How Does An Inspector Determine If Electrical Wiring Is Safe And Accurate?
During the course of a home inspection, the inspector will do a thorough evaluation of the main panel box and any sub panels that are present. The inspector will remove the cover from the panel box and determine whether or not the size of the wires is compatible with the size of the fuses or circuit breakers that have been installed. The inspector will also determine if the electrical system is properly grounded and look at the wires at the branch circuits. If aluminum wiring is noted at the 110 breakers, an electrician should be contacted to review the electrical systems. The main service line and the mast are examined for safety.
As the inspector inspects the interior of the home, he will test all of the accessible receptacles. A receptacle tester will be used to determine if the receptacles are grounded, if they have reversed polarity or if they are otherwise wired incorrectly. The inspector will also note the absence of receptacle and switch covers. These items are inexpensive to repair but are still a safety concern.
Many older homes have receptacles that are a mixture of two- and three-pronged. In older homes, the two-pronged receptacles were not required to be grounded when the home was built and unless the inspector notes otherwise, they do not need to be repaired. However, when the two-pronged receptacles have been replaced with three-pronged, ungrounded receptacles, this is a safety concern. The three-pronged receptacles should either be grounded or be replaced with two-pronged receptacles.
The inspector will also look for exposed wires and improper splices as well as romex wiring and stranded wiring that have been incorrectly used throughout the home. Many times extension cords are used to power items in the home. Extension cords cannot be used for permanent wiring. The cords should be removed and the items should be properly wired for safety reasons.
While inspecting the exterior of the home, the inspector will note whether or not ground fault circuit interrupters have been installed at the exterior receptacles. Many older homes do not have ground fault circuit interrupter protection, and we always recommend that as an upgrade.
Any electrical items that are considered to be a safety concern will be noted in the report. AmeriSpec always recommends that the repairs be done by a licensed electrician for everyone’s protection.
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