Are you thinking of buying a new home? Recent studies report that nearly 20% of the homes in the US have some type of electrical wiring problem. Here are a few electrical items to check and discuss with your home inspector:
Undersized Electrical Service
If the home you are considering is more than 10 years old, make sure the electrical panel is capable of supporting your electrical needs. At a minimum, the panel should be rated for 200-amps.
Some older homes used fiberglass-insulated wires, which will fray over time. Look along the basement ceiling to see if any exposed wires show signs of fraying or deterioration.
If your dream home has two-prong outlets, they will need to be replaced with three-pronged receptacles. Also, use a plug-in tester to make sure the outlets are grounded. A tester will also tell you if the polarity is wrong or if the circuit has other wiring problems like a lost neutral or a lost feed.
The range, microwave, dishwasher, and refrigerator are required to have dedicated circuits. Check the home’s electrical panel to see if any dedicated circuits are indicated.
Turn on all permanently installed light fixtures to check for dimming or blinking lights. Dimming bulbs could indicate voltage drops are occurring in the circuit while blinking bulbs indicate a loose wiring connection.
Poor Wire Connections
Open each junction box and inspect the wiring inside. Do not touch the wiring. Just look to see if the connections look good. If there’s a potential problem, turn off the breaker that feeds the wires before pulling any out for a closer look.
Smoke & CO Detectors
Check for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. There should be at least one smoke detector on every floor of the home, and it should be right outside the bedrooms. Also required is a carbon monoxide detector. If the detectors are not working, install new 9-volt batteries and re-test them to ensure they are functioning.
GFCI outlets should be installed near kitchen and bathroom sinks, and any areas that are near water sources or where moisture might collect. Other areas include the garage, the basement, exterior outlets, and crawlspaces.
Get the history on any appliances remaining in the home, such as when they were purchased, if they were ever repaired, or if they have had any existing problems. Make sure the appliances are working as intended.
Signs of scorching on and around outlets, light switches, and light fixtures will indicate that the circuit experienced a short at one time or another. Ask if the circuit was repaired or that the outlet or switch was replaced. Also, ask for the name of the professional who performed the work.
Contact Electrical Experts to check your wiring if you are thinking about purchasing a new home.