Electrical Systems – Common Home Inspection Findings
Inexpensive cover plates, that a homeowner can install, on switches, receptacles (outlets), and junction boxes enclose energized components of electrical systems. Installing cover plates is critical to ensure safe operation of electrical systems and prevent shock or electrocution, yet, It is common to find one or several cover plates either missing or damaged.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters GFCI’s are receptacles designed to prevent a person from receiving an electrical shock. GFCIs are commonly installed in electrical systems near sources of water, including, but not limited to, the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, garage and the exterior. To be effective, the GFCI’s must trip when tested, and reset. GFCIs should be evaluated, repaired or replaced by a qualified electrician.
Knockouts are removable sections of an electrical panel. The knockouts can be removed for the installation of breakers, conduit, and wires. If knockouts are removed and the holes are not properly filled with breakers, conduit, wires, and fasteners or covered properly, an individual gaining access to the electrical panel without knowledge of the components inside of the panel could receive a fatal shock. Missing knockouts also provide an entrance for mice and other insects. Rodents and insects could cause major problems inside the electrical panel. Missing knockouts should be repaired or replaced by a qualified electrician.
Following the manufacturer’s specifications and installation instructions ensures electrical systems will operate correctly. Panels and breakers are often labeled as being able to be connected to one or two circuits or conductors. Panels or breakers specified by the manufacturer as only being designed to accommodate one circuit or conductor should only be connected to one wire or conductor. Adding additional conductors increases the potential for an arcing, tripping, overloading, or overheating. Double tapped breakers should be evaluated, repaired or replaced by a qualified electrician.