Buying a new home is a stressful process. You’re likely making the largest purchase of your life, and there’s generally not a lot of time to thoroughly check out the property. Visits with realtors usually only last an hour or so, and often there are only one or two scheduled.
As well as enjoying the look and feel of the house, and feeling comfortable in the knowledge that you and your family can be happy there, there is also the condition of the structure to consider. Theoretically, a home inspection should point out existing and potential problems with your property, but we have heard tell of many, many incidences when they do not. We highly suggest working with your realtor to allow an additional electrical inspection as part of your terms of agreement, especially if the current owners have not provided one. An electrical inspection provides you with a comprehensive report on all aspects of your electrical system, providing you with the peace of mind needed to make your purchase.
What to Look For Before We Get There
A few things you can visually scan look for when checking out a property for the first time that may indicate a problem and the need for an electrical inspection include:
Older, two-pronged outlets. Two-pronged outlets are a sign there have not been many (if any) updates made to your electrical system. Three-pronged outlets are much safer as they provide extra grounding. Not only do a lot of today’s appliances and electronics require a three-pronged outlet, but their additional safety features will also protect your sensitive, and expensive, electronics.
Too few outlets. There’s nothing more annoying (and potentially dangerous) than having to use multiple extension cords to power up all your essential electrical appliances. Too few outlets are also a sign than the entire electrical system has not been configured properly, and may need an overhaul. There are lots of great options for outlets available now, including floor boxes, recessed outlets, and USB or smart outlets. Newer outlets come with advanced surge protection, which protects your sensitive electronics and appliances from degrading.
Missing GFCI outlets. In order for your home to be properly up to code, outlets in washrooms or near sources of water must be protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets, which will automatically shut off when exposed to moisture.
What You Can’t See
Outdated wiring is an extreme hazard. We are able to spot the signs of old knob-and-tube and aluminum wiring, both of which are so potentially dangerous that they may even preclude your being eligible for home insurance. Knob and tube wiring does not incorporate ground wires, which protect against dangerous surges, and aluminum wiring has a tendency to lose contact with connection points, which can cause arcing, melting, and fires.
You also won’t be able to see how much amperage your wiring provides without the proper knowledge of how an electrical panel works. Your home should be wired to receive 200-amps, not the traditional 60-amps older homes used. Sixty amps simply will not be able to power the number of electrical fixtures, appliances, and overall load today’s homeowners require.
What Your Electrical Inspection Will Provide
Your A-Star electrical inspection will provide a thorough assessment of your electrical panel, making sure it is up to date and reliable. We will test all your connections for strength and safety, have a look for proper labelling, and check that your wiring is clean and organized.
Additionally, we will:
- Inspect that your fuses are able to handle the amperage directed to them.
- Check the wiring to your meter to ensure usage is being reported properly.
- Ensure switches and outlets have been installed appropriately and are in tip-top condition.
- Verify that lighting fixtures have been mounted correctly, and are using the right wattage of bulbs.
- Identify any electrocution hazards, such as stripped or old wiring.
- Test your surge protectors.
- Assess your outdoor safety lighting.
- Confirm your grounding systems are working.
- Report any needed repairs and/or code violations.
A-Star Illuminates Your Home
A-Star Electric are a group of certified journeyman or apprentice electricians who always carry out our professional duties in a positive, efficient and courteous manner. We are fully insurable and bondable, and for any job we undertake we guarantee that city codes are met or surpassed and that all necessary inspections have been completed. Contact us for all of your residential and commercial electrician needs in Calgary.