Owning a home is an important stage in an individual’s life. Home is the place where one finds solace and peace after an exhausting day. It is a haven where a family lives for years.
But your own home can become life-threatening because of your lack of awareness and carelessness!
Whenever we decide to buy a home, we always look for the number of bedrooms, size of the closets, hospitable surroundings and ample sunlight. We recklessly overlook the electrical health of our future home and this is the first step towards D-day.
According to a survey by Electrical Safety First 67% of the households blatantly forget to check their wiring and appliances. The National Fire Protection Agency in its 2017 report claimed that outdated power transfer equipment, lighting, and electrical distribution were the main culprits in 57% of domestic fires.
Usual home inspections often neglect a detailed electrical inspection. If a house is more than 40 years old or if you add major appliances to a house in 10 years then the house needs a thorough electrical review as per the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).
If you’re experiencing sky-rocketing electricity bills, flickering lights or malfunctioning appliances then its high time that you get an Electrical Installation Condition Report before buying your dream home.
You can assess the electrical health of your home based on the following parameters.
1) ELECTRICAL SERVICE PANEL
This panel contains fuses and circuit breakers and is generally located outside the main building.
This panel is the heart and soul of your home’s electrical system and it needs a regular inspection for the depreciation of its components and rust.
If you observe that the panel has primitive fuses immediately ask for a replacement with MCB OR RCCB. If the panel shows any signs of rust, replace it as well.
Ask your electrician if there is any ‘double tapping’ of energized wires in one circuit breaker. If any, resolve immediately.
Always ensure if you’re panel is missing knockouts. If your home has a Federal Pacific Breaker panel, remove it ASAP as studies show that one in four of them is defective.
Observe if the electrical panel has more than one neutral wire in a slot as it might cause the wire to slip out and might cause short-circuits.
2) PROPER PROVISIONS FOR EARTHING
Earthing joins parts of the electrical system to the ground. It is vital for avoiding electric shocks and helps in diminishing the depreciation of electric appliances by blocking the run of excessive current in the circuit.
Check for ungrounded three-prong plugs in our home. Houses built around the 60s have a two-wire system, without any ground wire. Buy a house with a proper earthing system.
Scrutinize about any reverse polarity in your home (mixing up of hot, neutral and ground slots) as it is severely harmful to your appliances.
Wires are the one that lights up your home and they are the most vulnerable to wear and tear.
Look for exposed or intertwined wires or an open junction box. Immediately rectify this issue by covering the wires to avoid physical damage.
If your house has Knob-and-tube wiring then you probably bought a century-old house. These have no ground wire and no provision of protection from a fault.
Some homes have aluminum wires that deteriorate faster than copper wires and may cause overheating. Always buy a house with copper wiring as it gives your appliances a longer life span.
Inquire with your electrician if the house needs a total rewiring in case of old wires.
If so, you can go for bulk wires for rewiring your home.
Outlets in wet areas like kitchen, bathrooms should have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) or else your electrical appliances will malfunction or even catch fire.
In these areas, light switches should be located away from any liquid to prevent electric shock.
Visually inspect if light switches, inspection cord, and other outlets are working or not. Carry your phone charger to test the condition of these outlets during home-walks.
Check if you’re appliance cords fit comfortably into a socket and immediately troubleshoot a loose or outdated outlet.
Also, oversee that your electrician checks for any humming sound or signs of fire inside a socket.
5) ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES
Many houses today come pre-installed with several appliances like dishwasher, refrigerators, etc and it is indispensable to properly inspect their health and working.
The dishwasher might take longer to inspect correctly. Check if the door moves smoothly and if the seals are tight. Look for water leaks or any other sign of corrosion or rust. Make sure the pump runs effectively and observe any loss of water during the cleaning process.
Refrigerators are pivotal in keeping the food safe to eat and an obsolete fridge is an invitation to diseases.
Check if the cooler and other compartments are working to their full capacity. If there are signs of rust or lose seals, ask for a replacement.
Washer and Dryer are extremely important appliances and are equally prone to fire hazards.
Observe any unusual build-up of lint and check if the exhaust fan is operating smoothly. If the washer leads to any water leakage then remove it to avert electrical fires.
Buying a home is a milestone for many people. Proper inspections are pivotal in ensuring that by buying a house you’re not walking into the devil’s home. Routine inspections often overlook the electrical condition of a house. Outdated electrical systems can lead to fires and physical damage. It is imperative to thoroughly check your future house for worn-out wires, rusty panels, and obsolete appliances in order to get a home-like feeling from your new house.