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    Electrical Checklist for Buying a House

    Electrical Checklist for Buying a House

    November 1, 2018

    electrical checklist for buying a house

    Buying a new home can be one of the most exciting purchases of your lifetime. But if you overlook basic necessities for the electrical system, you could end up losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars on electrical repairs.

    At 24/7 Electric, we want to help arm our customers with information about electrical systems before they invest in a house. We compiled this electrical checklist for buying a house to help you scope out any potential problems before you make an offer. Look for any suspicious components to the electrical panel, wiring, outlets, or fixtures. We always recommend hiring a professional for a thorough electrical inspection prior to settling on a price.

    1. Electrical Panel

    The electrical panel is the first thing that will give you much-needed information about the age and durability of your potential new home’s electrical system. If the home has a fuse box instead of a circuit breaker, that is a sure sign the wiring is older.

    Another thing to note is the size and capacity for the panel. Older homes typically have 60-amp or 100-amp panels, whereas most modern homes are built with 200-amp panels. Find out the capacity for this electrical panel. Ask if it would be possible to expand it to accommodate more modern appliances.

    Last but not least, find out the age of the electrical panel. Most electrical panels last around 30 years before they need to be replaced.

    2. Electrical Wiring

    Is the home you want to buy more than 30 years old? Did you notice any signs of an older electrical system when you looked at the panel? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you should find out more about the wiring.

    Many older homes have copper wiring rather than aluminum wiring. Copper wiring is less durable and can even become a fire hazard. Some homes have a combination of both copper and aluminum wiring, which is extremely dangerous. The two metals conduct electricity differently and they should never be used together in electrical wiring.

    If you have reason to suspect the wiring in a home is outdated, do not ignore your intuition. Schedule a professional electrical inspection before making an offer. Replacing electrical wiring throughout an entire house is an expensive project that should affect the overall value of the house.

    3. Outlets

    While dated light fixtures are more likely to be a cosmetic concern, dated outlets can be downright dangerous. Modern electrical codes require all outlets near water sources to be Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets.

    GFCI outlets are designed to cut off power from the source any time they detect an unbalanced current. This protects your devices from power surges during storms and protects you from electrocution. If your device comes into contact with water, a GFCI outlet will detect this disruption in the current and cut off power. Look to see if the outlets in your potential new home do not have “test” and “reset” buttons or three prong holes. If not, it is time to replace them. Factor that information into your offer.

    We hope this electrical checklist for buying a house helps you make informed purchasing decisions.

    If you are interested in buying a new house or selling your old one and need to schedule an electrical inspection from a licensed professional, you can count on 24/7 Electric.

    If you need a licensed and qualified electrician in Calgary, call 24/7 Electric! 587-315-1361 for a Calgary Electrician, or complete our online request form.