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**Voltage drop observations:******
****1. An increasing number of inspectors are testing for voltage drop. There are informational-only notes in the NEC **(215.2 (A)(4) **suggesting that conductors sized to prevent a voltage drop exceeding 3% at power, heating and lighting loads (or combinations of those loads)… and
- That preventing a maximum voltage drop exceeding 5% on both feeders and branch circuits to the farthest outlet…
…will provide reasonable efficiency.
This means on any particular circuit, voltage measured at a device like a receptacle or connection to a load that consumes power, such as a motor, a heating component, or lighting component should not be more than 3% lower than the voltage measured on the same circuit at the OCPD. The OCPD may be located at a service panel, or a distribution (sub-) panel.
This means on any particular circuit, voltage measured at the outlet farthest from the service should not be more than 5% lower than the voltage measured on the same circuit at the OCPD in the service panel.
NEC: Some equipment will operate satisfactorily at a greater voltage drop and some may not tolerate as much as a 5% voltage drop. The 3% and 5% numbers are suggestions, not NEC recommendations. The NEC does not consider all voltage drop beyond these levels to be a safety concern.
Measuring voltage drop exceeds the Standards of Practice of all home inspection organizations.
Reasons to do it:
· Inspectors may perform this type of measurement in order to gain a business advantage over competitors who don’t perform voltage drop measurement,
· It’s possible by measuring voltage drop to identify conditions that may indicate a potential fire danger (such as a bad electrical connections).
· It’s possible by measuring voltage drop to identify conditions that may damage sensitive electronic equipment (such as voltage significantly lower than 120V.
Reasons not to do it:
Inspectors who measure it become responsible for the accuracy of their measurements and how they report their findings, and so open themselves to increased liability. Making mistakes in measuring voltage drop or improperly describing the gravity of a voltage drop has, in the past, cost inspectors future work.