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Electrical System

  • Remember that electricity can kill you!! Do not remove any electrical panel covers unless you are a licensed electrician!! Do not pull out the main disconnect box or touch any cartridge fuses if you can't see their rating number!!  Before touching the main panel or any sub-panels check them with a voltage tester to make sure that they are not electrified. Do not go near any exposed wiring or any electrical panels or wiring if there is water on the floor. Water and electricity don't mix!!
  • The electrical system service entrance line is located ___________________________________________. There are (y/n)__________ tree branches touching the electrical lines and equipment. All tree branches near the lines and equipment can cause damage and should be pruned away for safety.
  • The electrical service entrance head is in (G/A/F/P)_______________________ condition. There were (y/n)__________ signs of excessive rust or corrosion on the areas that are visible to the inspector.
  • There was (y/n)__________ a drip loop on the electrical lines before they enter the service entrance head. A "drip loop " is created by slack in the wiring in a "U" shape. This helps prevent rainwater from following the electrical lines down into the main panel.
  • There are (#)_______________ service entrance lines going into the house. Two service entrance lines indicate that there is 110 volts inside. A 110 volt electrical system will usually only have a maximum of 30-60 amps of electrical service in the main panel. Three service entrance lines indicate that there is 220 volts inside. A 220 volt electrical system can have up to 200 amp electrical service in the main panel.
  • The exposed electrical service lines from the service entrance head to the main electrical panel were (y/n)__________ enclosed in a conduit. A "conduit" is a covering to protect the electrical lines from the weather and damage. The conduit is in (G/A/F/P)_______________ condition and there were (y/n)__________ signs of cracked or open areas and/or joints that are not sealed properly.
  • The electrical meter is located ___________________________________________. When the meter is located on the exterior, then the utility company can take a reading without having to enter the house.
  • The main electrical panel is located _______________________________________________. There were (y/n)__________ signs of excessive rust or corrosion on the main electrical panel. Any sign of excessive rust or corrosion requires a licensed electrician to properly evaluate the electrical system for safety. The main electrical panel is (y/n)__________ installed on the wall securely. There are (y/n)__________ hazardous conditions around the panel, such as, potential water, objects in the way, the panel being too high to reach safely, etc.
  • There are (y/n)__________ sub-panels noted. "Sub-panels" are small electrical panels that branch off from the main electrical panel. The purpose of sub‑panels is to prevent very long branch circuit runs in the house.
  • The electrical system has (circuit breakers/fuses)____________________________ for the branch circuits. The inspector cannot turn any circuit breakers off or on or replace any fuses, for safety reasons. There are (y/n)__________ tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses in the main electrical panel and/or sub-panels. Any "tripped" circuit breakers or "blown" fuses indicate a problem that must be evaluated by a licensed electrician.
  • All circuits are (y/n)__________ marked to indicate where each branch circuit leads to. This is a convenience and safety feature. The markings will assist the homeowner in turning off individual branch circuits in case of an emergency or if repairs are needed. There is no way for the inspector to determine if the circuits are properly marked for the exact location in the house for their corresponding branch lines.
  • There are (y/n)__________ open circuit breaker or fuse slots in the main panel and/or sub-panels. Open slots need to be covered with "blanks" or spare circuit breakers or fuses. This will prevent anyone from sticking their fingers or any objects inside the electrical panel and getting electrocuted.
  • There is (y/n)__________ room in the main panel for additional branch circuits. Any unused circuits will generally allow the homeowner to expand the system by adding more branch circuits directly from the main panel without having to install sub-panels.
  • The main electrical disconnect is located _____________________________________. This will shut off all of the electrical current leading into the house from the main panel. The main disconnect is (y/n)__________ installed at a safe height that is readily accessible. The main disconnect should be at least 30 inches above the ground and no more than 7 feet high for safety. This will enable it to be safely turned off in case of an emergency.
  • The amperage for the electrical system is determined to be (#)__________ amps. The National Electrical Code, (NEC), recommends that the minimum amperage be 100 amps for a residential property. The main disconnect switch does (y/n)__________ have a visible amperage rating number. The main electrical panel does (y/n)__________ have a visible amperage rating number. The service entrance lines are (y/n)__________ visible to be viewed for the voltage capacity leading into the house. All three of these indicators must be visible to the inspector to accurately determine the amperage of the electrical system.
  • The electrical grounding wire is (y/n)__________ installed properly and attached to (water main/grounding rod)_______________________________________________. There are (y/n)__________ signs of excessive rust or corrosion that require repairs by a licensed electrician. It is extremely important that the electrical system be grounded to a properly working grounding cable that is attached to the water main line or a grounding rod that extends at least 10 feet into the soil. The grounding wire and clamps must be checked periodically and must not be disconnected or rusty. The purpose of this is to ground the electrical system for safety.
  • There are (y/n)__________ signs of loose and/or exposed electrical wiring. There are (y/n)__________ signs of loose electrical switches and outlets that need to be secured. Any loose and/or exposed wiring, switches and outlets must be secured by a licensed electrician to prevent any electrical hazards.
  • There are (y/n)__________ signs of "do-it-yourself" or unprofessional electrical work. All electrical repairs must be performed by a licensed electrician and all valid permits and building department approvals must be obtained for any work performed.
  • The outlets and switches are (y/n)__________ reachable from the bathroom tubs or showers. As a safety precaution the outlets and switches in the bathroom must not be reachable from the tub or shower. Remember that water and electricity do not mix!!
  • A limited electrical outlet tester was used to spot check the outlets for proper wiring and current. There are (y/n)_________ outlets noted with improper wiring and/or grounding. Improper wiring can be caused by having the hot and neutral wires reversed in the back of the outlet or a false ground wire. Outlets with these conditions may still provide electrical current but they are an electrical safety hazard and must be repaired by a licensed electrician.
  • There are (y/n)__________ two pronged outlets noted that must be upgraded to modern three pronged outlets by a licensed electrician. Older houses will have two pronged outlets as opposed to the modern three pronged type. The third prong is used for the grounding prong in electrical cord plugs. The purpose of this grounding prong is that most appliances today have an internal ground for electrical safety reasons.
  • There are (y/n)__________ properly operating Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters, (GFCI), noted in some of the outlets and/or in the electrical panel. A "GFCI " is an electronic device that will "trip" (turn off) the circuit when it senses a potentially hazardous condition. It is very sensitive and operates very quickly. The quick response time in interrupting the power is fast enough to prevent injury to anyone in normal health. GFCI's are recommended by the National Electric Code to be installed anywhere near water for safety. Such water prone areas are basements, garages, kitchens, bathrooms and all exterior outlets.
  • There are (y/n)__________ an adequate number of electrical outlets noted. There were (y/n)__________ electrical extension cords in use at the time of the inspection. The NEC recommends that houses have an outlet for every 6 feet of horizontal wall space. This is because most appliances come with 6 foot electrical cords and if there are not enough outlets, then the homeowner will have to use extension cords. Extension cord wiring is not recommended because of the possibility of someone plugging an appliance into a low amperage rated extension cord. This will cause the extension cord wire to overheat and start an electrical fire.
  • It is highly recommended that the homeowner install child proof electrical outlet caps if there are any children in the house. These are small plastic plugs to cover any unused outlets so a child will not stick anything into the outlets and get electrocuted.

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