What Do Electrical Inspections Include?
The electrical system in your house contains many components that need a comprehensive checkup once in a while. An electrical inspection is essential when moving into a new home in order to identify any underlying issues that can compromise the safety of your loved ones.
If you live in an older home, routine electrical inspection will help ensure that your electrical system still functions appropriately. When you experience an inexplicable surge in electrical bills, have a professional inspect your electrical systems for inefficiency. Here is what electrical inspections entail.
1. Check the Electrical Meter for Defects
The electrician will begin by checking whether the electric meter is damaged or detached from the house. They will also check if the meter logs in the correct wattage and look for any signs of wear and tear.
Note that water can seep into the meter box, causing rust and other damage. In extreme cases, water can get to the main electrical panel and put your home at risk. Based on the level of damage, the electrician can advise you to repair or replace the meter.
2. Inspect Wires
Next, the inspector will check whether there are any loose wires that can generate heat and create unsafe conditions. They also look for curves on the attached wires, keeping in mind that straight wires appear too tight and might pop off eventually.
Additionally, electrical inspection involves assessing whether the house contains any naked wires that could pose hazards. They will go ahead to see if other cables are dangling from the ceiling or walls.
Besides checking for damages, the inspector assesses the nature of wiring done in the house. Older homes may still have aluminum wires which tend to overheat quickly, increasing fire risks. Today, aluminum wiring is considered unsafe, and the inspector should note this in the report. They may then suggest that you replace the wiring with a safer option like copper.
3. Check Circuit Breaker Capacity
Inspectors also check the circuit breaker’s functioning. They determine whether it’s overloaded and if it allows currents to flow at a safe level. The electrician will also look for corrosion, water damage, and other circuit breaker issues that could result in a spark or fire.
A double-tapped circuit breaker is one main issue that electricians identify in houses during inspections. It occurs when there are two wires connected to the same circuit breaker in a panel board. Keep in mind that the circuit breaker should only handle a single wire. Combining two wires could lead to arcing currents and potential fires.
The technician will make sure the house has well-labeled circuit breakers to help you identify which breakers connect to your which circuits and outlets. The breakers should also have proper amperage ratings.
4. Correct Wiring in the GFCI Outlet
Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) help minimize the rate of electrocutions. These elements trap electricity and prevent it from harming people even when there is an overload. GFCIs quickly detect irregularities like high moisture, water, or objects other than plugs and trips if they notice imbalanced or excessive current flow to reduce fire risks.
The inspector will check whether there are well-installed GFCI outlets and if they are in the right working conditions. Some older homes may lack the GFCIs, which is a safety hazard that you should note.
5. Check All Electrical Appliances
The electrician will also assess the electricity-run appliances’ conditions, especially in new constructions or older homes. For instance, they may want to confirm whether or not there are kitchen appliances near the sink or other water sources. The technician will also want to verify whether the electric system can support all the machines’ demands in the house.
The inspection also involves looking for wires too close to the heat-producing sources, which could cause fire outbreaks. An inspector will also want to know whether you have connected many appliances to extension cords. Remember that you should only use extensions temporarily and not on large machines.
Additionally, the technician can check whether you use isolated ground receptacles or surge protectors for delicate equipment like TVs, driers, washers, refrigerators, and other sensitive appliances. The receptacles help protect your equipment in case of currents fluctuations and interference.
6. Inspect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are vital features in each household. The technician must thus confirm if there are smoke detectors on each floor of the house. Your inspector will test to see whether smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in the right working conditions.
Note that an older home may have outdated detectors, and the electrician may suggest that you replace smoke detectors beyond ten years. The carbon monoxide detectors, too, shouldn’t surpass five years.
7. Inspect Light Switches and Fixtures
The first step to inspecting the light fixtures is by turning them on and off to see how they work. The inspector will go through all rooms in a house to assess the light switches and fixtures’ condition.
In older homes, it’s common to find exposed incandescent light bulbs. When they come in contact with flammable items, for instance, clothes in the closet, it could lead to a fire outbreak. The inspector may even suggest that you upgrade the lighting fixtures and use LED bulbs instead.
During an inspection, the technician will check whether there are light switches close to each door and at both ends of a hallway. They also test if you are using the correct bulb wattage and whether you have enough light fixtures for the house.
8. Assess Cable Anchoring, Outlets and Switches Height
The inspector assesses the nature of the cable anchoring throughout the house. All cables should be safely and securely attached to the wall studs. They should run through the wall studs’ center to keep wires safe from penetrating screws and nails from the drywall.
Also, the inspection involves measuring outlets and switch height. The outlets should be at least 12 inches off the ground and the switches at least 48 inches above the ground. In case you have a physically impaired family member, or in a child’s room, they should ensure that the switches are low enough to allow access.
Electrical surges are common occurrences, and they can not only ruin your property but also puts the lives of your home’s occupants at risk. Thus, it’s a good idea that you have inspections in your house once in a while to avoid electrical-related accidents. This way, the inspector can detect any underlying issue in your electrical system and suggest the best possible cause of action on time.
Whenever you need a professional electrical system inspection, reach out to Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning. If we find anything out of the ordinary, we can help with repairs or replacements on the spot. We have a team of experienced electricians who can handle a wide range of residential and commercial electric projects. Our company also deals with heating and air conditioning systems installation, repairs, maintenance, and water heater services. We serve the residents of Seattle, WA, and the surrounding areas. Call us now to learn more about our services to book an appointment.