First, the home inspector should determine the size of the service to determine if it meets current standards; bringing an upgraded electrical service into a home can cost one thousand dollars. The electrical system should then be checked by removing the cover from the electric service panel. Once the wiring is exposed, be sure that the home inspection engineer looks for problems in the panel such as burned wiring, overfused circuits (the fuse or circuit breaker is too large for the wire size), improper wiring connections, openings in the panel (where a child can put their finger into the panel, ouch!), home owner installed wiring, etc. In addition to checking for an adequate quantity of electrical switches and convenience outlets in the house, the outlets should be checked for open ground and wiring reversal conditions. Throughout the house, dead ended wiring and exposed wiring should be on the list of defects to look for. Homes wired in the mid 60’s to mid 70’s may have aluminum wiring and if so, the engineer should determine if an approved retrofit has been installed at the wiring connections; if not, a potential fire safety hazard exists. If the home is very old, it may have knob and tube wiring, this is ancient wiring and may be hazardous. Extensive wiring replacement can cost thousands of dollars.
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