We have three questions for you:
1. Have you ever set a comprehensive electrical inspection for your house?
2. When was the last time you had an electrical inspection?
3. Do you know that it is a “must” to have an electrical inspection?
For the first and second questions, it won’t be surprising that many homeowners have not set any electrical inspection or it’s not part of their household maintenance. This is also the premise of the third question, as many homeowners are not educated on the benefits of having a scheduled electrical inspection.
Most likely, the only time that they will call a licensed electrician is when they are having an electrical problem. Sometimes, even with issues, as long as they perceived it to be only “minor”, they won’t even call an electrician and might even attempt a DIY fix.
An electrical inspection is basically a thorough check if your house has a fully functional electrical system. It is carried out by a properly trained and licensed electrician. Your electrician has a checklist of what to inspect based on the government or legal standards, so a DIY electrical inspection should be out of the picture.
1. Are you living in an older home or planning to buy one?
If you live in a much older house (homes 40 years or older) or if you are planning to buy one, the usual wear and tear will definitely take a load on the electrical system. The wiring in your home has most likely severely deteriorated by now. This means that in general, the house poses a higher risk than newly built ones.
In addition, the house will have outdated technology that doesn’t match the electrical demands of modern devices and appliances. The house may have also retained its original features like knob-and-tube lighting, two-pronged outlets, and aluminum wiring, which is no longer recommended. It could be an accident waiting to happen especially since the electrical integrity of your house is compromised due to its age.
2. Are you planning to purchase a new home?
An electrical inspection should be done not only if you are planning to buy an older home. Be smart and cover all your bases, which also include the assurance that the overall electrical health of your house is up to the standards.
Before making the final payment, schedule an inspection to determine if there are underlying problems and if yes, will the seller shoulder the cost, or are you willing to spend extra.
3. Are you planning to remodel your home?
As your family grows larger and as technology unfolds, or if you just want something new, then you should ensure that every aspect is safe including your electrical system.
If you want to remodel your house, you have to determine first if the current configuration of your house is suitable for your plans. Also, since you are already planning to upgrade your home, why not also update your electrical components if needed to ensure that your house is not only better looking but safe and functional as well.
4. Are you planning to sell your house?
An updated and safe electrical system could be added to your selling point. If you have some issues in terms of electricity, this can also reduce the value of your home if your house fails the standard electrical inspection.
Plus if you are aware in advance, you could also offset the repairs needed or truthfully discuss with the possible new owners the condition of your home and work from there.
5. Do you have a safety protocol after a storm or a hurricane?
If there is one thing that most people know is that water and electricity are a bad mix. So after a major storm or a hurricane, the restoration of power is most likely your priority. But as always, we suggest that “safety first” plans should be executed.
Make sure that an electrical inspection is done to avoid possible accidents, as floodwaters can affect wirings, light fixtures, circuit breakers, and more.
6. Are you planning to add more appliances?
Homeowners probably don’t give much thought to electricity when buying more appliances or gadgets. You may not know it, but your current electrical system may not be able to handle more appliances. Or you may need to have additional outlets (if you are using more and more extension cords, then it is a clear sign that you need to install more outlets.) There are also instances that a dedicated circuit is needed for a specific appliance.
7. Have you noticed a sudden spike in the electricity bills?
If you feel that your household’s electric consumption is virtually the same, but there is still a sudden surge in your electricity bills, don’t ignore it and have it check.
A licensed electrician can identify the cause of the spike in electricity bills. Not only is your safety compromised, but issues with your electrical unit are costing you more money. While at it, make sure to ask your electrician what saving measures you can apply.
8. Do you have a flickering light?
A flickering or dimming lights is certainly annoying but it doesn’t end there. It might be telling you that something is happening within your electrical system. It could be a failure in your switch, faulty lights, circuit overload or there is an appliance in your house that is consuming a large amount of electricity. You will never know unless you call in an experienced electrician to gauge the problem.
9. Have you noticed a burning smell or odd sounds?
Anything that is out of normal should put you in an alert mode. If you hear odd sounds coming from your fuse breaker or even appliances could be a lot of things, like power surges, faulty wiring, and loose connections. While a burning smell (especially if you can’t identify the smell) could mean some wiring issues.
Treat these issues as emergencies, and don’t wait for the situation to escalate before taking action.
10. Are your switches and sockets warm or hot to touch?
The first move that we will suggest is for you to switch off your primary breaker and call in an electrician. This could be an electrical fire that is about to happen or there is too much electricity running over it.
A complete home inspection will cost between $200 to $500. There are different factors to be considered as the type of certification of your chosen electrician and even the distance of your location (so it is always best to hire an electrician near you).
You can always ask for a quotation and even make a comparison with other electricians before starting the project. When asking for a quotation, don’t forget to ask for the prices in case of possible repairs, installation, or replacement. This is so that you can have a working budget in mind and won’t be shocked by the final bill. Do not fret about the charges, and view this as an investment in your safety and security.
If you finally decided to have an electrical inspection, the first step after the quotation is scheduling. It could take days or even a few weeks from the initial call. If in case you decided to undergo an electrical inspection because you spotted a possible issue on your house, make sure to voice this to your electrician, as they will deduct the danger level and they could schedule you earlier if needed.
2. Actual Inspection: What happens during an electrical inspection?
- Pointing out any possible electrical and fire hazards
- Testing of safety switches, panels, and circuits
- Testing of lighting and other power points
- Checking for possible violations of government regulations
- Pinpointing visible and not visible issues
- Make sure that all the wires are intact and there are no damaged, frayed, or exposed wires
- Inspection of the breaker box
- Testing smoke alarms or detectors
- Inspection on outdoor electrical systems
- Check if the service panel is proper grounded
- Check if GFCI outlets are correctly wired
- Check for possible power surges and electrical leak
- Run trial runs on your electrical system
Don’t be surprised if you’ll see your electrician removing outlet covers etc. Trust that they know what they are doing. And yes, it will take time. The average time of the inspection is between 2-4 hours.
3. The report
The electrician will also provide you a detailed report on the state of your electrical system. This will include the list of repairs to be conducted if there are upgrades and new installation needed and other recommendations like suggestions on how to improve energy efficiency. If for insurance purposes, they could also help you meet the risk assessment inspection requirements.
Do not second-guess electrical issues. Anything related to electricity is best left to the experts. They have encountered numerous situations and are trained to handle them. Do not wait for an accident to happen before taking an action. Prevention is always better than cure. An electrical inspection should be your top priority as a homeowner.
Do you want to schedule or ask quotation for a home electrical safety inspection? If yes, you’ve made the right decision. Find a licensed electrician here.