What To Expect From A Residential Electrical Safety Inspection

As part of a service plan, your electrician or electrical service company may offer residential electrical safety inspections. An electrical safety inspection is important if you're purchasing a new house, have made major renovations or if you live in an older home that was built several decades ago. Because there are many components that make up your home's electrical system, your safety inspection will include several key aspects. If you've never had this service performed before, or if you are unfamiliar of what it involves, the following is a short list of what to expect from this service:

1. Identification of Shock/Electrocution Hazards in Your Home

During your home electrical safety inspection, your electrician and/or inspector may check for hazards that may pose an electrical shock or electrocution risk. Some of the warning signs that may spell trouble include the following:

  • Damaged extension cords and electrical wires: During this inspection, you can expect your electrician to check household cords and wires. Mainly, the electrician will check for frayed or exposed wires. Wires and cords that look flattened or worn will need to be replaced. This inspection may also include wires on electrical appliances, such as a stove, washer and dryer and audio and video equipment.

  • Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Hazards: During your electrical inspection, your electrician may check the electrical system of your outdoor swimming pool or hot tub/Jacuzzi. To prevent accidental electrocution, the inspection will most likely include all components of underwater lighting and wires, as well as swimming pool vacuums. All components will need to be properly grounded. The inspector may suggest or install a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) as a safety precaution. This device will automatically turn off electrical current traveling through water or as the electrical current reaches a living being and causes electrical shock.

2. Indoor and Outdoor Lighting Check

Because faulty lighting and fixtures may pose a fire hazard, these systems will most likely be part of your electrical home safety check. This inspection may include indoor and outdoor light fixtures as well as individual lamps. In addition, the electrician may inspect all light bulbs to ensure they comply with proper wattage specifications. Outdoor security lighting is often inspected as part of the service as well.

3. Surge Protection Check

The electrical inspector will often verify that all surge protectors are operational and safe. Surge protectors should be used for electrical equipment such as computers and televisions to prevent a power surge from occurring. An electrical high voltage surge may not only destroy your valuable equipment, it may present a safety and fire hazard as well.

4. Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector Inspection

Your inspection will typically include testing of all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Fresh batteries will be installed as needed. The inspector may also check to be sure these devices are installed at the correct height and on every level of your home.

5. An Infrared Scan of Your Home's Circuit Breaker

During the electrical inspection, your home's electrical panel (circuit breaker) may be examined for signs of problems. This is especially important for an older system. The best way to inspect the electrical panel is by performing an infrared scan, a method often utilized during a home electrical safety inspection. It is sometimes referred to as thermal imaging.

During this scan, the panel may be checked for excessive heat, which could cause failure of the circuit breaker as well as pose a fire hazard. The scan will also check for loose wiring, switches and faulty components. Your electrician may also replace corroded or worn electrical panels.

Now that you know a bit about what to inspect from an electrical home inspection, you might want to have this service performed on a yearly basis or whenever new major appliances are installed. Also, if you've performed a home makeover or remodel that involves major rewiring, an electrical safety inspection by an electrical contractor is essential.