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Electrical inspections- Vital yet often overlooked component of building inspections

For the safety and integrity of a building, most people immediately think of structural inspections. While examining the foundation, framing, and overall construction is undoubtedly crucial, there’s another essential aspect that often gets overlooked electrical inspections. Electrical systems are the lifeblood of modern buildings, powering everything from lighting and appliances to critical safety systems.

Inspection process

Electrical inspections are typically carried out by licensed electricians or certified electrical inspectors. The process involves a thorough examination of the entire electrical system, from the main service panel to individual outlets and light fixtures.

  1. Visual inspection– The inspector will visually examine the electrical components, looking for signs of damage, wear, or improper installation. This includes checking for exposed wiring, loose connections, and potential code violations.
  2. Electrical load analysis– The vital building inspection will assess the electrical load of the building to ensure that the service panel and circuits are appropriately sized to handle the demand. Overloaded circuits pose a fire hazard and cause premature equipment failure.
  3. Circuit testing– Using specialized testing equipment, the inspector will verify the functionality of individual circuits, outlets, and switches. This includes testing for proper grounding, polarity, and voltage levels.

Schedule an electrical inspection

Electrical inspections should be conducted at various stages of a building’s lifecycle, including:

  1. New construction– During the construction process, multiple electrical inspections are typically required to ensure compliance at each phase, from rough-in wiring to final installation.
  2. Renovations or additions– Any time electrical work is performed, such as adding new circuits or relocating outlets, an inspection is necessary to verify the work meets code requirements.
  3. Periodic maintenance– Even if no major electrical work has been done, it’s recommended to have regular electrical inspections every few years to identify any potential issues or deterioration before they become serious problems.
  4. Home or building sales- As mentioned earlier, electrical inspections are often requested during real estate transactions to provide buyers with peace of mind and protect their investment.

Choosing the right inspector

  1. Licensed and certified– Ensure the inspector holds the proper licenses and certifications required by your state or local jurisdiction. This ensures they have the necessary training and expertise to perform thorough and accurate inspections.
  2. Experience– Look for inspectors with significant experience in electrical inspections, particularly in the type of building or construction you require (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.).
  3. Reputation– Research the inspector’s reputation and read reviews from previous clients. A reputable inspector will have a track record of providing quality service and accurate assessments.
  4. Insurance and liability coverage- Verify that the inspector carries adequate insurance and liability coverage to protect you in case of any damages or accidents during the inspection process.

Cost of electrical inspections

The cost of electrical inspections varies depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of the building, the location, and the inspector’s rates. On average, homeowners expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $500 for a comprehensive electrical inspection, while commercial and industrial facilities may incur higher costs due to their larger scale. While the upfront cost of an electrical inspection may seem like an added expense, it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind and potential savings provided. Identifying and addressing electrical issues early prevent costly repairs, increase energy efficiency, and ensure the safety of occupants.

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