J & A South Park electrical contractor inspecting an outdoor outlet using a voltage meter during a electrical home inspection.

Situations Where You Need an Electrical Inspection

Often as homeowners, we feel that inspections on a home we already own and have owned for a while, are not worth the time and money to hire a professional licensed electrician to inspect every nook and cranny of our wiring. Most times we put off the scheduling of this said inspection until the moment of panic when something goes awry. An electrical investigation that has been delayed until the moment of disaster is an inspection that is too little too late. After your expensive home appliances or switchboards get damaged, or, in the worst of cases, electrocution happens in your home. Only then, after the fact, do we feel the importance of an electrical inspection.

New homebuyers may be a bit more familiar with a home inspection than a seasoned homeowner. Although, what new homebuyers are not aware of, is that often a regular home inspection does not include some of the vital electrical parts of the home and a separate inspection, specific to electrical, may be in order.

Electrical inspections should not only be scheduled when purchasing a new property, but they also should be performed on a regular basis to ensure that you and your pets and loved ones stay safe. The old saying always holds true that prevention is better than a cure. In fact, electrical inspections can save a lot of money in the long run by replacing damaged electrical systems and wiring and keeping your hard earned appliances and techie gear safe from surges and fire.

Our J & A South Park electrical experts have compiled a list of situations where an electrical inspection is a vital part of your home’s electrical safety. As most people don’t realize the importance of an electrical inspection, we have also listed what to expect during this review so you will be prepared.

An older, cottage like home that is in need of repair, sits against a beautiful blue sky with clouds capturing a bit of sun, sits on exaggerated green grass.

Maintain Your Older Home

If you own a home that is over 25 years old, then changing the wiring and electrical systems throughout the house is a must. To support your modern electronics and electrical equipment the wiring in your home must be appropriate and up to date. If you have been experiencing any electrical problems like regular power outages or tripped circuit breakers you should consider an electrical inspection as it can identify any electrical safety problems or deficiencies when it comes to the maintenance and preservation of owning an older home.

It is crucial that you have the wiring and connections checked for DIY electrical work. In most cases, DIY electrical work is the most common electrical mistake that causes electrical issues. It’s highly dangerous to leave DIY projects uninspected by a trained electrician. You will need to check for proper grounding as well, as grounding is especially significant for the appropriate function of your electrical outlets.

Maintenance on the Regular

Maintenance of electrical systems and wiring is also necessary to perform on a regular basis. Checking power outlets and switches for normal functioning is essential to the health of your home’s electrical functions. A problem can also occur in the switchboards. If you are using too many appliances in the single outlet, the chances are that there will eventually be an overload that can potentially damage the outlet and wiring. In this case, fire is likely to occur. It is also essential to check for grounding connections so that your family members do not experience electrical shocks while handling switches or electronics.

Be a Storm Prepper Not a Power Surge Victim

Several precautions can be taken to ensure that your house will be prepped for a significant storm. Make sure safety switches are installed on all circuits in your switchboard and test them regularly to ensure they are working correctly. Unplug all critical appliances that you do not need to use during a time of a storm and at the least, make sure switches are turned to off. Whole home surge protectors will help to protect the electrical components within your home if you are unable to prep the house for the storm in advance. Consider calling us at J & A South Park to find out more about the importance of installing a whole home surge protector. This will reduce electricity spike damage and help with general power surges; it will also protect your appliances like those expensive televisions, A/C units, and computers.

Steer clear of all electrical cables, lights, and appliances, fixed wire phones or any conductive materials during a lightning storm as these could be conductors of a surge and pose threats of electrocution.

Storms have been known to cause damage to electrical wiring and electrical equipment. If lightning were to strike your house, the damage to the installation within your home might not be visible on the outside of the walls in your home, however, behind them may be another story altogether. Your home’s entire electrical system will need to be thoroughly combed through and adequately checked. A professional licensed electrician should only do this kind of inspection. If there are severe damages that will need to be replaced and addressed immediately, hiring licensed electricians can help correctly detect the damages. They can also assist in installing and repairing the new electrical system by providing an estimated cost of new electrical equipment and wiring.

Senior couple shakes hands with a realtor after the sale of their new home.

Before Purchasing a New Property

An electrical inspection is imperative before purchasing a new home or even a commercial property.

