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An Inspector Calls: When to Schedule an Electrical Inspection

Spring is prime real estate time! If you’re one of the many looking to buy a new home this season, we’ve got an important reminder for you — don’t sign on the dotted line without having a trusted residential electrician perform a full inspection. This goes for new construction as well as older homes. Electrical mistakes, as well as wear and tear, aren’t always visible to the buyer’s eye — sometimes they’re deep inside the walls. And often, laypeople aren’t 100% sure what to look for. Call in the pros to make sure everything is in good working condition. And if it isn’t, use those repair costs to bargain for a lower sales price.

For Existing Homes

With older homes, there’s a good chance that years of wear and tear have taken their toll, or that times have changed and what was considered a best practice when the home was built is no longer up to today’s standards. Your electrician will inspect the wiring to make sure it is properly grounded and up-to-date. They’ll make sure the outlets aren’t cracked or otherwise damaged, that they hold cords snugly, and that any outlets in kitchens or bathrooms (anywhere they might come in contact with water) have GFCIs. They’ll also make sure your electrical panel isn’t out of date and that previous owners haven’t overloaded or damaged any circuits. Finally, they’ll make sure that there’s enough electrical supply to power the home and handle any future expansion or remodeling you might have in mind.

For New Homes

Just because your electrical work is brand new doesn’t mean it was done right! Unfortunately, builders tend to be the most conscientious about the parts of the home that are easily visible, and electrical components don’t always fall into this category. Some mistakes we’ve caught in new construction homes include double-tapping circuit breakers (i.e., attaching two wires to one breaker), panelboards that aren’t flush with the drywall, smoke alarms that were installed too high (they should be 4” from the ceiling), lighting fixtures installed too close to bath tubs, even outlets with reversed polarity.
We understand everyone makes mistakes once in a while, and that’s why it’s so important to have someone double check your work. It’s easier to fix errors now instead of years down the line. And if a mistake falls into the truly dangerous category, you’ll absolutely want to know about it before you move in.

Other Inspection Recommendations

If you’re perfectly happy right where you are, there’s no need for an inspection, right? Wrong! You may need one anyway. Has there been recent flooding in your area? If any of your outlets, wiring, or appliances got wet, you’ll want an inspection ASAP. If your home is more than 25 years old and hasn’t had an inspection recently, it’s worth having someone out to check that everything is working properly. Finally, get an inspection if you notice something amiss (frequently tripped breakers, flickering bulbs, etc.)
Spring is the perfect time to try something new — including a new home! Make sure you put your family’s safety at the top of your checklist and have a residential electrician do a thorough inspection before you buy.