When a house is for sale, it’s common (and wise) for a prospective buyer to hire a qualified home inspector.Home inspectors can not only assist in assessing the condition of a home or building, but they can also identify potential problems that may be factored into the terms of a sale or purchase price.In some cases, buyers hire a licensed electrician to inspect and identify any electrical problems that a regular home inspector might overlook.
The following are the most common issues we’ve seen that result in failed home inspections…
Missing or Fault GFI Outlets
Faulty GFIs are a major issue, even in newer homes, due to the widespread use of low-quality materials. GFI (ground fault interrupter) outlets are required wherever an electrical outlet is close to a water source (like in a bathroom). GFI failure is indicated when they ‘trip’ prematurely or frequently, resulting in power loss to localized electrical components (lights or other power supplies on the same circuit). GFI replacement is a relatively quick fix for a licensed electrician and will result in several years of reliable use with higher-quality components. It is critical to keep GFIs in good working order because their purpose is to protect you from electrocution.
Extension cords should only be used as a last resort for an external or remote power supply. If someone is constantly using extension cords, it can only mean one thing: there aren’t enough outlets to handle all of the electrical devices that are currently in use in the home or building. This is more common in older homes, but it is a safety issue that should always be addressed before selling.
Improperly Wired Switches
This is a common issue that electricians discover during an inspection.When wiring a switch or an outlet, people who try to do their own wiring or hire someone with only rudimentary electrical skills will frequently use reverse polarity.This occurs when the hot and neutral wires are “flipped,” resulting in a shock hazard.
It’s not unusual to find ungrounded electrical receptacles, especially in older homes. You can easily check if your own home’s outlets are grounded or not. Ungrounded outlets just have two slots to plug into, whereas grounded outlets have two slots plus a hole for the ground wire. It’s a good idea to have ungrounded receptacles upgraded to minimize risk of fire in the event that there is ever a fault with the electrical component using the circuit.
Trees Or Bushes Leaning on Exterior Power Lines
Electrical wires should never be touched by trees or shrubs! If a heavy tree branch falls on wires during a wind gust, it could potentially break the power cable or its connection point, posing a shock or fire risk.
Service Panel Problems
Several problems within a home’s service panel are all too common during a routine electrical inspection. Electricians look for issues such as incorrect wiring diagrams, breaker issues, and visible damage. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have an electrical panel that is both large enough to accommodate a home’s electrical needs and in good working order.
Missing Smoke Alarms
Every floor of your home should have a smoke alarm for your safety. Additionally, smoke alarms should be installed just outside each bedroom. It is recommended that you test or replace the batteries in your smoke alarm once a year and that you replace smoke alarm units every ten years.
These are just some of the things to look out for if you are looking for a new home or selling yours, you will sleep better knowing what is really going on.