As our homes age, the electrical system inside also ages and deteriorates. Over time, dangerous hazards can develop unseen until it's too late. Connections grow loose and throw arcs and sparks, wire insulation frays and cracks exposing hot wire, wire itself oxidizes increasing resistance and heat buildup along the circuit, our demand grows while the system's capacity gets overburdened. In order to prevent the devastating loss of your home or death or injury of your or your family, remember to inspect and protect.
Between 1994 and 1998, according to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, there was an average of 406,700 residential fires a year, and nearly 17 percent of those were related to electrical distribution or appliances and equipment. Another 42,700, or 10.5 percent were related to heating and air conditioning systems. These combined to cause an average of 860 deaths, 4,785 injuries and nearly $1.3 billion in property damage.
Many of these incidents could have been prevented by having an electrical inspection of the house to find the hidden hazards lurking behind the walls and in the electrical panel and appliances of the home.
What is an electrical inspection?
You may be familiar with the home inspection done any time a house is bought or sold. The home inspection checks skin deep on several facets of the home - the plumbing, the structure, the roof, and the electrical system. An electrical inspection is specific to the electrical system and is much more comprehensive. Still, if you ask ten different electricians what's in an electrical inspection, you may well get ten different answers. So the ESFI suggests that any electrical inspection you arrange include at least the following:
Who needs an electrical inspection?
An electrical inspection is a good idea for all homeowners, but in particular, the ESFI and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommend electrical inspections for the following:
Can't I check it myself?
No. There are some clues you can look for that would indicate the need for a closer look, but the electrical inspection itself is more complicated than the average homeowner can handle and requires the knowledge and skill of a qualified, licensed electrician or electrical inspector.
New homeowners should get to know their home's electrical system; know its capacity, its limitations and its potential hazards. Especially, understand the demand you place of the system.