A home's electrical system is complex and we will always review the point where a power line connects to a building on the outside before moving indoors to examine other components of the system. The inspection will locate the electrical panel or box that contains the major switches that route power throughout the property to see if the home is adequately configured for power consumption. Lighting, switches, fixture installation, and outdoor weather outlets will also be examined for proper grounding. In addition, we will review electrical wiring where visible to make sure wires aren't showing signs of cracking or aging.
Service Size/Panel to Structure
Your APPLEGATE inspection will identify the size of electrical service (amps/volts) within the home and assess its installation, approximate age, current condition and any associated safety issues. Determining the type of structural wire leading into a home is also important because there are known issues with certain types. Single-strand aluminum wire will need further evaluation by a licensed electrician.
A home's electrical panel or box contains the major switches that control and route power throughout a property. A panel or box can contain circuit breakers (in a modern or updated home) or fuses and is generally configured to carry a certain load of electrical energy. We will review whether the panel or box appears to be in functional condition and whether it has sufficient energy for the appliances and energy consumption typical of a home of that era.
We will check to see whether the home has fuses, breakers, or a combination of both, and their visible condition. We will evaluate wire size and the visible condition of devices as well. An electrical panel or box can contain circuit breakers (in a modern or updated home) or fuses configured to carry a certain load of electrical energy. Your APPLEGATE inspection will check the current condition of the home's breakers and/or fuses. Older fuse systems sometimes will need replacement simply due to age or limited capacity.
Switches and Junction Boxes
We will examine lighting throughout the house – both indoor and outdoor. Do the light switches and the doorbell work? Are ceiling fixtures an outdoor fixtures operating as designed? In addition, the we will examine whether plugs are grounded, and if applicable, whether appliances – especially major energy users like the stove, fridge, or washer/dryer – are functioning.
We will look at electrical wiring to make sure the wires aren't showing signs of cracking or aging that could spark fires and check for improper wiring and issues with wiring where visible in the home. Many buyers of older homes learn that their electrical system needs to be updated – possibly as a contingency in the sale or for a reduction in the price of their homeowners' insurance premium.
Receptacle and Service Ground
Our inspection will verify the current condition of electrical circuitry within the home, and whether the home has all grounded circuits or a combination, which is common in older homes, or no grounded circuits. Your APPLEGATE inspection will also verify the current main grounding method and bonding if visible, as well as the current condition of electrical service leading into the home.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a device to protect against electrical shock. GFCIs are commonly installed in areas within a home where electricity has the possibility of coming in contact with water, specifically in kitchen, bathroom, laundry and garage areas, as well as outdoors. We will check these areas to make sure the home is equipped with GFCIs in appropriate areas. Requirements for GFCIs depend on the year in which the home was built.
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI)
Arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are electrical devices designed to protect against fires caused by arcing faults in the home electrical wiring. Our inspection will check these areas to make sure the home is equipped with AFCIs in appropriate areas if your home. As of 2002, AFCIs are required to protect branch circuits that serve residential bedrooms. These areas of the house have been identified as the source of many electrical arc related fires. The AFCI circuit breaker serves a dual purpose – not only will it shut off electricity in the event of an “arcing fault”, but it will also trip when a short circuit or an overload occurs. The AFCI circuit breaker provides protection for the branch circuit wiring and limited protection for power cords and extension cords.