Electrical home inspections 101

Electrical home inspections 101

A home inspection covers a lot of details to make sure that the house you’re selling is up to code, safe for a potential buyer, and doesn’t have a costly hidden maintenance issue. But even though home inspectors are trained to identify a lot of issues, they might recommend that a buyer call on an electrician’s expertise for an electrical home inspection.

That’s often because of a home’s age, its wiring, and whether the electrical service panel has been updated – usually older houses have different wiring.

Here’s what you need to know about electrical home inspection and potential problems that might need professional help.

Your home’s electrical system is a vital component of protecting your family and anyone who buys your home. Electrical distribution or lighting equipment in the home remains the 4th leading cause of home fires, according to the National Fire Prevention Association.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), recommends an electrical system inspection if your home meets the following conditions:

  • Your home is 40 years old or older;
  • Your home has undergone a major renovation;
  • You’ve added major new appliances within the last 10 years;

Who performs an electrical home inspection?

A licensed electrician or electrical contractor performs these inspections, which range in price depending on the size of the building, the contractor used, and who’s requesting the inspection: the seller, the buyer, a lender or an insurance company.

A home electrical system inspection costs about $200 to $300 average.

What is the National Electric Code?

The National Electric Code (NEC) states the benchmark for safe electrical design, installation, and inspection of electrical equipment of all types.

As of 2017, the NEC has been revised 15 times since 1975 – so what was considered safe in your home’s electrical system years ago might not be safe any longer, especially with today’s technology.

What are some of the most common home electrical issues?

These are the most common electrical issues that home inspectors find during home inspections:

  • Exposed wiring and splices
  • Ungrounded three-prong plugs (outlets)
  • Painted outlets
  • Double tapping of circuit breakers
  • Reversed polarity
  • Improperly modified electrical panels
  • Missing knockouts in panels
  • Knob-and-tube wiring
  • Aluminum wiring
  • Federal Pacific breaker panels
  • No GFCI protection
  • More than one neutral wire in a slot of an electrical panel