Common Electrical Defects Found in Colorado Springs Home Inspections

Submitted by SteveWillis on Tue, 07/12/2016 - 13:14


Due to local building department regulations, licensed electrical contractors must be hired to install electrical systems in new homes. A county or municipal building inspector then must come in to verify the professional electrician’s work and verify it for code-compliance.


With multiple sets of well-trained eyes carefully checking all wiring, any owner of a brand new home should feel reasonably confident about their electrical system on the day they move in. While that system should be in peak condition on day one, what state is it in 5, 10, 15 or more years down the line when the homeowner decides to sell their property?


As a Colorado Springs home inspector, I can tell you that electrical systems often degrade faster than homeowners expect. There are usually two reasons for the decline in condition: 1) obsolescence or failure of components due to aging, and 2) faulty repair/addition work performed by handymen or homeowners.


I don’t want surprise electrical issues to derail the plans of home sellers or home buyers. To ensure that you're aware of the most likely wiring problems that could arise, here’s a Top 3 list of electrical defects found in Colorado Springs home inspections.


Double Tapped Circuit Breakers


When two wires (conductors) connect under a single circuit breaker lug (screw), or two wires connect under the same lug at a neutral bar, this is referred to by many as a “double tapped” breaker.


If your circuit breaker is not configured to accommodate two conductors, the wires could loosen in the future. Even if they feel tight right now, if they were to become loose that could lead to arcing, overheating, and an increased risk for fire.


Incorrectly Wired Receptacles


Modern electrical outlets have three wires connected to them: ground (bare copper), neutral (white), and hot (black). Amateur handymen and do-it-yourselfers often make mistakes with these wires in their rush to finish projects.


Ungrounded 3-slot receptacles are a very common issue. In recent decades, many homeowners updated their receptacles from 2-prong to 3-prong (due to National Electric Code regulations set in 1960). Unfortunately, that third prong is often a ground wire connected to nothing, which can be a bigger threat than most homeowners realize.


Open Splices and Electrical Boxes


A wire splice is considered “open” when the two connected wires are not protected within a fire-resistant box. An “open” box doesn’t have a cover plate acting as a seal. Usually, a box is left open because there are too many wires jammed into a small space and they won’t fit if the box is closed.


These are just three examples of the most common electrical defects found in Colorado Springs home inspections. Too few receptacles, unprotected electrical cables, and obsolete equipment are also common problems that are found during an inspection.


It’s always smart to be aware of potential electrical issues, but you should never settle for do-it-yourself inspections or repairs when it comes to wiring. If you don’t have the expertise, call in a licensed electrician or home inspector for a thorough check of your system.


Call Steve Willis of Willis Home Inspection at 719-499-3221 today to discuss your inspection needs.

Submitted by SteveWillis on Tue, 07/12/2016 - 13:14