Common Electrical Issues for a Calgary Home Inspection
Home inspections are crucial, and electrical issues are one of the most common problems found during an inspection. Among the different aspects of home inspection, electrical issues are of the utmost importance since it involves the life and safety of the occupants. Here are some of the common electrical issues that may be found in a home inspection in Calgary.
- Overloaded circuits occur when too many appliances are connected to a single circuit. It can cause the circuit to trip and result in a power outage. Overloaded circuits can also cause overheating, which can lead to electrical fires. This is most commonly due to the electrical system not being updated over time to continually meet modern electrical demands.
Outdated Electrical Panels
- Similarly, older homes may have outdated electrical panels that cannot handle the electrical load of modern appliances. Which can lead to the use of overloaded circuits mentioned previously. Outdated panels may also pose a safety hazard since they may not meet current electrical codes.
- Faulty wiring is a serious issue that can cause electrical shocks and fires. It can occur due to improper installation or old age. Frayed wires, damaged insulation, and exposed wires are signs of faulty wiring.
Non-Functioning Outlets and Switches
- Non-functioning outlets and switches are a common issue found during a home inspection. They may indicate faulty wiring or a tripped circuit. It’s essential to address them since they can cause inconvenience and pose a safety hazard.
- Proper grounding is essential for the safety of the occupants. Improper grounding can cause electrical shocks and fires. It may occur due to faulty wiring, improper installation, or old age of the electrical system. Of equal concern would be discovering a grounding conductor has been disconnected.
Electrical Code Violations
- Electrical code violations are a common issue found during inspection of an older home. While inspectors are not code enforcement officials we do identify safety violations such as improper wiring, lack of GFCI outlets in wet areas, exposed wiring, and overloaded circuits that fall short of modern standards. While these may not have been issues at the time of original install, and old standards may have been grandfathered in, it does not mean these conditions are safe. These violations should ideally be addressed as they can cause electrical fires and pose a safety hazard.
unsafe electrical systems
- Unsafe electrical systems are those that pose a threat to the occupants’ safety. These systems include ungrounded outlets, overloaded circuits, exposed wiring, and outdated electrical panels. Unsafe electrical systems need immediate attention to prevent accidents and injuries.
- Rodent damage to the electrical system can cause electrical shorts and fires. It’s another common issue found in older homes and requires immediate attention to prevent damage to the electrical system and the property. Rodent damage to the electrical system can be identified by the presence of chewed wires or components, droppings, or urine stains.
ALUMINUM BRANCH CONDUCTOR WIRING
Aluminum branch conductor wiring was commonly used in homes built in Calgary during the late 1960s to the early 1970s due to the rising cost of copper. However, it was later discovered that aluminum wiring is prone to oxidation, which can cause the wiring to overheat, leading to a potential fire hazard.
The main issue with aluminum branch conductor wiring is that it expands and contracts with temperature changes more than copper wiring, which can cause the wire connections to become loose over time. Loose connections can lead to arcing, which can cause sparks and a potential fire.
If a home inspector identifies aluminum wiring they will recommend having the electrical system inspected by a licensed electrician to determine if remedial action is required.
Interconnected smoke alarms
- Modern building practices require interconnected smoke alarms, which means that all smoke alarms in a home are wired together so that if one alarm is triggered, all alarms will sound. This is a crucial safety feature because it ensures that everyone in the home is alerted to the presence of smoke or fire, regardless of where they are in the house.Smoke alarms that are not hard-wired and interconnected are less desirable because they rely on the occupants to hear the alarm in the room where it is installed. If a fire starts in a different area of the house, occupants in other rooms may not hear the alarm, putting them at risk.
Again, while traditional battery or wired, but not interconnected smoke detectors are still effective they still have room to be improved upon by implementing more current standards.
How to Address Common Electrical Issues
- It’s not recommended to inspect the electrical system of the house yourself since it involves safety hazards. It’s essential to hire a licensed professional to inspect the electrical system and identify any issues. Here are some ways to address the common electrical issues found during a home inspection in Calgary:
Hire a licensed electrician
- Hiring a licensed electrician to address the electrical issues found during a home inspection is the most effective solution. Licensed electricians have the expertise and experience to address electrical issues safely, efficiently and effectively.
Replace Outdated Electrical Panels
- If the home’s electrical panel is outdated and cannot handle the electrical load of modern appliances, it needs to be replaced. Hire a licensed electrician to upgrade the electrical panel and ensure it meets current electrical codes.
Address Non-Functioning Outlets and Switches
Non-functioning outlets and switches need to be addressed to prevent inconvenience and safety hazards. It may require rewiring, replacement of outlets or switches, or addressing the underlying electrical issue.
- Improper grounding needs to be addressed to prevent electrical shocks and fires. It may require rewiring, installation of new grounding rods, or upgrading the electrical system.
Upgrade to Modern Electrical Codes
- Electrical standards have been modernized to ensure the safety of the occupants. Upgrading the electrical system to meet current electrical codes may require rewiring, installation of new outlets or switches.
Repair Unsafe Electrical Systems
- Unsafe electrical systems need to be repaired to prevent accidents and injuries. Active electrical systems that are deemed to be unsafe should be addressed immediately. It may require rewiring, installation of new outlets or switches, or upgrading the electrical system.
Address Rodent Damage
- Rodent damage to the electrical system needs to be addressed to prevent electrical shorts and fires. It may require rewiring, replacement of damaged wiring or components, or addressing the underlying rodent issue.
- Electrical issues are among the most popular problems found during a home inspection in Calgary. Addressing these common electrical issues is essential to ensure the safety of the occupants and prevent damage to the property. It’s crucial to hire a licensed electrician to resolve electrical issues safely, efficiently and effectively.