For something that’s essentially invisible, your home’s electrical system is arguably its most critical component. When your electrical system is neglected for too long, it can put your home in serious danger. In fact, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has stated that the most common cause of property damage is from structure fires caused by electrical problems.
That’s why having a yearly electrical home inspection carried out by professionals is so important. To learn more about electrical home inspections, keep reading!
What Is an Electrical Inspection?
So, what exactly is an electrical inspection? For starters, it’s a comprehensive review of all the electrical connections and wiring installed in your home.
There are actually three different types of home electrical system inspections:
- Rough-in electrical inspections
- Service inspections
- The final inspection
Let’s take a closer look:
Rough-In Electrical Inspections
The rough-in electrical inspection involves the evaluation of wires, conduits, and electrical panels. The inspector will ensure that all the wiring is intact and that any fire hazards around conduits and electrical panels are non-existent.
This type of inspection generally happens during the wiring and installation process as you would need these things to be in excellent working order before a wall is sealed up or before insulation can be installed.
The service inspection involves having a licensed inspector evaluate the electrical service panel to ensure that it has been properly installed and fastened. During this inspection, the inspector will also check that the electrical panel is properly grounded, as an improperly grounded panel will run the risk of building up electric shock.
However, service inspections also include a complete electrical inspection of the home (which we’ll get to in just a moment.)
The final inspection involves a number of trials to check the home’s electrical system. During the installation process, breakers are put in place to make your electrical system fully functional. Before it can be fastened, the inspector has to carry out several trial runs as a safety test and to test its effectiveness.
Why Are Electrical Inspections So Important?
According to the NFPA, an electrical inspection will help to prevent fire damage as well as the death, injuries, or property damage caused by house fires. As far as the statistics go:
- Nearly 45,000 house fires occur annually
- House fires result in up to 450 deaths and 1,650 injuries annually
- House fires also cause up to $1.5 billion in property damage annually
- 50% of all house fires are caused by electrical failures due to malfunctions in either the home’s electrical distribution or lighting equipment
Fortunately, most home electrical fires can be prevented if homeowners are able to recognize the warning signs of electrical system damage. This requires you to get to know more about your home’s electrical systems, like your circuit breaker, voltage, etc. — and know when it’s time to call in the professionals.
How Do Electrical Inspections Differ From Regular Home Inspections?
One of the most common questions that homeowners ask is, what’s the difference between a regular home inspection and an electrical home inspection?
The most important distinction between the two is the fact that an electrical inspection is carried out by a licensed master electrician. A master electrician is the only person that can make sure your electrical system is up to code and safe for use, whereas a general home inspection can be done by any certified home inspector — and these inspectors do not touch electrical systems.
General home inspections also revolve around the evaluation of the home’s physical structure — foundation, roofing, plumbing, etc. — to ensure it’s in good shape and structurally safe to live in. These inspections may also include (usually for an additional fee) inspections for mold and infestations.
What to Expect During an Electrical Inspection
When it comes to electrical inspections, the rough-in and final inspections are typically specific to events such as home renovations, as they’re geared towards checking on recent installations. Therefore service inspections are the standard when it comes to calling a professional for your annual electrical home inspection.
With service inspections, your electrician will start by ensuring your home’s electrical wiring is in good working order and free of safety hazards. As they perform the inspection, you’ll notice that they stick to a very specific safety checklist, and they’ll check for code violations, inspect your fuse box or circuit box, and test the voltage and surge protection throughout the entire system.
This essentially looks like:
- Verifying the voltage in all phases
- Visually inspecting the condition of the electrical panel
- Visibly inspecting the condition of the breaker
- Verifying that electrical grounds are present and in good condition
- Verifying that the ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are present and working properly
- Testing all safety devices to ensure they’re functioning properly
- Checking that arc fault protection is present and functions properly
- Inspecting and tightening all panel connections
- Verifying that your home’s surge system is also present and functioning properly
- Verifying that all smoke detectors are working properly
- Checking that all CO sensors are present and working properly
- Visually inspecting your attic (if applicable) for any potential electrical hazards or code violations
- Visually inspecting your basement or crawl space for any potential electrical hazards or code violations
- Visually inspecting your electrical service entrance to ensure it’s securely attached to the side of your home and that it’s free of any damages or defects
Once the electrician has completed the electrical inspection, he or she will put into writing any code violations, hazards, and recommendations for things that should be fixed or replaced. They should also provide you with an estimate for the work that needs to be done.
When to Call for an Electrical Home Inspection
While it’s a good idea to have your home inspected annually, it may not be convenient for every homeowner. That’s why the professionals recommend that you always schedule an electrical home inspection when:
- You’re installing a new major electrical appliance or upgrading to the latest version that may require more power
- You’re having home renovations done — including additions
- Your home hits the 40-year age mark
- You’re selling or buying a home
Time for your electrical home inspection? Call the master electricians at Electric City today to book an appointment. We service both residential and commercial spaces, and we offer free consultations!