An electrical inspection pre-purchase of a home helps to identify any significant electrical issues that may be very expensive to repair once the property has been purchased. An electrical inspection can, in some cases, be included in the overall pre-contract property inspection report. This inspection is of more extensive range and will cover such parts of the house as plumbing, kitchen appliances, fire safety, HVAC, and foundations as some examples. Small observations such as hardwired smoke alarms and the actual outlets themselves, may not be apart of a regular, broad, home inspection.

Inspections of any sort will bring light to issues that may be very expensive to repair prior to a commitment of buying a property, and it is always in the best interest of the buyer to have these inspections performed. It better serves you to learn about any electrical problems before purchasing a property and signing a contract, than to have to go through a court case after the fact to only possibly and maybe not be reimbursed. Negotiation of a price reduction may be in order if the inspection finds there to be any significant electrical issues in the home, speak to your realtor, if using one, to handle these negotiations.

Before buying a new home, you want to ensure sure that your dream home is going to be a place of safety for you and your family to live. DIY projects are also of concern if you are buying a home that is not of new construction. You should always hire a licensed residential electrician for your potential home’s electrical inspection to investigate and rectify any electrical projects that may have been a poorly executed DIY project.

As mentioned above, a building inspector may not inspect electrical wiring and smoke alarms, but these are essential parts of a home inspection and should always be checked before the commitment of buying a new home. If the property inspection does not include electrical aspects of the house, then it is recommended that you have an electrician look at the wiring. This inspection will test the outlets, check the electrical panel, look at smoke alarms and test the ground fault circuit interrupters. It is always imperative to make sure you hire a building inspector that is reputable and has the proper and valid insurance and business paperwork.

What to Expect During an Electrical Inspection

If a regular home inspection is not going to cover the electric in the home, it is time to call the electrician. Or, if you just are ready to have a whole home electrical checkup, then you can expect the following process as listed below.

The Scheduling

Most reputable contractors will be available for inspections a couple of weeks out from your call. This is important to remember when purchasing a home. Make sure you are calling with enough time to be within the negation window of your real estate contract. Have your realtor guide you through this timeline.

If you have noticed evident and specific electrical problems that you believe to be potentially dangerous, such as burnt sockets or broken light bulbs, flickering lights, or burning smells, let the electrician inspector know when you call to schedule the appointment. If there is an emergency situation within your already owned home, there are contractors that may be able to plan for an inspection sooner. We at J & A South Park have a 24/7 emergency number, (412) 835-1010.

Your contractor may give you a range of the estimated time of arrival. The inspection can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the size and the condition of your home or potential new home.

The Inspection

During the inspection, the contractor will follow a checklist that ensures the examination complies with local and state safety codes. The contractor may remove outlet covers to expose small amounts of wiring to get a better insight of how your electrical outlets have been wired. This will ensure that they have been installed correctly. Inspections include but are not limited to the following procedures; Testing switches, panels, and circuits; Correcting minor safety and fire hazards; Observing any apparent issues, such ungrounded outlets.

The Report

Once the inspection is complete, your contractor will provide you with a written statement. This report may include the following; A list of needed repairs; Recommendations for improving energy efficiency; Summary of the inspection.

Formal settings, such as home sales and insurance claims, use the inspection report to certify that the inspection was completed correctly. In unofficial cases such as regular home maintenance, the report simply helps you anticipate future electrical repairs and costs that may arise as you proceed to update your home’s wiring.

The investigation can provide you with vital information that you need to make informed decisions about how best proceed with either the purchasing of a new property or to maintain your current home. If the house you already own is in fact in need of repair, at the end of the inspection, you will be able to schedule a day and time for those services.

Call J & A South Park for Your Electrical Inspection

Whether you are purchasing a new home or giving a little TLC to the house, you already own and love, keeping up on the knowledge of your home’s electrical wiring is extremely important for the safety of you and your loved ones. Protecting your family is just as vital as protecting the investment that you have placed on your property. We at J & A South Park know that life gets hectic and time passes us by so quickly. Setting aside the time to be preventive when it comes to the quality of the workings of your home, will ease the pressure of a lengthy to-do list. Prevention will be more kind than a disaster will be on your pocketbook. Call us today, for your home’s electrical inspection, don’t delay or you will pay.