A home inspection is essential before you buy a home. A fresh coat of paint can make a home look enticing but it may cover more serious problems hidden behind the walls. The home's electrical system should definitely be inspected before you invest in a home. If you're buying an older home, you may want to have the inspection done by an electrician in addition to a home inspector for a comprehensive evaluation of the state of the electrical system in the house. Here are some things you want to know.
If The Electrical System Is Up To Current Codes
If the home is several decades old, the home may not be up to code. New fire codes apply to new construction homes. Existing homes aren't required by law to update their electrical systems when the codes change. However, the codes change due to safety reasons, so you want to know what parts of the home are potentially unsafe. For instance, aluminum wiring was used in homes at one time. It was later found to be unsafe so it is prohibited by current electrical codes. If the house has aluminum wiring, you want to know about it in advance so you can request a price adjustment on the house or have the seller update the wiring.
If The Electrical System Is Grounded
Older homes didn't have grounded outlets with three holes. The electrical system of the home may have been upgraded over the years, but if not, you're looking at the need for an electrical upgrade. The electrical system should be grounded to prevent an electrical shock. Grounding also protects your appliances and electronic equipment.
Outlets with three holes are not necessarily a sign of grounded electricity in an older home since the plates can be changed to accept a plug with three prongs. Instead, the inspector will check each outlet with a meter. In addition to basic grounding, some outlets also require GFCI protection in wet areas according to current codes. These outlets shut the power off if stray electricity is detected so a shock is avoided.
If The Electrical Panel Has Room For Expansion
You don't want to buy a house that doesn't have a panel with enough power for all your appliances and electronic equipment. You'll want plenty of room for expansion so you can install modern appliances and run multiple televisions and computers without worry of circuits constantly tripping off. Plus, you'll want to know if the panel is suitable for installing a tankless water heater or hot tub. Knowing in advance prevents disappointment later when you learn you'll need expensive upgrades to support the lifestyle you want.
If The Electrical Components Are Safe
The inspector will look for signs of damage that could signal problems such as char marks on the electrical panel or worn receptacles. Also, a shortage of outlets would indicate the need for overloading a receptacle or circuit to handle modern power needs. Each outlet, electrical fixture, and appliance in the home should be tested. The inspector will look for signs of DIY repairs which could signal dangers. He or she may pull the permit history on the home to make sure previous upgrades were done by a licensed contractor and according to code. Also, the panel itself will be checked to make sure it isn't an older model made by a manufacturer that has proven to be unsafe.
If the home is found to have electrical problems, that doesn't mean you should avoid buying it. It might mean the seller needs to adjust the price to compensate for the amount of money you have to spend on making the electrical system safe. Knowing the condition of the electrical system of the house helps you make a wise buying decision. Visit a site like http://www.homeinspectionassoc-ma.com for more help.