Checkpoint summary


  • Is electrical service provided by underground cables or overhead wires?
  • Are overhead service wires securely fastened to the house?
  • Count the number of service wires. Note that a two-wire service provides only 110 volts, not 220 volts.
  • Inspect inlet service wires for cracked, missing, and frayed sections of insulation.
  • Note overhanging dead tree limbs or branches in contact with service wires.
  • Inspect for exterior-mounted main panel boxes. (Replacement on the interior is recommended.)
  • Check outside electrical outlets for weather protection.
  • Inspect exterior wiring for proper type. It should be marked UF-Sunlight Resistant.
  • Inspect exterior lights and outlets for operation.
  • Note inoperative fixtures or fixtures that are missing, loose, or hanging by wires.


  • Inspect main panel box. Is it a fuse or circuit-breaker type?
  • Is it a Federal Pacific Electric service panel box?
  • Does system contain a main disconnect?
    • Note the following (do not remove the panel cover):
      • Loose or missing cover.
      • Missing knockout plates or fuses.
      • Are there at least two 20-amp appliance circuits?
      • Is there at least one 15-amp lighting circuit for each 500 square feet of floor area?
      • Are there many spare or burned-out fuses present?
    • If panel-box cover is removed by an electrician or an inspector, he should inform you of
      • the amount of service;
      • circuits that are improperly protected (overfused);
      • circuits that have aluminum wiring;
      • evidence of water leakage or corrosion deposits.


  • Inspect electrical system for proper ground protection.
  • If there is a municipal water supply, is the ground wire from the main panel box fastened on the street side of the water meter?
  • Inspect the connection for tightness of fit and corrosion.
  • If the inlet water pipe is plastic (often in a well-pumping system), check on the exterior for a rod or pipe to which the ground wire should be clamped.
  • Note whether the ground wire is missing or has a loose or corroding section.

Interior wiring, outlets/switches, violations

  • Does house contain old or obsolete wiring (i.e., knob-and-tube-type wiring)?
  • Inspect for cracked and open sections of insulation.
    • Inspect wiring in basement and attic areas for
      • loose and hanging sections;
      • extension-cord-type outlets; - open junction boxes;
      • exposed splices;
      • makeshift or nonprofessional alterations.
    • Inspect each room for electrical outlets
      • at least one outlet in the bathroom.
      • at least one outlet per wall for an average size room (10 by 12 feet).
  • Are outlets functioning (electrically hot)?
  • Check for loose outlets, switches, and missing cover plates.
  • Are stairways and hallways adequately lit?
  • Are there three-way switches?
  • Are there outlets in the hallways for night-lights and cleaning equipment?
    • Note violations such as - open splices;
      • fixtures hanging by wires;
      • extension-cord wiring that passes through partitions or around door openings.
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