electronics and appliances that consume power when they are turned off but still plugged in.
  2. Residual or unused energy that can be re-purposed to power electronics and appliances.
  3. The energy stored in electronics and appliances after they are unplugged.
  4. Warnings on electronic devices that indicate they need to be charged or plugged in.

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Tim Horton’s gift card. Submit your answer to your local GPI inspector to find out if you’ve won.

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Sent by National Property Inspections - 9375 Burt Street, Suite 201, Omaha NE 68114

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Gerry Millen RHI, CMI
Building Science Thermographer
Mold Inspector & Assessor
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