Unlike the roof, furnace and many other important systems in your home, the electrical system remains mostly hidden within the walls, with little opportunity for you to judge its condition or notice any issues that may arise. To make matters worse, the wiring can continue to function for years after developing damage or condition issues that could lead to hazards, such as electrical shock or a fire. Homeowners who have recently purchased a newly constructed or existing home can feel relatively secure about their home's electrical system if the purchase included a home inspection completed by a reputable inspection service. Homeowners who have lived in their home for several years, however, should pay particular attention to the following four reasons why they should consider having their electrical system inspected for safety.
Rodent and animal damage
If your home has suffered from an infestation of mice, rats, squirrels or even birds or bats, the problem could have created potentially hazardous situations. Mice, rats and squirrels often chew or gnaw on the coating that covers many types of electrical wiring. In addition, these rodents, as well as birds and bats can create a potential fire risk when making their nests inside walls where electrical wiring is located. Their nesting materials and even their excrement can become combustible, taking only a small spark or the warmth from an overheated electrical wire to ignite.
Unpermitted, Outdated or Unsafe Wiring
In many areas, the process of requiring inspections and issuing permits for repairs and remodeling work on homes may be a relatively recent mandate. In fact, some states have no code or enforcement regulations on the state level. Instead, these are instituted on the local city or county level, if at all. If your home is located in an area with no code or enforcement regulations for electrical system installation and repair or in an area that has only recently enacted these safety measures, your home's wiring may never have been inspected for safety at all.
To determine the approximate date of any repairs or renovations and whether they might have been done prior to when local inspection and permit regulations were enacted, you can:
- ask neighbors or previous owners for any information they can remember
- use any bathroom renovations that have been done to check for the date by checking the underside of the toilet tank lid for a manufacturer's date stamp, which will help establish an estimated timeline of when bathroom renovation might have been made, which may have triggered electrical upgrades, as well
- call the local planning and zoning office and ask (a) what year permits and inspections first became mandatory and (b) what records might exist for your home
Getting your home's wiring inspected is often a requirement by home insurance providers, usually for one of the following reasons:
- when seeking a new policy or changing insurance providers
- after a claim has been filed
- after renovations or changes are made to the home
In addition to having your home's electrical wiring inspected at the request of your home insurance provider, it may also be helpful for you to order an electrical inspection by a licensed electrician if you have had a significant amount of updating done to your home's electrical system. This is because some insurance providers offer a reduction in the premium for homes with new or updated electrical systems.
When safety issues occur during usage
From a safety standpoint, you should also consider having your home's electrical system inspected immediately whenever you experience electrical issues, including the following:
- breakers that trip more than once
- discolored or heat damaged electrical receptacles and light switches, or those that cease to operate properly
- audible crackling or buzzing noises coming from your electrical system
- any tingling or electrical shock sensation when plugging and unplugging appliances or electrical items
Any of these issues can be a warning that a problem has developed within your electrical system that could cause a fire to start or cause electrical shock injuries to you or your family members. Having your electrical system inspected and renovated, if necessary, will help you ensure that even though you cannot see your wiring, it is safe for your family to use.
For more information, tips, and assistance with inspection or repair, contact local electrical services, like Beckstoffer-Welsh Inc.Share