What You Need to Know About Electrical Home Safety Inspections

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When was the last time your home had an electrical home safety inspection? Can’t remember? Not sure when you need to have one? According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, there are four major times when your home should be inspected by a licensed residential electrician:

  1. If you are purchasing a home (new or older)
  2. If your home is more than 40 years old
  3. If you are installing a new appliance (think washer, dryer, refrigerator, entertainment system, home office, etc.)
  4. If your home is undergoing renovations

Apart from that, anytime you feel there are electrical problems in your home that could pose a safety hazard, you can always call us in for an electrical home safety inspection just to make sure. It is absolutely critical that these home electrical safety inspections be done by a licensed electrician because:

  • Our electricians have years of experience solving common problems with residential electrical systems. Our first concern is maximizing the safety of your electrical system and preserving the level of safety it was engineered to provide.
  • Always have the electrical system assessed by a professional before purchasing a home. A professional electrician can accurately assess the strengths and weaknesses of your electrical system and provide a comprehensive plan to bring it up to optimum condition.
  • Most large electrical problems can be solved cheaply and easily if they are caught in the early stages. If you think you may have an electrical problem be sure to have it repaired immediately!

So whenever you have a home electrical concern, do not leave it to chance: contact Root Electric and be safe about it!

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An Electrical Home Safety Inspection: What We Look For

During an electrical home safety inspection, these are some of the important aspects of your home’s electrical system that we’ll examine:

Electric Panels

This is the electrical nerve center of your home. Whether it’s in the garage, the basement, the utility room or somewhere outside, we will thoroughly examine the fuses and/or circuit breakers for proper connections, damage, age, rust, residue, smoke etc. We’ll check whether or not the panel is providing sufficient electrical capacity for your home’s needs too. We will also check whether or not your electrical panel is a brand that has been recalled or discontinued.

Electrical Wiring

We’ll check that all visible wiring is up to code and in good shape without any exposed splices. We’ll make sure cables are secured and protected. We’ll also double check the following issues many older homes run into:

  • Pre-1950’s “Knob-and-tube” wiring.
  • Aluminum cable for branch circuits, which can cause a fire hazard. (Often found in homes built between 1965-1973.)

These old wiring configurations can create safety hazards as well as making it harder to get the home insured or to sell the home.

Electrical Systems in Wet Areas

Any electrical systems that are in close proximity to water need to be especially inspected and updated. This usually means areas in the bathrooms, kitchens, workshops or outdoors. The outlets in these areas must have GFCI outlets (“Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters). These GFCI outlets are programmed to cut electricity to that area if exposed to water. We will test these during an inspection and we advise homebuyers to check these during any pre-purchase walkthrough.

Interior and Exterior Lighting, Outlets and Switches

We test whether all the lights, switches and outlets (and the things plugged into them) are properly grounded. Loose outlets, warm outlets, humming noises, lights that flicker or switches that spark are a sign that something needs to be tightened, repaired or replaced.

Other Home Electrical Aspects We’ll Check

In addition to these four main concerns, we will also walk through your home and note any safety issues you might have with:

  • Surge protection
  • Shock and fire hazards
  • Proper lighting wattage
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Child electrical safety issues

So if you’re getting ready to buy a home, your home is reaching its 40th birthday (or more), you’re remodeling or installing anything new—or if you just have an electrical safety concern that needs checking, contact Root Electric today at (703) 494-3989 to schedule an electrical home safety inspection. Our job is to keep you safe!

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About the Author

During my tenure at Root Electric, I lead the transition of Root Electric from a primarily sub-contracting based business model to a prime-contracting based business model.