In the modern world, it has become necessary for every home to have a good electrical system. This is because electricity plays a major role in our daily lives. From being a source of light to providing entertainment through gadgets and appliances and keeping us clean by providing hot water for clean clothes and a shower, electricity plays a pivotal role. However, for these benefits to be available the electrical systems that are in place in your home need to be running smoothly.
An electrical inspection process provides a detailed report on the health of the home’s electrical system as it exists today. This means that if anything goes wrong with the wiring or appliances in the future, then this report can be presented as proof if needed to insurance, that these damages were an existence before and without any negligence on part of the homeowner. Or the report can be used to find out what needs to be fixed if you plan on fixing everything.
It is the responsibility of the building owner or renter on behalf of the owner to arrange an electrical inspection. The inspector will check all the items listed on a standard inspection checklist. After checking these items, the inspector will provide you with the inspection report to use as you please.
These inspections are usually done by certified electricians who have either studied in a technical institute, have completed building-related courses through adult education programs, or have undergone extensive training with recognized organizations. In addition to being certified electricians with many years of experience.
An electrical inspection is wise to have conducted when adding a major appliance to the home. This is because it helps you make sure that new appliances are compatible with the existing wiring system of your home. This assumes the home is a little older. A home built in the last five years that’s adding in what is considered a standard appliance should generally be fine. But, it’s always best to check with an electrician doing the installation.
It becomes necessary to conduct an electrical inspection if you are planning on shifting any of your major appliances within your property. For example, if you want to move a washer that was located in the laundry room outside instead then it would be necessary for you to first inspect whether doing this would pose any problem with regards to how it will affect other wire connections on that line.
Home electrical inspections are among the most important things you can do when purchasing a home, helping you uncover hidden problems and ensuring you pay a fair price. If any modifications were made to the original wiring of the home, from lighting to new breaker panels, it may have been incorrectly performed, whether due to ignorance or an attempt to save money.
It is especially common for older/historic homes to have electrical problems since multiple attempts from various owners can add up to a nightmare. In addition, it is common for these houses to lack the wiring and power supply to support the wide array of electronic devices found in homes today.
Imagine for a moment you were buying a “fixer-upper” to flip as you knew after renovations you could sell the property for a $50,000 profit. Well, what if it turned out that the entire wiring system needs to be replaced. A total house rewire can cost $5K, $10K, or even up to $50K. That’s all your potential profit gone. An electrical inspection avoids this.
You should conduct an electrical inspection before upgrading your home with a major renovation to make sure your current electrical system can support your renovation plans. Upgrades can be made when walls are open, additions added, and electrical upgrades can be completed more economically on your wallet. If you wait till after the renovation is complete you might end up having to open up areas of the house that were renovated once again.
It may also be wise to conduct a home energy audit before you start to help improve the efficiency of your home and find out what could be upgraded.
Most service warranties require homeowners to show proof of inspected systems before they can avail of a service warranty. For example, if you get a plumber out to repair your water heater and the technician tells you that there is a problem with the electrical circuit leading and they cannot do any work on it. Then you would need the previous inspection report as a proof to avail your warranty.
Home electrical inspections may also be requested by your insurer. They are commonly requested when you switch providers, after claims, and at specific age points such as a home that is 30+ years old. This helps insurers assess your risk and rates – identifying issues that could affect safety, that if addressed, could help you save on premiums.
Now that you know when to conduct an electrical inspection of your home, let’s move on to why electrical inspections are so vital.
An electrical inspection can help you save money on your monthly electric bill. Your electrician can tell you whether an inefficient electrical system in your house is costing you money during an electrical inspection. This is particularly true of older houses with knob-and-tube wiring. Upgrading your electrical wiring not only reduces your electricity consumption but also reduces your carbon footprint.
The best way to check if your house’s electrical system is functioning properly is to have a professional inspect it. However skilled you are as a DIYer, it can still be beneficial to hire a professional electrician to make sure nothing was missed. Not to mention that doing your electrical work can be illegal. An electrical inspection of your house helps prevent future mishaps related to problems with your electrical system, such as malfunctions and fires. Fires are the primary threat faulty electrical components pose.
