What’s Involved in an Electrical Inspection?

Home inspector training teaches you what to look for in an electrical inspection.

The electrical service is one of the most critical elements of any home. It’s also one that can be the most dangerous if material defects exist. The job of a home inspector is to find and note defects, so this part of an inspection is one where a lot of attention to detail is required.

As with other parts of an inspection, there are components inside and outside the home to examine. Here’s what you can expect from a typical electrical inspection after you’ve completed your training.

Service Drop and Related Components

The electrical service to any home begins with the service drop. That’s the part outside the home where the electricity runs from the pole and joins with the house. At this point, the inspector looks for any visible defects with the service head, which is also known as the weatherhead, and all of the wiring and connections outside the home to the point where it meets the electric meter.

The inspector looks for defective or worn connections, hardware and wiring. He also checks for corrosion, signs of water infiltration, and any other defect that could pose a hazard. Problems outside the home can be much more dangerous than those inside the home, and severe weather conditions, fallen branches, and ice can damage any of these components over time.

The service entrance is the heart of a home’s electrical system.

Service Entrance and Related Components

The service entrance to a house, which may be a breaker box or fuse box, is installed inside or outside, depending on local code regulations. One main cable runs into the box, where it splits and provides electric service throughout the home. The inspector looks for obvious corrosion, defective connections, and any other signs of damage, such as arc burns or char marks.

Inside the box where the breakers or fuses are located, the inspector also looks for signs of loose or damaged wires, damaged breakers or fuses, and an appropriate number of AFCI breakers, depending on what’s required at the location. He should also test AFCI breakers to ensure that they are functioning properly.

Part of an inspection is testing devices, but you’re not required to repair a device that’s defective.

Electric Receptacles and Devices

Past the box, the inspector will test light switches and their corresponding fixtures, outlets, and note the number of smoke detectors in the house. If there are none, that is noted, too. Where a fixture doesn’t respond to the test, such as where there is no light bulb in a fixture, he’s not required to install a bulb for the purpose of testing.

GFCI receptacles are also noted and tested for polarity and function. If any device is improperly installed or loose, or if there’s any indication of arcing, that makes its way into the report. Where grounding is either absent or defective, that’s also noted.

For as many parts of a home’s electrical system that are inspected, there are many others that are not. Devices that aren’t operational are omitted, as are smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire alarms, and several other items that vary from one property to the next.

The electrical portion of a home inspection covers a lot of different elements, both inside and outside. The good news is that you aren’t required to have any prior electrical knowledge or experience. You’ll learn everything that you need in your home inspector training course.

Are you ready to take the next step? Enroll now, and you could earn your certification in as little as a few weeks.

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