What are electrical Inspections?

On this panel the wiring comes into contact with the metal edge of the knockout in the breaker panel. This is a common to find when a circuit has been added to a home. A non-slip connector or approved rubber grommet is required at these locations to keep the wire from rubbing against the sharp sheet metal edge of the panel box. Potential for shock and damaged wiring can occur in such an instance.

Inspecting the interior of the home and garage

Open junction box in Louisville Ky
Disconnected conduit on electrical service line, Louisville Ky

Inside the home and in the garage, exposed wiring, open junction boxes and improperly wired outlets are inspected. Here a junction box is missing its cover panel. Junction boxes are designed to keep potential shocks, arcs, and prevent fire. Open junction boxes like this one or outlets that are missing their cover plates leave these hazards exposed. Outlets are inspected and tested for correct wiring, indicating that the hot, neutral, and ground wires are working properly.

No non-slip connector at panel box wire knock-out

The first item looked at for electrical inspections is the service entrance. This is where the electricity comes from the street transformer to the home. In this case the conduit has pulled loose, exposing the electrical lines. Conduit is used with underground electrical lines due to its access to people and pets. The conduit protects the lines from damage from landscaping, mowing, string trimmers, and especially children. Something as simple as a disconnected conduit can lead to a shock hazard.

Electrical Inspections are a key component of the home inspection process. During the home inspection electrical issues can come in almost any area of the home. The electrical inspection is all electrical components in the home that can be visually inspected. This includes outlets, light fixtures, wiring, and the electrical panel. There are many things that can be issues during the electrical inspection so I'll highlight a few of them in this article.

Loose exterior cover of electrical outlet.

Why are electrical inspections important?

Some examples of defects found during inspections:

Folk Inspections Louisville KY

inspecting the exterior of the home

Electrical Inspections

On the exterior of the home the potential for shock can increase due to the wet locations and loose items. Often the electrical outlets and fixtures are loose. When these items come loose, accidental shock can occur. Water can cause corrosion and increase the potential for arcing in some instances as well. As part of the home inspection the fixtures and outlets can show where items have come loose over time. Exterior outlets are recommended to have GFCI protection as well. This outlet was GFCI protected, however it was extremely loose as the screws had almost entirely backed out or were never installed correctly to begin with. 

In this case a breaker has two circuits attached to it. "Double-tapping" as it is often referred to in the home inspection industry is a common defect found during the electrical inspection. There are some breakers that are designed to hold two circuits, such as the one below the one being pointed at. Two wires on a breaker can cause potential for arcing and poor connection of the breaker to the line. Often the biggest hazard with this is electrical fire due to arcing.

Inspecting the Main Panel

Double tapped breaker at panel box.
Wire severed improperly and shock hazard during home inspection, Louisville KY
Electrical panel being inspected in shelbyville kentucky

The electrical service entrance

Electricity has the means to kill or severely injure anyone. Properly done electrical work is safe, when work is done improperly or other adverse factors occur, the potential for shock as well as fire goes way up. 

The photo shows an electrical disconnect for a hot tub. The hot tub has been disconnected, however the line for the hot tub was severed just below the box. The shock potential here for this was as simple as touching the bottom of the disconnect box. While performing the home inspection hazards like this are of the upmost importance.

Folk Inspections is a top home inspector in the Louisville, KY home inspectors directory on Inspectopia.com.