A home's electrical system is complex, and your WIN Inspector will review the visible components of the system for safety and any issues needing evaluation by a licensed electrician.
Electrical systems over thirty years old should be completely evaluated by a qualified and licensed electrician for issues beyond the scope of the inspection completed by your WIN Inspector.
Electrical: Service Size/Panel to Structure
Your WIN inspector will identify the size of electrical service (amps/volts) within the home and assess its installation, current condition, and any associated safety issues.
The visible wiring type(s) for powering the home will be inspected and reported. While copper and multi-conductor aluminum are the most common wire types found in the modern homes, some older homes are powered with solid conductor aluminum which may present a fire hazard over time due to inadequate connections.
Electrical: Panel/Sub Panel
A home's electrical panel(s) or fuse box contains the circuit breakers or fuses that protect the wiring and end-user devices in the home. Your WIN inspector will review the breaker panel/fuse box for appropriate configuration and advise of adverse conditions such as damaged or known problematic components.
Electrical: Breaker Configuration
Your WIN inspector will evaluate the current configuration of breakers or fuses and wire size in order to verify that the wire size is appropriate for the current load acceptable to the breaker or fuse size. Inappropriate breaker or fuse to wire size may result in overheating of wiring and possible fire.
Electrical: Plugs, Switches and Junction Boxes
Your WIN inspector will examine the permanent lighting throughout the house – both indoor and outdoor. In addition, your WIN Inspector will examine whether outlets appear to be properly grounded.
Your WIN inspector will review the visibly accessible electrical wiring to make sure the wires aren't showing signs of cracking, overheating or aging that present a shock hazard or an environment conducive to a fire risk.
Electrical: Receptacle and Service Ground
Your WIN inspector will verify the current condition of the accessible electrical outlets within the home to determine if they appear to be grounded. Older homes had two wire systems without grounds. In these homes, it is not uncommon to find a combination of grounded and un-grounded outlets. Your WIN inspector 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.
Electrical: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a device designed 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. Your WIN inspector will check these areas to make sure the home is equipped with GFCIs in appropriate areas. Requirements for GFCIs depend on the year and location when the home was built.
Electrical: 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. As of 2002, in most areas of the country, AFCIs have been required to protect branch circuits that serve residential bedroom wall receptacles, ceiling lights/fans, and hardwired smoke detectors. The requirements for AFCI’s in new construction and remodeling continue to change and may vary by local jurisdiction. These areas of the house have been identified as the source of many electrical arc related fires by both fire and code officials. Your WIN Inspector will identify the presence or lack of AFCI’s and their operation based on the manufacturer’s testing procedures if possible.
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.