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Old 01-21-2010, 12:28 PM   #1
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homeowner electrical exam


i'm about to completely re-wire my house starting from the breaker panel (all new lighting, recepticals, smoke alarms, etc). The county I live in allows homeowners to take a general electrical exam and if you pass they allow you to pull your own permit and do your own work but you must live in the house for 2 years after. I've read about other states/counties doing this as well. I called my county office and they will not tell me what is on the exam and only that if you know what you are doing, you should be able to pass it.

I've done a good bit of home wiring in the past and had an electrician give me a guide to my circuit layouts, but I don't want to leave anything for chance in not passing this test. Has anyone taken one of these exams, or does anyone know what type of material is on this test and how to prepare?

Thanks!

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Old 01-21-2010, 12:39 PM   #2
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Here is an example. Dont know if it will help or not.
http://www.wichita.gov/NR/rdonlyres/...nersManual.pdf

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Old 01-21-2010, 01:07 PM   #3
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Find out how many times you can take the test.

If you can fail several times, then you would know what was required after taking the 1st test.

Also find out if it is an open book test. If yes, get a copy of the National Electrical Code for your area. Some areas are on one year code book, other areas another year code book.

Find out if your area has amendments to the National Electrical Code. If yes, get a copy of that too.

Here is some info from various different states...
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&s...f&aql=&aqi=&oq=

NEC codes used by state...
http://www.schneider-electric.us/sup...adoption-map2/
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:03 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info! I'll look those links over.

The test from what they said can only be taken once, and i'm not sure what you need to score for a passing grade. One guy in the office did say there was a chance someone might get a second chance if they were close.

Also, it is only a 2 hour exam and i'm pretty sure it's not open book.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:28 PM   #5
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homeowner electrical exam


Every state should adopt this rule. Excellent idea to get homeowners familiar with the projects before they start.
Some jurisdictions have a check sheet for homeowners when they are performing electrical work to keep them abreast of what the inspectors will be looking for. If your jurisdiction has a check list for electrical projects, get every check list they have and look them over. Good Luck.
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Old 01-21-2010, 04:32 PM   #6
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Heres a sample test in NC
http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/...owner+Exam.htm
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Old 01-21-2010, 05:42 PM   #7
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If you only get one chance, then might consider some regular electrician exam prep materials like the following...
http://www.licensedelectrician.com/Store/Mike_Holt.htm

Hummm... What would a homeowner not know? (And these would be the questions they would ask...)

I guess totally understand everything to do with home wiring. Wire sizes, box fill, derating, amperage, wattage, voltage, main panels as opposed to subpanels (4 wire and subpanel neutral not bonded to ground), detached garages and ground rods for subpanels as opposed to attached garages, circuit amperage for continuous loads - 80%, what is a continuous load, MWBC or multi-wire branch circuits, tie bar double breaker now required for MWBC.

Ground rod requirements, bonding of metal pipe systems.

How far to burry wire underground.

Electrical boxes have cubic inches based on the size inside. Be familiar with that and box fill which is how many wires you can cram (I mean install ) into the box. Also conduit - how many wires...
http://ecmweb.com/nec/code-basics/el...l_calculations

AFCI, GFCI, required circuits in kitchen/bathroom/other rooms, tamper resistant outlets, wet areas and GFCI. Where is GFCI required? Where is AFCI required?

A 20 amp circuit and one single outlet on that circuit? Must it be a 20 amp outlet?

Can you have multiple 15 amp outlets on a 20 amp circuit?

Might also find the "electric service requirements" from your electric company and read that. Here is one from my area...
(Might be specific to your area, so find yours!)
http://www.pacificpower.net/con/esr.html

Read the installation instructions for various products like GFCI, AFCI, load centers, outlets, switches, light fixtures, ranges, dryers, HVAC equipment, etc.

New requirements for 2008 NEC...
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&s...aql=&aqi=g1&oq=


Sample electrician questions...
(Ignore non-residential questions)

http://www.electrical-contractor.net...n/codequiz.cgi?

http://www.thelearningpit.com/elec/b...e/quizmenu.asp

http://www.dir.ca.gov/DAS/ecu/ECU_TestInfo.htm#sq

http://www.electriciansexam.com/v1/quickTest.jsp

http://www.electrician2.com/rveltrain05/qp972/e105.htm

http://www.contractor-licensing.com/...quizmaker.html

http://www.mikeholt.com/quiz_take.php?quiz_id=9

http://www.pacificemployers.com/Safe...%20Quiz_01.htm
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Old 01-21-2010, 11:00 PM   #8
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If you are going to buy the 2008 NEC code book, might want to consider the 2008 NEC "Handbook" which has pictures and explanations along with the codes.

Check out the "Sample Pages" here...
http://www.nfpa.org/catalog/product....ookie%5Ftest=1
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Old 01-22-2010, 12:38 PM   #9
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I would be OK with this as long as the fee for the exam was very, very low (less than $25) and you were allowed to retake the test after a few months.
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:37 AM   #10
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some of the worst plummers and electricians i know are licensed journeyman,just because you can pass a test dont mean you know how to work in the field! the guy i did my apprentiship under was an apprentice for 25 years cuz he couldnt pass the written test,but he couldout wire any body i know including me 25 years later! RIP Danny Sorenson so now when i hire a guy i take him to a job site and see what he can do in the real world
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:35 PM   #11
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homeowner electrical exam


Thanks for all the info! I guess if i have trouble passing now, it won't be for a lack of resources.

Thanks again!
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:32 AM   #12
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So I went and took the test and was able to pass. It covered very basic info which didn't really require any studying or open book material to pass. They asked things like...

-given the two switches and light show, draw the connections to wire them in a three way configuration.

-given the drawing, complete the wiring of the AC unit including safety equipment (basically looking for the addition of a disconnect and conduit, etc)

-several outlets were shown and they asked which go with certain rooms/appliances

-several questions about wire guage/amp ratings/and appropriate breaker size

-given the drawing of the service into the panel, is it wired correct?

-given a drawing of outlets in a room, is the spacing acceptable.

things like that.

I appreciate the feedback and resources everyone has provided here. They will come in handy in making sure I get my house wired correctly!

Thanks again!
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:27 PM   #13
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homeowner electrical exam


As a Homeowner, the city I was living in allowed you to take the Electrical test like this, but only after a brief interview by the Inspector dude.
The first thing he asked me was where do I work? I named the company and he asked if I knew a certain fellow, our Head Electrician. I replied yes, I do, we shared an office.

I didn't have to take the test. They had worked together for years. The inspector knew that the Head Electrician would be directing me and likely be doing the tricky work... he was like that.


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