IWhen you’ve found your dream home and have decided to go ahead and purchase it, the costs of appraisals and inspections can soon mount up. However, one step that should never be neglected is a full professional inspection of a property’s electrical installation.
nvesting in the services of an expert before you move in can help to avoid expensive future repairs or paying for unplanned upgrades later. More importantly though, is that you’ll be protecting your family from potentially catastrophic risks, including fires and electrocution, due to unsafe electrical fittings.
But what will an electrical inspection of your home cover? Here are some of the essentials which will typically be covered in their report.
Is the service adequate?
The first thing to consider is whether the service is adequate for your needs. The original installation may have been adequate 20 years ago, but today we are all using more appliances so the electrical consumption will increase. Will you need an upgrade to meet your current and future needs? Not only today, but as your family grows, and the number of gadgets and appliances increases.
Is the property properly grounded?
Grounding is a physical connection between the ground and your home’s electrical system, and it’s essential. In most properties wiring system is permanently attached (grounded) to a metal rod or pole. A correct grounding is a requirement required by the National Electrical Code. An expert will advise whether it is compliant.
Is the electrical box fit for purpose?
Your electrical panel will be checked to ensure that it is adequate for your home’s energy needs and that it has been correctly wired. Also, the inspector will check that the make and model haven’t been one of the many subjected to recalls over the years so that there is no underlying risk.
Are the circuits overloaded?
Until you move into the property, you may not detect the signs of a circuit overload. Typically, these include, lights dimming or flickering, buzzing switches or outlets, signs of burning on plugs or outlets, outlets or plugs which are hot to the touch. However, the most obvious sign is a tripped circuit breaker. The inspection will search for signs of overloaded circuits and recommend upgrades, such as Federal Pacific breakers.
Is the wiring in good condition?
The wiring in a home can be expected to last somewhere between 20 and 40 years before complete rewiring is recommended. However, as not all wiring will deteriorate at the same rate, some parts may be damaged before others. Also, certain types of wiring are no longer considered fit for purpose. These include rubber or fabric insulated cabling (from the 60s), even older lead insulated cabling (from the 1950s), so if you’re buying an older property, this is important to check, so it can be replaced. Also, any cracked, damaged, or exposed wiring will need to be professionally replaced.
Are the switches and power outlets in good condition?
As well as ensuring that switches and outlets are in good condition and safe for use, there’s also the question of how well they are located, are they correctly connected and secured? Again, in older properties, there tend to be fewer outlets, and these aren’t always conveniently located for today’s lifestyles. For example, many more outlets are needed for charging mobile devices and locating PCs. Original power outlets may not be adequate for the power loads placed on them by the number of household appliances. If you’re cooking with electricity, a check of the connection is particularly important.
Are GFCIs used in areas with high levels of humidity?
First of all, what are GFCI outlets? GFCI stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter. Unlike fuses, which are designed to prevent electrical fires, GFCIs protect from electrical shock. GFCI is are typically found in kitchens, laundries, bathrooms, and basements. The piece will be integrated into the outlet, where it will detect any interruption in the current (for example if you drop an appliance into water), and cut the current instantly. As this is potentially life-saving, you need to know that GFCIs are present to have peace of mind for your family.
Is there evidence of DIY shortcuts?
Everything may look perfect in your new home, and the previous owner may have been proud to tell you how much work he’d carried out himself. But. Home inspections often uncover potentially dangerous, mistakes carried out by over-ambitious do-it-yourselfers. These include the use of incorrectly sized wire, faulty connections, exposed cables, incorrect circuit breakers, overloaded outlets, and the list goes on. These will all involve an expense to put right, so paying for an inspection before you agree on the final price for your home, can be a wise investment.
Does the installation comply with current regulations?
Your electrical inspector will know the current National Electrical Code, inside and out, and will evaluate your home against the standards, which are all in place to help you and your family stay safe.
Most homebuyers do carry out a home appraisal before agreeing to purchase. However, scheduling an electrical inspection can also uncover a variety of issues that you would have to pay to put right after completion. That’s why it’s wise to invest and uncover any issues before you agree on a sale. Having an idea of the potential costs of repairs and upgrades can help in your negotiations in respect of the sale price. At the very least, if the seller refuses to cover the costs you’ll have a realistic idea of the budget you’ll need after purchase.
If you’re already living in a property, and have no evidence that an electrical inspection has been carried out in the recent past, it’s worth consulting a professional. The most important benefit is the peace of mind you’ll gain knowledge that your family is not at risk from electrical fire or electrocution. A secondary benefit is that when you come to sell your home, you’ll have the evidence to show to potential purchasers that you’re a responsible and safety-conscious seller