How to Carry out an Electrical Inspection before Buying a Home
Buying a new home is an exciting thing, and you may be consumed by aspects such as the price, amenities and location. However, many buyers end up forgetting to consider how electrical fixtures will work in the new home. From outlets to lights and wiring, there are many different components that work together to power your electrical devices.
Buyers often end up realising that their new home needs electrical work after spending thousands on the property purchase. To shield you from unpleasant surprises, make sure you inspect the home's electrical system before finalising a purchase. Doing so will help you negotiate for a better price or repair critical elements before moving in.
Things you can check yourself
There are many aspects of a home's electrical system that you can inspect without needing special equipment. Some of these components include the following:
Check if all outlets in the home work, and keep track of any damaged outlets you may come across. Plug multiple devices into each outlet to see how they respond. Some outlets may cause a short circuit that affects other connected devices. Another common issue is the outlet beginning to release smoke due to damaged wires.
2. Light fixtures
Many buyers also forget to check light fixtures throughout the home. Try all the switches and keep track of any areas where the lights don't work (or they flicker when turned on).
3. Loose wiring
Loose wires could be present in multiple areas of your new home. Some may be hidden behind outlets and breaker boxes, while others may clearly hang from walls and roofs. Loose wiring is a safety hazard, especially when the wires have an electric current running through them.
4. Breaker box
You should also carry out visual inspection of the breaker box. This means looking at the assembly of the box itself without physically touching or testing the wires. Ideally, all wires and switches should be clean, insulated and labelled. There should be no knots or loose wires to and from the box itself.
Things a professional electrician should check
In addition to your visual inspection, make sure you have a licensed electrician carry out a deeper check of the home's electrical system. An electrician will typically inspect the following components:
1. Fuses and circuit-breakers
Fuses protect your electrical components (and any connected devices) from power surges. Similarly, circuit-breakers prevent surges from causing electrical fires in your home. Each circuit should have a functional breaker and fuses of the right capacity installed.
Due to safety reasons, only a licensed electrician should check your wiring to ensure that no short circuits occur. Electricians can replace damaged or poorly insulated wires and remove loosely hanging components.
If you're planning to purchase an older home, electricians can also ensure that there's enough electrical capacity to handle your needs. You may need to install additional outlets, circuits and breakers to meet this demand.