Electrician likes to waste money?

This was a new one…
I did two brand new home inspections today, (DR Horton) both on the same street, and they both had all the branch circuits run with one size higher than needed.
-All the 15 amp breakers had 12 gauge wiring, the 20 amps had 10 gauge, even the 30 amp breakers for the water heater, hvac, dryer, had 8 gauge, stranded.

I wonder if these guys were even licensed, I found several other defects, including:
-No exterior GFCI on one of the homes, and the other home was missing it at one receptacle. (they installed individual gfi receps, instead of just tying them together at one location)
-Several grounding conductors were torqued down to the point of almost severing the wire
-One bedroom had the smoke and the CO alarms swapped (CO inside bedroom)

Anyways, what’s odd, is that the sheathing was color coded for one size larger than usual (white was #12 yellow was #10, orange was #8)

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Cable-sheath color coding started around 2001 and is still voluntary. So they may have some old stock or …

Yeah, just odd, I know some older wiring has white sheathing for #12. But these even looked different, like a newer brand I have not come across yet. But you would think the electrician would realize what sizes he was running all throughout the home, especially considering the costs.
It wasnt just using old stock, because every single circuit was oversized

What brand is the wiring? Chinese?

Or possibly mislabeled?

Didnt see a manufacturer, but they were not mis-labeled. I could tell they were #12 and #10. And again, even the 30 amp breakers had the #8 stranded. I did use my wire gauge on those just out of curiosity

Gotcha. I didn’t look at all the photos, including the 30 amp breaker, pretty obvious it is a #8. Weird I’ve never seen that before.

Maybe it’s one of these new “safe spaces” I keep hearing about :slight_smile: An extra cushion of safety for those that need it.

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Still in training guys but my understanding at least here in Calif. The there’s nothing in the NEC that says you can’t but in fact can. Here in San Diego I’ve been notified by my city inspector that they are now going to require to verify no voltage drop from my I’m a GC, home runs to their respected destination. So if you ran a 14 gauge 15 amp circuit to let’s say the end of a huge home there will be a drop. Not so if you run #12.

Voltage drop on long runs has always been a consideration. It’s common to find panels at opposite ends of large houses that I always assumed were to eliminate the potential problems you mention. Basically, feed a panel (with oversized feeders if needed) then you have a new “home base” to work from.

Btw… not trying to be hyper-critical but your post looks like a combination of great grammar and some other parts that got caught in a garbage disposal. Proofreading and good writing are a critical part of being a successful inspector.


Thank you for the constructive criticism. For 30 + yrs. I’ve been sharing a story before I start large projects with my clients. Titled, Constructive Criticism.
There’s a young man walking along side an older gentleman. The young man inquiries, " on your jacket you have all these badges but there’s only one badge on your back, why? "
The gentleman responds, all that you see here in front, represent all the things I’ve corrected. The one on the back is what everyone else sees but I can’t.
I then proceed to share that we’re going to do it best but please if you see something that I don’t please bring it to my attention.
Using the phone/tablet these days with auto correct or being too much of a hurry fully describes my garbage collection. :slight_smile:
Thanks again

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Maybe they were considering future needs. Somewhere down the line a 20 amp circuit may be needed. The wire is ready, as it seems to be for most of the circuits. Easy to go up.

Interesting find, Daniel.

With the price of wiring quadrupling in the past year, I don’t see how they could not care about costs. Maybe the electrician got a good deal on mis-identified wiring(wrong jacket color).

If, in fact, the yellow jacketed wiring was #10, I could see why the didn’t parallel the GFCI receptacles. It can be hard enough to get 2 sets of 12 gauge and a GFCI in an 18 cu in box. Or maybe 2 sets of 10 gauge and a receptacle would have exceeded the fill rate of a smaller box. Who knows.

Maybe the apprentice was given a little too much free reign on the job site.

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It sounds like they used copper clad aluminum NM cable.


So it is a cost issue.

Does that explain the over torquing that Daniel observed? And, is CCA inherently larger than copper wiring?

Copper clad aluminum is typically used with the conductors being one size larger than copper conductors. Given the price of copper it can be a cost saving option.


Interesting thought, but i didn’t see any indications of aluminum. Even at the grounding conductors that were tightened down to a pancake didn’t show any aluminum.

Plus, that doesn’t explain the stranded #6 and #8 that were also oversized

Are you sure that the actual wire size is upsized by 1 size and not just the sheathing got mislabeled? Because mislabeling is rare, but I’ve personally seen the outside HVAC unit having an AHRI logo saying “unitary small AC”, when the actual unit is a Heat Pump and should have been labeled “unitary small HP” on several new construction houses in a single neighborhood.

I just threw that out there. I’m on a very low bandwidth connection so I couldn’t view the photos.

Yes, I’m positive. I knew they looked larger before I even started investigating further

Huh, well that is interesting then. Now you’ve got me curious as to why they are doing this. Are you going back to that subdivision any time soon? If so, can you go to one of the houses that is still at the predrywall stage and take some longer pieces of scrap wiring/sheathing or take a picture of the labeling on some of the rolls of wiring the electricians are using? That can help with explaining this. If you don’t feel up to it then oh well, just a little curiosity on my part.

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