Common Home Inspection Electrical Issues

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Common Home Inspection Electrical Issues

Home inspections have become a key part of buying and selling a home. Most buyers insist on a home inspection before they sign a contract. If you’re a seller, a home inspection can help you spot potential problems before you list your house for sale.

The main purpose of a home inspection is to point out anything that’s potentially dangerous in an existing state.

Electrical Systems: Are They Safe?

A home inspection of the electrical system is especially important because problems with the electrical system are far from minor. Improper wiring or an overloaded system can lead to shock hazards and deadly fires.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Home inspectors don’t remove any part of the structure and can only see what’s visible on the surface.
  • A home inspector is not a code inspector. If you need to ensure the electrical system is code-compliant, you should get a separate inspection from a professional electrician.
  • A home inspector won’t do the repairs. You should hire a contractor to do them once the inspection is finished.

What Does Virginia Law Require?

In Virginia, you’re not required to get a home inspection to sell a house. Virginia does require the seller to give full disclosure of major problems or major repairs done to the house. A home inspection can serve as your seller’s disclosure.

For buyers, a home inspection is an ideal way to get an unbiased, third-party assessment of a house. The inspection will point out potential problems before you buy.

What Are the Most Common Electrical Problems That Home Inspectors Find?

Does your house have any of these warning signs?

Improper Wiring

Outdated or insufficient systems are all too common. Inspectors have found open junction boxes, wires with mismatched amperages and wires without sheaths or nuts. They also list overloaded wires, inadequate protection, and insufficient grounding. These are the most common problems, and inspectors say they’re largely the result of amateur repair jobs by homeowners.

Solution: Don’t try to fix electrical problems yourself. Always get a professional electrician’s help.

Excessive Extension Cords

Extension cords are common in many homes, and they often extend into outdoor lighting areas. Extension cords and overloaded power bars are a common sight. They’re also a fire hazard waiting to happen.

Solution: Don’t overload your systems. If you need more outlets, call an electrician to install them.


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Open Splice Wire

This term refers to wires that are joined with electrical tape. This is another unfortunate outcome when homeowners attempt to do their own electrical repairs. Inspectors often find open splice wires in attics, basements and outdoor buildings.

Solution: This is not just cosmetic. Open splice wires are dangerous. If you have them in your home, call an electrician to get them repaired.

Knob and Tube Wiring

Houses that were built before 1950 might still have old-fashioned knob and tube wiring. This type of wiring isn’t powerful enough for the needs of most modern buyers, and it’s dangerous to keep it.

Solution: If you buy a home with this type of wiring, you should have it rewired before you move in.


image of old fashioned home wiring electrical system


Old or Insufficient Electrical Outlets

Most older homes don’t have enough electrical outlets, and you’ll almost always have to add more. If the electrical outlets are old and worn out, they should be replaced.

Solution: If your outlets show signs of wear, it’s probably time to replace them.

Lack of GFCI Outlets

All electrical outlets that are close to water should have GFCI outlets. If the ones in your house don’t have them, that’s a serious safety issue that you need to correct.

Solution: Always use GFCI outlets in bathrooms, kitchens and other areas where the surfaces might get wet.


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How Does Your House Stack Up?

If the electrical system in your house isn’t as safe, updated or properly protected as it should be, it’s time to get professional help. SESCOS can make sure your wires, outlets, and panels are all working safely together. If you’ve had a home inspection and need repairs to your electrical system, contact us for fast, expert help.

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