Serving Residents North of Pittsburgh

Serving Residents North of Pittsburgh

08: Wiring Issues to Check for When Purchasing a Home

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Wiring Issues to Check for When Purchasing a Home

A Must-Have Article About Your Home’s Electrical System: Article 8 of 10

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”22″][video_embed url=”https://vimeo.com/335598417″ border=”yes”][vc_empty_space height=”22″][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”hb-custom-sidebar-schedule-homeelectricedusale”][vc_separator color=”custom” accent_color=”#ffe300″ css=”.vc_custom_1577421655064{margin-top: 20px !important;margin-bottom: 20px !important;}”][vc_column_text]When buying a home, chances are you will pay for a home inspection. In some states, they are required as part of the purchase process, but even if one is not required where you are purchasing, it would be foolish to skip a home inspection by a qualified professional. Even if the inspector has an outstanding reputation, it is a good idea to check ahead of the inspection to see exactly what items will be on the list of things to be checked. If you have a list of your own and some items on it aren’t on the inspector’s list, insist that they are added to it.

In the case of the electrical system, some of the things that you should be checking (or having checked for you) are:

  • Check the service entrance. At the point that electrical service enters your home, make sure the service entrance connector and weather head are sealed. Also check the wiring itself at that point, verifying that there are no breaks in the insulation and no loose connections.
  • Check the main service panel. Not many years ago, the normal total capacity of a home breaker panel was 100 amps. More electronics and more electrical devices have changed that requirement. The norm today is a 200 amp breaker panel. Regardless of the size of the panel, if all of the breaker slots are filled, there is no room for expansion. You need a panel that would allow installation of additional circuits if the need arises. And while you are at the service panel touch all of the breakers, checking for heat. Breakers that feel hot are signs of faulty breakers or bad connections, both of which are dangerous conditions that need to be corrected immediately.
  • Adequate electrical outlets. Make sure that all living spaces have outlets at least every 12 feet of wall space. That assures that any device along the wall is no more than six feet from the nearest outlet, and can be plugged in without using an extension cord.
  • No visible signs of problems with outlets. Outlets should not have any discoloration from burning or overheating. There should not be any cracks or breaks in the visible face of the outlet.
  • Proper electrical outlets. All electrical outlets should be 3-prong grounded outlets.
  • Properly connected electrical outlets. Use a circuit tester to check electrical outlets. You will be checking: whether each outlet is live if all of the outlets are properly grounded; and if the polarity is correct on each outlet. This check is not a random sample of the outlets. It needs to be a test of every single outlet in the house. Even if all of them had been installed properly when the house was built, past repairs could have resulted in an outlet being replaced and installed incorrectly.
  • GFCIs. All outlets in the kitchen and bathrooms must have GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters). These are the equivalent of a local circuit breaker for that outlet only. They are designed to shut off power from that outlet quickly (less than 1/40 second) if something creates a problem with the grounding there. These are required for kitchens, bathrooms and all exterior outlets because of the hazards of water in those areas.

These are all things that should be resolved before you purchase the home or are things that you should be aware that you must repair quickly when you move in. Moving into a house with significant electrical problems is certain to create a major financial drain. A quick inspection can eliminate that risk.[/vc_column_text][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”hb-custom-sidebar-schedule-homeelectricedusale”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]

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