Electrical inspections of your house are also important to ensure that your home does not violate any local or federal electrical codes. A good rule of thumb is that when local and national codes conflict, the local code takes precedence. Licensed electricians in your area should be familiar with the subject matter and understand whether or not the setup in your home violates local or national codes. As electricians, we deal with this daily and know all of the local codes.
As you may have gathered from the last couple of points, the purpose of home electrical inspections is to maintain your safety. By having an electrician inspect your electrical wiring, you can reduce the risk of fires caused by electrical hazards. Reach out to a trained electrician in your area, like us, if you haven’t had an inspection done and you know it’s time.
Here are some things that you should prepare before an electrical inspection:
3 . You can use this opportunity to clean your house well beforehand as dirty conditions inside your home might reflect poorly on your property when inspected by an electrical inspector even though they have nothing to do with its electrical system.
Here’s a quick look at what an electrical inspector looks for during their review of the work:
A home inspector will verify that the home, renovation, or addition you’re getting inspected has enough circuits for the electrical load of the space. This will include making sure there are dedicated circuits for appliances that require them, particularly during the final inspection. In kitchens, especially, it is essential to have a dedicated circuit for every appliance that uses one, such as the microwave oven, garbage disposal, and dishwasher. Also, the inspector will make sure there are enough circuits for general lighting and general appliances in each room.
GFCI circuit protection has been required for some time for outlets or appliances located outdoors, underground, or near sources of water, such as sinks.
Kitchen outlets, for example, need GFCI protection. The inspector will determine whether GFCI-protected outlets or circuit breakers are included in the installation in the final inspection. A relatively new requirement is that AFCIs now need to be installed on almost every electrical circuit in a home.
The inspector will also verify that this protection meets code requirements, either by using AFCI circuit breakers or outlet receptacles. Any new or renovated electrical installation must include AFCI protection, even if existing installations do not require updates.
During an inspection, electrical boxes will be inspected to ensure that they are flush with the wall and large enough to accommodate the number of wires they will contain, along with any devices they will contain. Ensure the box is securely fastened. So the device and box are protected. For those doing their work, it is wise to use large, spacious electrical boxes; not only will they pass inspection, but they will make connecting the wires much easier as well.
Inspectors measure outlets and switches to see if they are consistent in height. Outlets called receptacles must be at least 15 inches above the floor and switches must be at least 48 inches above the floor as required by local codes. Of course, certain allowances must be made.
An inspector will inspect how cables are clamped in boxes during a rough-in inspection. A cable sheathing should protrude into the box at least 1/4 inch at the point of attachment of the cable to the box so that the cable clamps grip the cable sheathing, rather than the conductors themselves. At least 8 inches of usable wire length should extend from the box. In this way, enough wire can be connected to the device and future hardware can be used to replace the device. Also, the inspector will verify that the gauge of the wire matches the amperage of the circuit, for example, 14-gauge wire for 15-amp circuits and 12-gauge wire for 20-amp circuits.
As part of the rough-in inspection, inspectors will also check the cable anchoring. To secure cables, they should be attached to wall studs. The first staple should be placed no more than 8 inches from a box, and every 4 feet thereafter. It is a good idea to run cables through the center of wall studs to avoid drywall screws or nails from penetrating the wires. There should be a minimum of 20 to 24 inches between horizontal runs and each wall stud penetration should be protected by a metal plate. When the drywall is installed, the plate prevents screws and nails from damaging the wire inside the walls.
Often, electricians and savvy homeowners label the wires in electrical boxes with the circuit number and amperage of the circuit per local codes. Such attention to detail greatly reassures an inspector when inspecting a wiring installation.
An inspector may recommend using isolated ground outlets if you have sensitive electronic devices such as TVs, stereos, sound systems, and other such equipment. A receptacle of this type protects against current fluctuations and interference. Along with isolated receptacles, surge protectors, either individual or whole house protectors, will protect these sensitive electronic devices. Remember to plan for surges when you have sensitive appliances such as your washer, dryer, range, refrigerator, etc.
Electrical inspections are a very important task because it ensures that your home’s wiring and appliances are working well and are not faulty. With all this in mind, it is quite clear why the need for electrical inspections exists and what benefits you may enjoy from having them done regularly and not just for insurance purposes.
And keep in mind that everything mentioned here also applies to inspections for businesses and industrial premises.
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