New Homeowner? Look Out for These 14 Potential Electric Issues
The housing market is hot right now. Homes are selling for a lot more than they would have just two years ago. Today’s market favors sellers. Buyers are so ready to pounce on homes, they’re looking past the red flags. One major consideration when purchasing a new home that you shouldn’t overlook is the home electrical system. Basic home electric may seem like one more utility just like the others, but it’s actually the most important utility in your home. The electrical system keeps everything else running smoothly. Take it from one of the best home electric companies: you don’t want to miss watching out for these issues!
If you’re in the market for an older home or even a brand new estate, you should do a thorough evaluation of the electrical system. If possible, have a licensed electrician do a walkthrough. An experienced electrician is much more likely to spot potential problems.
As a homeowner, you should know the basics of how residential electric systems work. Electrical service is the infrastructure that allows power to flow from the utility company, through the wires and into your home. Your service panel is the main entrance for electricity, a place you can disconnect the service if needed.
Look out for the 14 Most Common Electrical Problems in New Homes
1. Check the infrastructure. How do the poles and wires outside the house look? This will tell you a bit about how well the service infrastructure is maintained. Wires should be at least ten feet above the ground, securely attached to buildings. Wires shouldn’t be in danger of being taken down by trees.
2. This is part of infrastructure but so important that it requires its own number. No wires should be placed over swimming pools. If you see a pool, look up.
3. How does the electric meter on the house look? Is it old? Is the cover fogged up from age? The electric meter is the responsibility of the utility company. Let them know if the meter is in disrepair.
4. Check the quality of the main components of your home’s electrical system, the service entry, service panel and branch circuits. Make sure each of these components is still functional.
5. Make sure your home’s electrical system has the capacity to run everything you plan to run. Especially in older homes, the electrical systems may not be robust enough to handle all of today’s electrical needs. Anything built before 1940 requires an overhaul unless it’s already been completed fairly recently. Even homes built after 1940 will probably require an upgrade.
6. Check that GFCIs have been installed. In modern buildings, receptacles in places where people tend to use water: kitchens, bathrooms, etc., are outfitted with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) that reduce the possibility of electric shock.
7. Also ask about arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCI). These circuit breakers detect the problems in electrical systems that are most likely to cause fires and damage.
8. The service entry is the location where the electrical wires enter the home and meet the service panel. This area should be dry and protected from weather.
9. Either inside or outside the house is a main disconnect. This switch immediately cuts all power to the home. As a homeowner, you should know where this is and how to operate it.
10. Ask about the amperage rating of the main disconnect. The rule of thumb is it should not be less than 60-amps. Ideally, it will be 100 amps or more.
11. Keep an eye out for watermarks and rust near any electrical components. Hasthe damage been painted over or repaired near the electrical components? You need to find out what happened there so you can be prepared if it happens again.
12. Turn all of the circuit breakers on and off to make sure they are working properly. Each circuit breaker should be labeled clearly as to its use.
13. Look for outdated infrastructure such as knob and tube wiring and aluminum wiring. While some knob and tube systems still work, all-aluminum wiring should go.
14. The home should have smoke detectors. When you move into a home, at the very least, check that all smoke alarms work and replace the batteries. We recommend that you install all new smoke alarms.
Home Electric Help for New Home-Owners
If you would like an experienced electrician to do a walk-through of your new home electrical system, call Afton Electric today. Afton Electric is a home electric company specializing in residential electric service, custom electrical projects and home automation. We perform electrical repair, install electric in new construction and also do commercial electrical installation. Afton Electric is New Braunfels-based and serves San Marcos, Comal County and most of the surrounding areas. Contact us today!