Electrical Inspection Questions & More
Wading through obtaining all of the necessary electrical permits for a construction project can often be a confusing process. If you seek clarification in the Central Alberta area, IJD Inspections Ltd. is here to help. You can browse our most frequently asked questions below or contact us for more direct assistance.
Electrical Inspection Questions
Q. Do I need an electrical permit?
A. Electrical permits are required for installing, replacing, removing, connecting, disconnecting or repairing electrical work except replacing fuses, receptacles, switches and utilization equipment with proper respective units of a similar type where the replacement can be made without other modifications to the installation. For more information on permits, please see our Electrical Permits page.
Q. When do I call for an electrical inspection?
A. Call for an electrical inspection a minimum of five business days prior to drywalling or occupancy.
Q. Are there resources available for the do-it-yourselfer?
A. If you are not 100% sure of what you are doing, hire someone that does or purchase the Electrical Code Simplified book. It is a great do-it-yourself guide! We typically have a few available for purchase at our office. It will be the best $25 you have ever spent.
Electrical Code Information for Homeowners
If a Permit is being applied for a project that is now complete, be aware that the work being covered by the Permit must comply with all CURRENT Code Regulations that are in effect at the time of Permit issuance.
Some of these Code rules are:
- All bedrooms now require smoke detectors to be installed (hard wired) inside them.
- All receptacles in a residence must be protected by an Arc Fault breaker (AFCI). The only exceptions to this are (a) kitchen counter plugs (b) fridge plugs (c) plugs for sump pumps if a separate circuit (d) bathroom GFCI plugs if not on a circuit with other plugs (e) deep freeze plugs if a separate circuit. This rule applies to anything that plugs in such as a Microwave, washing machine, garburator, etc.
- All weatherproof plug covers for 15 or 20 amp- 120 volt plugs must be of the type that allows the cover to close while the cord is plugged in. This applies to ANY outdoor plug whether for a RV, car plug, septic tank pump, etc.
- Detached Garages: When putting in underground power, you MUST use a cable or wire that is approved for wet locations. This means you CANNOT use NMD wire even if in a PVC conduit. Underground is a wet location - pipe or no pipe so you need NMWU wire. Trenches must be a minimum of 24" deep if underground where vehicles don't drive over or 36" if under a driveway. You can reduce these to 18" & 24" respectively if a conduit or cable with an armour covering is used. Plugs in Detached garages do NOT require AFCI.
- Hot Tubs: The breaker supplying the tub must be a GFCI type. The tub DOES NOT require a disconnect near it. If you choose to install one outside by it, it must be at least 10' away from the tub edge. Ensure there are no plugs within 5' of the tub & if there are any within 5-10’ they must be GFCI protected.
- Plugs by sinks: Any 15 or 20 amp 120 volt - plug that is within 5' of ANY sink - ANYWHERE - must be GFCI protected. Be careful with kitchen counter plugs if you are planning to install split receptacles. You must use a 2 pole 15 amp GFCI breaker on them. You cannot split a GFCI plug!
- Renovations: When doing renovations to your electrical, you are required to bring up to current Code only the electrical you are redoing. This applies to panel changes too. If you change out your panel you are not required to bring up to Code anything else in the house. As long as the existing cables that are going into the new panel are in good condition – you can reconnect them again.
Helpful Homeowner Hints for Electrical Applications:
When upgrading the electrical wiring, you will be responsible to bring up to current code ONLY the wiring you are adding or replacing.
* It is important that you indicate, on your permit application, exactly what you are doing. We only inspect what the permit covers.
- Use an antioxidant on ALL aluminum terminations.
- The service ground (from plate, rods, etc.) must go directly to the panel – not to the meter base. It must enter the main breaker compartment.
- Service ground is to terminate on the neutral buss – not panel frame. Do not double lug it with the neutral conductor.
- Any plugs used for construction purposes must be GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protected.
When terminating cables into boxes:
- Strip the outer coating before putting in the box. Do not over-tighten the clamps. Snug is great!
- Make all splices at rough in stage. It’s so much easier when you can still trace the wires.
- Do not install plugs and switches until after drywall is installed.
- Leave an extra few inches of cable before the box. This may come in handy if your drywaller has a bad day.
- Ensure vapour hats are installed on any box going in a wall or ceiling that will have a vapour barrier.
- If installing pot lights in an insulated ceiling, ensure they are marked I.C. Rated.
- ALL recepts must be of the “tamper-resistant” type. This does not include recepts used for dedicated appliances (i.e. microwave, washer, fridge, etc.).
- Carbon monoxide detectors are required on every floor containing a bedroom. A combo smoke/CO detector is most common.
- All outside weatherproof plugs must have covers that are weatherproof with cords plugged in.
- With all bedroom plugs requiring to be fed from an Arc Fault breaker: to limit expense, put as many plugs on a circuit as possible. A maximum of 12 outlets is permitted, so don’t use up lights in this 12.
Underground to garages:
- NMD cable CANNOT be used even if in conduit.
- Using conduit only allows the minimum burial depth to be reduced.
- A 30 or 40-amp subpanel is ample for the vast majority of garages.
- All exterior plugs must be GFCI protected.
- Electrical Code allows for Gas & Electrical to be buried in the same trench.
- Minimum depth =
- 36” if under driveway
- 24” if under lawn
- 18” if under a plank or in a conduit
Ensure all electrical is either weatherproof or is in such an enclosure.
15 & 20-amp – 120-volt recepts must be GFCI-protected.
- GFCI protection of power supply is required.
- A disconnect at tub is NOT mandatory. If one is installed, it must be a minimum of 10’ away.
- Make sure no plugs on the house are within 5’ of the tub. Any from 5-10’ must be GFCI-protected.
- A supply cable cannot just lay on top of the ground unless it’s under a deck with no access.
ICF (insulated concrete foundation) MUST BE DRYWALLED. That means that it is deemed a finished wall, and thus requires the minimum number of plugs as per the Electrical Code.