There are a variety of reasons your home might require an electrical inspection. One of the more common ones is for insurance reasons. But why do homes require electrical inspections before they can be insured? When does this apply? And what can you do to make sure that your electrical inspection goes well?
Over time, more and more insurance companies have adopted policies requiring or recommending electrical inspections before home insurance policies are issued. This has been for a variety of reasons. If the house is older, has been abandoned, or vandalized, it is quite likely that an insurance company might require an inspection. In older housed, it is likely that their electrical systems have degraded and are no longer safe or reliable. In abandoned houses, there is always the chance that scavengers have taken some of the wiring, or that there are other defects in the system. However, even if your house is relatively new and has always been occupied, you may need an inspection. So how will the inspection go?
Generally, the inspection will start when the homeowner contracts a licensed inspector to come and examine the property. Once the inspector arrives, they will conduct a thorough inspection and testing of the homes electrical systems. All the wiring and circuits will be inspected to ensure that they are both safe and up to electrical code. Additionally, it is common for electrical inspectors to examine auxiliary systems, such as smoke detectors, the electrical panel, furnace wiring, etc. Once this inspection is complete, the inspector will detail all of the parts of the system that have a problem. This problem might be a simple one, where a small technicality means that it is not up to code. They can also be more severe problems which have substantial risk of causing a safety problem. They will discuss in detail their findings with the homeowner, as well as give an estimate for repairs.
The homeowner will then be able to assess their options, and will be able to decide if they will pay for the repairs needed. If the repairs needed are made, the report will show that the systems are up to date and safe. Assuming that the homeowner is paying for repairs, the electrician will go through all of the proper steps to do the electrical work. This might include taking out permits and looking at the local electrical code. Once permits have been issued and the work is completed, the inspection can be closed, showing that the house has an electrical system which is completely up to electrical code and also safe for habitation.
This will give the insurance company the assurance that the houses electrical systems will not cause a fire risk. This allows them to charge lower fees to their customers, so these inspections will help you out if your electrical system is in good condition. As with most such inspections, if your property is assessed to be a low risk, you can pay substantially less for your insurance.
Another common reason that homeowners need an electrical inspection is when they are buying or selling a house. If you are selling your house, an electrical inspection can be a key part of the valuation for your property. Understanding the current state of your electrical system gives you a valuable tool for negotiation, and can help you to not over or underestimate the value of your property. Secondly, the buyer will certainly be doing an inspection, so if you do not do your own, you risk having less information than the buyer. And in any trade, the person with the most information has an edge during bargaining.
In this case, the inspection will be the same for the most part, although you may take a different approach to the final report. If the report shows that your electrical systems are in great condition, and should run smoothly for years, you can proudly show this to potential buyers, knowing that they will be excited by the prospect of an electrical system that won’t cause them headaches. However, if your electrical systems are in poor condition, you do not necessarily need to pay for repairs out of pocket. If you factor it into the price of the house, you might find a buyer who is willing to pay for the repairs themselves. No matter the situation, having as much information as you can will always be helpful.
So, if you are in a situation where you need an electrical inspection, there is no need to worry. Qualified and licensed electricians understand that you are their client, and they are on your side. They will work to help you understand the state of your electrical system, and your options to fix or leave it. Find an electrician you can trust, and you will have a good experience.