Electrical safety inspections are essential for ensuring your home is safe and your electrical system is still in good shape. Unfortunately, most homeowners rarely, if ever, have their electrical system inspected except when there is an obvious problem. If you’ve never had your electrical system inspected or it has been more than a year, we would highly recommend scheduling one as soon as possible. When the time comes for your electrical safety inspection, here are all the things you can expect from the process.
Outlets, Switches and Light Fixtures
One part of the process is to inspect and test all the outlets, switches, and light fixtures both inside and outside the home. This includes testing to make sure that the outlet or switch works properly and also taking off the cover plate to inspect the wiring. If the inspection finds that there are any inoperable outlets, the electrician will then need to replace either the wiring or the component itself so that it works again. If you have a light fixture that isn’t working, the electrician will check both the fixture and the switch to determine what the specific issue is and how to repair it.
The electrician will also check to make sure you have ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets in certain parts of your home as required by the National Electrical Code (NEC). The NEC now requires that GFCI outlets be used in any location where there is a potential that water may come into contact with the outlet. This includes kitchen outlets and any others that are within close proximity to a sink. It applies to any outlet in a bathroom, laundry room, basement, crawl space, or garage and encompasses all those located outdoors.
You’re not legally required to install GFCI outlets in these areas if your home is older and doesn’t have them, but it is still a good idea for safety reasons as GFCI outlets can greatly reduce the potential risk of fire or major electrical damage. Another reason is that you will be required to have GFCI outlets installed to bring your home up to code should you decide to sell it.
The electrician will also ensure that all GFCI outlets are working properly and that the outlet’s internal circuit breaker shuts off as it’s supposed to. However, testing all your GFCI outlets is something you should do on your own every month. This is done by pressing the test button to make sure that the green light in the corner of the outlet shuts off. If the light does go out when you press the button, it means that the GFCI is working properly and you can then turn the outlet back on by pressing the reset button.
Inspecting all the electrical wiring in the building is one of the most essential parts of the process. Any wires that run through an attic or crawl space or within a recessed ceiling can be visually inspected quite easily to make sure that there is no damage. The only way to really check the wires that are hidden behind walls is to test each outlet, switch, or fixture and measure the current flowing through the circuit. The age and overall condition of the home’s electrical system can also help to determine when rewiring is needed.
Circuit Breakers and Electrical Panels
The electrician will also inspect all the electrical panels in the home and make sure that all the circuit breakers in the panel are functioning properly. Any circuit breakers that don’t trip when they should will need to be immediately replaced to prevent the risk of fire. When inspecting the electrical panel, the technician will look for signs like singeing, discoloration, or rust. They will also make sure that the panel has sufficient amperage to supply all the electrically powered components and devices in your home. This includes your HVAC system and other major appliances. In addition, they will make sure that your HVAC system, clothes dryer, and microwave all have their own dedicated circuits as required by building code.
Another important aspect of checking the electrical panels is to look at the specific brand, model, and year that the panel was installed. This is because there are a number of different panels that have been recalled after being shown to be major fire hazards. If your home does have a panel that was recalled, it should be replaced immediately for your safety.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
One last thing the electrician will do is inspect and test all your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. They will also make sure that you have these detectors in all the important places. You should always have at least one detector on each floor, a detector within 15 feet of each bedroom or sleeping space, and additional detectors near each gas-burning appliance. All the detectors should also be hard-wired and have a battery backup to ensure they will still work even if your power is out.
The Importance of Annual Electrical Safety Inspections
Electrical issues are the primary source of house fires. Without a safety inspection, many electrical issues will remain undetected until they suddenly lead to a fire or cause you to get shocked. This is one of the biggest reasons why all experts recommend that you have an electrical safety inspection performed every year as it can make a huge difference in keeping you, your family, and your home safe. Inspections can also prevent severe damage to your expensive electronics and appliances that can result from damaged wires, faulty outlets, malfunctioning circuit breakers, or electrical panel issues.
Why an Inspection Is Essential When Purchasing a New Home
At Magic Electric, Plumbing, Heating + Air, we can also help if you need an electrical inspection performed on any home you’re planning on purchasing. You should absolutely never purchase any home or even put in a binding offer without having its electrical system, plumbing, and structure fully inspected by a licensed professional. An electrical inspection is important so that you know what condition the system is in and what issues it may have that you’ll need to get repaired once you buy it. This way, you can know exactly what you might be getting into before purchasing. It could potentially save you from some major headaches down the road.
Although the seller will have an inspection performed, it’s always a good idea to hire your own inspector just to make sure there are no issues that the seller’s inspector may have missed. Should there be anything in the home that doesn’t meet building code requirements or that needs repairs, having your own electrical inspection performed can give you much greater leverage when negotiating the home’s value. In most cases, you can either negotiate to get the cost of the necessary repairs or upgrades taken off the total price or force the seller to fix any issues before you close on the house.
At Magic Electric, Plumbing, Heating + Air, we specialize in electrical safety inspections as well as electrical repairs, upgrades, rewiring, and installation. We also install electric vehicle charging stations, whole-home generators, whole-home surge protectors, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, hot tub wiring, and much more. Besides that, you can count on us for all your plumbing and HVAC needs. For more information or to schedule an electrical safety inspection in the Jerome, Twin Falls or Boise areas, contact us today.