As a homeowner or even an apartment renter it is a good idea to have an electrical ‘walk-around’ to check your wiring, electrical outlets and lights at least once a year. Most people make a variety of New Year’s resolutions – and tending to the electrical health of your residence should be one of them! If you make this a January habit that you tie to the turnover of the New Year, then it will be easy to remember. Too, you should catalog the process and outcomes, so you have a point of reference in the future.
What is an electrical walk-around? It is a thorough inspection of the home’s electrical components. It is recommended that you employ a professional to inspect your home. If you live in an apartment, then you may ask to have the maintenance personnel complete the job.
A professional electrician will usually have a pre-made checklist that they will go through with you. It is an excellent idea to follow the electrician throughout the home and watch and learn from them as they complete the inspection. The most common electrical things to be reviewed include the electrical service panel, the wiring, wet area outlets, interior outlets and lighting.
There is an electrical service panel in each residence. It can usually be found on the exterior of the structure. It may also be found in the basement or garage. In an apartment it may be tucked away in a room for easy access. You will find the circuit breakers and fuses on the electric panel. It is important to check them annually to ensure they are not showing signs of age or wear and tear. Service panels or the component parts that look worn or rusty must be replaced. This should be done by a licensed electrician.
A home inspection will include a check of the outlets in each room and identification of any unsafe practices occurring in the home. For instance, some outlets may not be working, while others may have an extension cord with too many appliances plugged into it. The electrical novice is usually unaware of the danger these situations impose. Finally, wet areas are those where water is found such as bathrooms and kitchens. The professional electrician will know how to identify the GFCI – ground fault circuit interrupter – and check that it is working properly.