Consider this; you’re a new homeowner and want to ensure your electrical system is up to snuff. Chances are you’ll call in a residential electrician for an inspection. Or maybe your circuit breaker trips every time you vacuum, and you’re unsure why. Again, ditto. You may also rely on a commercial electrician to nip electrical issues in the bud.
An electrical inspection covers all the basics and more to keep your home safe and running efficiently. Here are some of the aspects of your electrical system they check:
1. Circuit Breaker’s Capacity
A low-capacity circuit breaker won’t handle the load of your electric appliances and could trip. An electrician examines the breaker to see if you have the proper unit and whether it’s doing its thing. This component keeps your home safe from electrical overloads. Thus, as the pro inspects it, they’ll look for damage or corrosion to rule out potential risks.
Your electric meter could be doing its job, or it could be way off the mark. Your electrician can measure your home’s electrical usage and see if it matches your energy bill. That’s right, they can tell if you’re paying too much for electricity or your meter is out of whack.
Also, they check for wear, rust, telltale signs of water damage, and more. Through such an inspection, they may avert a looming electric calamity.
3. Wiring System
Loosely connected or frayed wires are fire hazards you need to address. Electricians check the connection points and inspect them for wear and tear. They also examine the wires to ensure they’re not exposed or housed in improper areas.
Some wires are tucked away in walls or behind insulation, implying the electrician may need special tools to detect issues. And if they identify dodgy wiring, they’ll recommend repairs or replacements.
Likewise, your home’s wiring method should conform to local building codes. The electrician can confirm whether the wiring is suitable for your home or requires redoing.
4. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)
These are special outlets designed to reduce the risk of electrical shocks and fires. They work by shutting off the power whenever they sense an imbalance in the current.
For instance, if moisture enters a live circuit or outlet, a GFCI triggers and shuts it down. Hence, it’s key to safety. Electricians check to ensure these components are properly installed (in the right locations) and functioning correctly.
5. Outlets and Switches
Are your outlets wobbly? Do they spark when you plug in a device? Are the switches hard to operate? If you face any of these issues, your outlets and switches may have seen better days. An electrician will check these, including the wall plates, to ensure they’re properly fitted and secured. While at it, they check light fixtures for proper operation and insulation.
6. Distribution Panel
The wires in the distribution panel should be in good condition and appropriately labeled. Proper grouping also makes it easier to isolate issues quickly.
If these are in order, your electrician may inspect the switchgear – the part responsible for power distribution. To this end, your MCBs (Miniature Circuit Breakers), RCDs (Residual Current Devices), and ELCBs (Earth Leakage Circuit Breakers) must be working properly. If the electrician detects wiring problems, they’ll recommend necessary fixes.
7. Grounding System
If your grounding system isn’t up to code, it can become a safety hazard. Thus, the earthing should be properly installed to work as intended. The electrician typically inspects it for noticeable damage or loose connections. This part of the inspection is vital because if anything malfunctions, it could lead to power surges or shocks.
Damp locations require proper insulation to prevent electrical shocks and fires. An electrical inspection in such areas involves checking the insulation to confirm it’s in good condition. The electrician may also examine your home for signs of rodent damage, as rats and mice can chew through the insulation. Likewise, they look out for signs of corrosion or moisture damage.
9. Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The building codes in various states outline the requirement for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. And while these rules are more stringent in some states than others, most property management teams state that there’s no excuse for not having these life-saving devices in your home and rental properties. Property managers and landlords should be especially careful about this because it might render their properties uninhabitable. Usually, the electrician examines your detectors for compliance and operation.
Sometimes, a minor fix, such as a battery change, is all you need. But sometimes, an overhaul may suffice to ensure these components are up to code.
This checklist is inexhaustive. Depending on the age and nature of your home, an experienced electrician may suggest additional tests and inspections to ensure your electrical system is safe and secure. Ultimately, a thorough electrical inspection helps protect you from potential electrical hazards.