So far we have covered the the following systems of the home; Roofing, Exterior, Garage and HVAC, now let’s talk about Electrical. Electrical issues in the home are listed of the highest importances because they are typically all safety issues. They are also potential game stoppers for selling a home if they are not repaired. Here are some the the most commonly noted eletrical issues in homes.
Old, damaged, problematic distribution panels aka your breaker box. Missing or improper dead front screws, open breaker slots, loose dead front covers, double tapped wiring, Federal Pacific or Zinsco type panels. If any of these scenarios exist get them repaired/replaced/reviewed by a licensed professional.
GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) need to be installed on receptacles that are within 6' feet of a water source, in garages and on the exterior of homes. They are not an expensive update and they can save your life. They are also something that will get called out on a inspection report if they are not there.
Ungrounded branch wiring. In older homes the branch wiring was often not run with a ground wire (two prong type outlets). There are two solutions for this; the first is having the home rewired by a professional and the better of the two solutions, the seconds is to have arc fault type breakers installed in the distribution panel (breaker box) on any of these ungrounded branch wiring circuits until you upgrade the wiring in the home to provide some type of trip protection on that line. Keep in mind some insurance companies will not insure a home with old ungrounded type branch wiring.
Aluminum branch wiring. Between approximately 1965 and 1973, single-strand aluminum wiring was sometimes substituted for copper branch-circuit wiring in residential electrical systems due to the sudden escalating price of copper. I could write an entire blog on the issues with this type of wiring so in keeping it short it's very simple. This type of branch wiring is a fire hazard and needs to be replaced. You could have copalum crimps installed where all the existing aluminum branch wiring terminates but this is an expensive alternative. Just have it replaced.
Wiring that is exposed, spliced, capped off in the open or basically any live wiring that is not in a proper junction box. I see this a lot in attics. Wiring that is spliced, capped off or exposed needs to be in a junction box to avoid electrocution.
Electric issues as stated are typically safety issues and should always be repaired/reviewed by a licensed professional. Stay tuned for the next in the "Common Issues" series where we talk about Plumbing. Home Inspector Windermere
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!