Whether you’ve built a new home, are purchasing an older home, have done some do-it-yourself work, or you’re an electrician finishing up a job, an electrical inspection is necessary. Having a professional check for problems or defects could save your home or business from potential fires and could save you from shock or electrocution. When we have electricity, we like to assume that it’s working safely and properly. Many people typically don’t get worried until we all of a sudden don’t have power or when damage is already done and it’s too late. There are many things that a licensed electrician and an electrical inspector will look at when examining a structure. They will make sure that minimum requirements of the National Electrical Code are met so there are essentially zero hazards to the structure and its occupants. Some standard inspections just touch the surface, others are more in-depth. There’s are only a few minor things an inspector will look for.
Your meter will be checked to make sure the install is secure and there are no defects or rust affecting the box. Since it’s located outside, it’s important to check for the presence of water.
An inspector will look for unprotected wires in the business or residence, along with damaged or frayed wires outsides. He or she will also check to make sure the correctly type of wire is used. For example, underground cables are different than the cables typically run within a house.
The electrical panel will be examined carefully. Breakers are designed to prevent currents from reaching unsafe levels. The electrician or inspector will make sure the breakers are properly sized for the current they will be holding, possible corrosion, or the potential for overheating. He or she will want to make sure the box isn’t overloaded.
Junction boxes also need to be accessible and visible, not buried beneath insulation and drywall. They all must have covers as well.
Ground fault circuit interrupters are typically placed in areas where there might be water, such as bathrooms, kitchens, garages, and basements. They are designed to shut off when overloaded and prevent electrocution. An inspector will make sure they’re wired correctly and will test them to make sure they’re working properly.
In addition to testing the GFCIs, regular outlets around the home or business will be tested and inspected to make sure there isn’t any unsafe wiring or loose switch plates. Outlets should also be properly spaced throughout the home to avoid use of dangerous extension cords.
All wiring will also be checked for proper grounding back to the electrical panel. Electrical current naturally flows to the ground, so it’s safer to have it flow through the ground wire than through another source, such as your body.
If for some reason a structure doesn’t pass an inspection, it’s important to call a licensed electrician right away to fix the issues.