Thursday, August 1, 2013

Common Electrical problems in a House


No one disputes the importance of properly inspecting the Electrical systems of the house during the Home Inspection. Faulty electrical systems can not only result financial impact to a home buyer it is also a major safety concern. Unlike other systems electrical system may still function even if it was not properly installed. It can easily cause fire, shock and other problems which can result in a significant damage to property and in worst cases loss of life. The qualifications, experience and knowledge of Home Inspector is tested to its full extent while checking electrical systems.

In this blog I will just mention various defects and write about them in detail in the following blogs.

Common electrical wiring defects found in a house are!

1. Open Ground

This is a problem which is more common in old houses. The electrical outlets are not grounded which can be a safety hazard as it can result in a shock.

2. Reverse polarity

Most three prong electrical outlets have three wires Hot, Neural and Ground. If the Hot and neutral are reversed the condition is known as reverse polarity.

3. False Ground

This is very difficult to detect. In this case neutral is connected to the ground which makes entire outlet hot or charged. If you bring your voltage tester near the outlet it can be easily observed.

4. Disconnected Neutral

5. Hot wire connected to ground wire terminal

6. Missing or malfunctioning GFCI and in New Construction AFCI (for detailed information regarding GFCI receptacle refer my previous blog on that subject).

7. Presence of Aluminum wire in the House

Presence of Aluminum wire normally scare a lot of buyers. Aluminum wire in itself is not a problem. It is only at its termination that it requires special treatment or outlets to prevent oxidation and arching. Aluminum wire problems are mostly for 15 amps or 20 amps circuits.

8. Presence of old knob and tube wiring

9. Missing cover plates at the junction boxes or outlets

10. Presence of 2 wires under the breaker (double tapping).

11. Incompatibility of wire gauge and breaker amps. e.g. 14 gauge wire for 15 amp breaker and 12 gauge wire for 20 amp. breaker.

12. Compatibility between the appliance current requirement and the breaker feeding it e.g. 40 amp. breaker for stove is required use less and the breaker will trip frequently.

13. Proper wiring inside the Main electrical panel and the sub panel.

We can just go on writing on this subject for ever. The above mentioned defects are the most common we encounter during a typical Home Inspection.

At RK Home Inspection we are experienced, Certified and Qualified to detect electrical systems problems. We carry GFCI, AFCI tester along with millimetre and infrared thermometer.