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Home Inspector

Home Wiring 

The internal workings of the home include not only the wiring but also the plumbing, septic, phone and our beloved cable TV.  Let’s look at the internal wiring first and address the others later.

We live in an environment that is constantly creating corrosion.  The salt air and humidity that surround us are a caustic cauldron for almost all man-made products.  And let’s not forget the sunshine for which we all came here.

All wiring must follow the standards set by the National Electrical Code.  The internal wiring in a home is (or should be) made of copper.  Aluminum wiring was banned in the early 1980s and would not survive two years here.  The wiring we see in Caribbean homes can be type UF (outdoor rated), Romex (indoor rated) or THHN (installed in tubing).  The most popular is the Romex variety, installed on the surface, and the THHN, installed in PVC pipe.

 

Romex itself is nothing more than THHN surrounded by a light plastic wrapping.  It’s not really made for exposed surface wiring; any slight impact or rubbing will compromise its integrity.

PVC pipe is the choice for installing throughout the walls and floors of homes.  It can be used on the surface indoors where it is not exposed to harsh sunlight or high temperatures.

Outside, PVC pipe needs to have a “sunlight” rating. Without this rating, the pipe will deteriorate and crumble over time.  PVC also has the ability to expand and contract in the heat.  Without expansion joints, the pipe will become a snake and eventually work its joints free, exposing the wire.

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UF cable is sun- and weather-resistant and can stand up to harsh treatment, making it one of the better products to use when installing underground wiring or surface wiring.  Any home with electrical metallic tubing installed in the concrete (a choice of many years back) will see the pipe rusted out and faults occurring with the wiring.

If you experience electrical problems in your home you might want to ask someone to look at what type of wiring is providing power throughout the house.  You may be surprised by what they find.  

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