Are Electrical Safety Inspections Needed?

Whether your house is new or old, it’s a good idea to get electrical safety inspections every three to five years, not only to make sure your house is up to code but to also make sure that you, your house, and your loved ones remain safe.

What Will the Electrician Inspect?

An electrician’s electrical safety inspection checklist is quite extensive. To put it briefly, the inspection involves a thorough examination of all the wiring and electrical connections in your home. Any area of your home that receives electricity will be covered during an electrical safety inspection.

On a more detailed level, here are some things that you can expect the electrician to check.

  • The circuit breaker’s capacity: the electrician needs to make sure that your circuit breaker is working properly and whether or not it seems at risk of overload. It should be able to keep currents going at safe levels, and it should be free of corrosion, water damage, or other mechanical issues that could lead to a fire if sparks were produced.

  • The electric meter: the electrician will ensure that the meter was installed properly and that it has not suffered extensive wear or damage, including water damage or rust. This is just as important as making sure that the meter is still accurately logging the amount of wattage.

  • GFI / GFCI outlets: you’ve probably seen these outlets in your kitchen or bathroom--they’re the ones with a (sometimes red) reset button and a (sometimes black) test button between the top and bottom plugs. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets contain a device that cuts off the power supply in order to protect you from getting an electric shock from your household appliances and other electrical devices. During an inspection, your electrician will make sure that your GFCI outlets are wired properly.

  • Electrical wires and cords that may be damaged: this part of the inspection involves an extensive search because your electrician needs to examine every place in your home with wiring--even where wires are not in plain sight. They’ll check for wear and tear on wires and cords, as well as any wires that are exposed to wet areas or hanging from walls and ceilings.

What an Inspection Can Help Prevent

At some point, it may become necessary to bring in a government official for an electrical inspection. If your house is not up to code or in line with all government regulations, they won’t have any qualms about failing your inspection. While this might be incentive enough to have an electrician perform a safety inspection ahead of time, there are more pressing, safety-related concerns to consider.

House Fires

Electrical equipment and faulty or inadequate wiring rank among the top ten causes of house fires. During an inspection, your electrician is going to look for various parts of your wiring that may cause hazardous short circuits that could lead to a fire.

Electric Shock

If not properly placed, inspected, and maintained, your electronic appliances can become dangerous as well as less effective. Like house fires, electric shock can also be caused by faulty wiring, so this is another thing that electricians take into account during an inspection.

Power Surges

Electrical or power surges can end up costing you a lot of money. They have the potential to create short circuits in your home and also wreck your plugged-in electronics and appliances. Though some geographical areas are at higher risk for surges than others, storms can increase the likelihood of a surge as well. Issues with different parts of your wiring might put you at higher risk for surges, so checking those places will be part of the inspection.

Signs That Your Electrical System Needs Help

If you’re wondering how to tell if your electrical system is inadequate, here are some common clues:

  • Your lights dim or flicker when you turn on appliances or when the air conditioner or furnace turns on.

  • Circuit breakers trip, or fuses blow fairly often.

  • You spot frayed or melting cords or damaged plugs.

  • Switches and outlets are not working consistently.

  • You’re making use of multiple power strips, octopus outlets, or extension cords at max capacity.

Everything Seems Fine. Should I Still Get a Safety Inspection?

Electrical safety inspections exist largely to prevent any serious issues from occurring. If everything seems fine, but it has been five years or more since your home was last inspected, it’s recommended that you get another inspection soon. The need is even more urgent if your house has old wiring or if you own an older home (more than 25 years old). In addition, it’s also generally a good idea to get an electrical safety inspection if you know you’ll be selling your home soon--it will be a good selling point for many likely buyers!

Don’t ignore the signs of a faltering electrical system! As our name suggests, All Electric Services offers safety inspections as well as a full range of other electrical services. Give us a call today at (407) 638-8719.

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