It is no exaggeration to say that we live in the Age of Electricity. Electricity is what separates the modern world from the world of our ancestors. Without the electrical current coursing silently through our walls, floors and ceilings our homes would be very different places indeed. And if you need proof of that, just think back to the last blackout you endured and imagine that being permanent. But while electricity is our bulwark against the dark ages electrical systems are not indestructible. Like any other system whether mechanical or biological they need to be properly maintained. And the best way to ensure the electrical system in your home is always in tip top shape is to have it inspected periodically by a licensed electrician.
What Constitutes an Electrical Inspection for the Home?
During an electrical inspection an electrician puts all aspects of your home’s electrical system under the professional microscope. Wires, outlets, switches, circuit breakers, the electrical panel, the HVAC system, major appliances, lights and more are all given a thorough examination to ensure they are working as intended and that there are no safety violations present. It is recommended that you have a home electrical inspection if:
- You have just purchased your home.
- Your home has undergone a major renovation.
- You are planning to put an addition on your home.
- You are adding a major appliance.
- Your home is more than 40 years old.
When the inspection is complete the licensed electrician will provide you with a detailed list of electrical components checked, their condition and any recommended improvements or upgrades.
What is the Value of Having a Home Electrical Inspection?
Having the electrical system in your home inspected is a great way to ensure that:
- All your home’s wiring and electrical components are operating safely.
- Any mistakes made by previous homeowners are corrected and won’t pose a safety issue.
- Any outmoded technology is removed and upgraded.
- There are no frayed wires or crossed circuits that could start fires.
- There is no waste in the system that could be running up your energy bills.
- There is nothing in your home’s wiring that might cause your insurance premiums to jump.
Simple Inspections You Can Conduct Yourself
While you should always have a licensed electrician in to conduct periodic home electrical inspections there are nonetheless things you can check for yourself that will help you determine if the time is now for that inspection.
Look at the Electrical Panel
Every home from the smallest cottage to the largest mansion has an electrical panel. The panel is typically in the basement but may also be in the garage or, less frequently, located in a box on the exterior of the home. Once you find the panel take a good look at it to see if it contains breakers or outdated, round fuses. If it does use round fuses you should call in an electrician to replace them with circuit breakers. Also, if there is any evidence of smoky residue on the panel anywhere you’ll want to have an electrician in to have a closer look.
What Type of Wiring Does your Home Have?
If yours is an older home there is a chance it may still have some knob and tube wiring in it. Knob and tube wiring was one of the earliest types of standardized wiring for the home and is easily identified by the porcelain tubes used to help guide the large bulky wires through floor and wall joists. If your home uses knob and tube wiring you should have an electrician in to replace it.
Take Stock of Your Outlets
Do a tour of your house inspecting the outlets and light switches. Are all the plates nice and tight? Are there any loose plugs? Do any of your outlets spark when you plug things in? Is the action of the various switches nice and tight and snappy or do some of them only ‘flip’ part way? Also, look for evidence of black smoke on the switch and outlet plates and listen to see if you hear any humming or crackling noises coming from the switch or outlet.
An electrical inspection will provide you the peace of mind of knowing your entire family is safe from electrical hazards in the home.