Kansas City Electrical Inspectors | Expert Electrical Inspections
The Electrical Inspection
A good electrical inspection requires experience.
Because alot has changed during the last 150 years, including:
- Building materials
- Building standards
- Home construction
- Wiring conventions
- Wiring materials
- Wiring components
Not to mention some of these materials contain hazards NOT JUST from the way they were used back then, but because now they’re old, outdated, and brittle.
And they are totally different:
A proper electrical inspection also:
1. Establishes service size
2. Anticipates what can go wrong
3. Knows when things go wrong
4. Tests electrical components
5. Finds electrical glitches
And it starts outside the home.
1. THE ELECTRICAL INSPECTION OUTSIDE THE HOME.
The electrical systems inspection starts outside the home at the pole or service lateral.
The pole is checked, the service cable is inspected for clearances and damage, and the service mast is studied for movement.
Then the service cables are inspected for size and make sure they’re attached to the house, and undamaged.
The electrical service meter is also checked for size, it’s sealed to siding, and not pulling away from home.
THE SERVICE LATERAL:
If there is no pole, the service cables connect to the electrical service meter through a large plastic pipe that comes up from the ground. This is checked for size, damage, cracks, and movement.
Exterior outlets are also checked for GFCI protection.
Your Home’s Electrical Service Size
Some folks look at the main circuit breaker and call it quits.
They think the number on the main breaker is the size of the home’s electrical service.
If only life were that simple.
I mean, what if your panel DOESN’T even have a main breaker?
Well, there are 5 things that play a part in figuring the size of your home’s electrical service.
And the SMALLEST rating of these 5 will be the lucky winner of the chicken dinner:
- Service cables
- Service conduit
- Service meter
- Main panel
- Main breaker
Think of it like a bottleneck:
- Service cable = 60-amp
- Service conduit = 100+ amp
- Service meter = 200-amp
- Main panel = 100-amp
- Main breaker = 200-amp
Your home’s service size = 60-amps
Then the electrical inspection continues inside the home.
2. THE ELECTRICAL INSPECTION INSIDE THE HOME.
Once inside, the electrical systems inspection starts in the attic and continues to the basement where open junction boxes and exposed spliced wiring is common.
Throughout the home, every accessible outlet, light, and switch are tested for safe and proper operation.
Common Electrical Issues Found Inside Every Home
- Ungrounded 3-prong outlets
- Loose outlets and switches
- Missing outlet covers
- Bad 3-way switches
- More than one GFCI outlet on a circuit
- Lights on on GFCI circuit
- Appliances on GFCI circuit
- Garage door openers on GFCI circuit
The garage, bathrooms, kitchen, and basement outlets are also checked for GFCI protection.
Finally, the main electrical panel is inspected.
Inspecting The Main Electrical Panel
- Safety First
- Not standing in water
- Not arcing, buzzing, or hot
- Clear space
- Panel size
- Circuit breakers
- No rust
- Correct wiring
- No water or rust
- Not inside bathroom or closet
- Correct screws
- No nicked, cut, pinched, or punctured wires
- Service cables size
- Main breaker size
Ideally, the panel cover is removed so the interior can be checked for moisture, rust, and corrosion.
Next, we jot down the type of panel installed then check the condition of the circuit breakers and wiring.
If the panel is known to be unsafe or recalled, we’ll check for any unsafe conditions and past problems.
If there are any sub-panels, they’re also inspected to make sure they’re wired properly (sub panels are wired differently than main panels).
A NOTE ABOUT ‘GRANDFATHERING’.
A grandfather clause, also known as a grandfather policy, grandfathering, or grandfathered in, is a provision that states certain NEW RULES DO NOT APPLY OR MAY SUPERCEDE THE ORIGINAL RULES that were in place when the home was built.
In the case of a home’s electrical system, if it remains original and untampered, code updates cannot be required or enforced when they happen.
Worthwhile safety upgrades may be discussed and possibly recommended during the electrical inspection, but no enforcement can take place so long as it remains locked in the time capsule of when it was built.
However, if the home ever needs work that requires a building permit, that work will be subject to the current building codes ALONG WITH any other support systems or components affected by it.
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