The electrical system is the most dangerous part of your home. While electrical systems are designed to be safe, there are many issues that can make them unsafe and lead to a fire or electrocution. This is why electrical safety inspections are important. This article will explain what a safety inspection involves and how to know when you need to have one performed.

How Electrical Safety Inspection Are Performed

A safety inspection involves checking every aspect of a home’s electrical system and making sure that everything is safe, up to code, and meets all modern safety requirements. This includes checking the condition of the main electrical panel and making sure that all circuit breakers are still functioning as they should. The electrician will also inspect the electrical panel for issues like rust, scorch marks, and other signs that indicate the panel needs to be replaced.

Another important step is to make sure that none of the circuits in the home is overloaded. If there’s an overloaded circuit, you’ll want to have an electrician split and rewire it into two separate circuits and install an additional breaker. The electrician will also check for any faulty wiring and make sure that the wires aren’t old and starting to degrade. It’s important to make sure that the house doesn’t have any aluminum wiring since aluminum wiring heats up much more than copper and can be a fire hazard. Even though most of the wiring in a home is hidden, the electrician will be able to check the overall condition by inspecting the wires in the attic or crawlspace.

One of the final steps is to take the covers off of all outlets and switches to make sure that there are no loose connections. They’ll also test to make sure that all outlets work and that every outlet near a source of water or that could be exposed to water is a GFCI (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet. The National Electric Code now requires GFCI protection for all outlets in a kitchen, bathroom, laundry or utility room, garage, and basement. All outdoor outlets also need to be GFCIs.

Although you’re not legally required to replace these outlets with GFCIs and bring your electrical system up to code, it’s still a good idea. A GFCI outlet acts like a circuit breaker and will immediately stop power from flowing if the current flows to an unexpected path, such as a person. This means that they’ll prevent potentially fatal electrocution, which can occur if water gets into the outlet.

The Importance of Having an Electrical Safety Inspection Performed

An electrical inspection is obviously important for ensuring that your electrical system is safe and doesn’t have any issues that could be a fire hazard. Electrical issues such as damaged or faulty wiring or loose connections are one of the leading causes of residential fires. While electrocution is luckily quite rare, there are still issues that could potentially give you a nasty shock or even fatally electrocute you.

A safety inspection can also save you money by identifying any problems that could lead to damage in the future. For instance, if the wiring that supplies power to your HVAC system or any other appliance is faulty, it could cause major damage to the appliance or even ruin it altogether.

How Often Should You Have Your Electrical System Inspected?

Most experts recommend having a complete electrical safety inspection performed every 10 years or so. It’s also essential to have a safety inspection performed on any house you’re planning on buying. That way, you can identify any issues that the home may have and ensure that its electrical system is up to code. If the inspection does reveal any issues or code violations, you can then force the seller to repair them before you close on the house. Alternatively, you can negotiate to get the cost to repair or update the electrical system taken off the final price.

You’ll also need to have a full inspection performed when doing any renovations. If the electrical system in the part of the home you’re renovating doesn’t meet all relevant code requirements, you’ll be required to bring everything up to code. Most local regulations also require you to bring your entire electrical system up to code if you’re renovating 50% or more of your house.

Signs That You Need an Electrical Inspection

While it’s important to have an electrical inspection performed at least every 10 years, you should also monitor for any electrical issues and immediately schedule an inspection as soon as any problem arises. One obvious sign that you need an inspection is if you get shocked when you touch an outlet or a light switch.

There are also situations in which you may get shocked when you touch a metal plumbing fixture like a faucet. While most shocks are minor, the problem could worsen and potentially lead to a fatal shock. Sometimes this issue occurs because a live wire has come loose and is touching a pipe. All metal plumbing pipes are supposed to be grounded. If a live wire ever touches a metal pipe, it will cause a massive surge in current. As long as the pipe is grounded, the surge will cause the circuit breaker to immediately trip. If the pipe isn’t grounded, the circuit breaker won’t trip, and the current will flow through the pipe and shock you.

In older homes, sometimes the electrical system is grounded to the metal plumbing pipes instead of to a copper grounding rod. This can also result in you getting shocked if electrical issues like a short circuit or arc fault happen. That’s why grounding an electrical system to the plumbing system is no longer allowed. One other possibility is that the wiring on an appliance like a dishwasher, washing machine, or water heater is faulty and causing a ground fault that sends the current surging through the water in your pipes.

Some other obvious signs that you need an electrical inspection are if an outlet starts smoking or if an outlet or light switch feels hot. Since these issues are major fire hazards, it’s important that you shut off the main circuit breaker immediately. It’s also a good idea to schedule an inspection if you have issues with circuit breakers continually tripping or lights that frequently flicker.

We recommend opening up your electrical panel every so often and performing a quick visual inspection. If you see any rust or signs of smoking or scorching, you need to have an inspection performed. The same is true if the panel feels hot to the touch or makes any unusual sounds like humming, buzzing, or popping.

If you need an electrical safety inspection for your home in Norman or the OKC area, Norman Air is ready to help. Our licensed electricians can identify any electrical issues your house may have. We specialize in all types of electrical repairs and upgrades as well as installations. We’ve been serving the area since 2008, and we’re proud to provide expert heating, air conditioning, and plumbing services. Contact us today to schedule an electrical inspection or if you need any other home service.

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