Electrical Problems To Look For When Buying a New House

Buying a new home is never an easy endeavor. When you start your search, you focus on the big things like location, square footage, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and other amenities. As you get closer to making an offer, you’ll also want to look closely at all the components in the home, especially the HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems. There are many visible signs you can look for, and if you find a need, a reputable mechanical contractor can identify other problems that may be hiding under the surface.

Obvious Electrical Problems in Homes

Most of us aren’t well-versed in electric systems or whether our home is wired correctly. There are a few obvious signs that the wiring in a home may be incorrectly installed or damaged in some way. Any time you notice any of the following while touring a home you are interested in, report it to the realtor or ask to have the home inspected for electrical issues.

  • Flickering lights
  • Buzzing sounds
  • Strange odors
  • Ungrounded (two-hole) outlets
  • Cracked or burnt outlets
  • Exposed wiring
  • Too few outlets
  • No GFCI outlets near sinks
  • Homeowner finished basement
  • House is being flipped

Common Signs of Electrical Issues

Electrical problems take many forms. Some are easily seen, while others may be buried in the recesses of your home. If you are observant, however, you may be able to uncover a few problems that your realtor has overlooked. In many cases, if they aren’t looking for them, they won’t see them.

  • Outlets or cords that are warm to the touch: Touch a few random outlets with something plugged into them. If they are warm or hot to the touch, notify the realtor.
  • Fixtures that overheat: Fixtures can overheat just like outlets. Ceiling fans, especially, have wires that can sometimes work their way loose due to the constant movement.
  • Outdated breaker box: Older breaker panels or boxes can be so outdated that they no longer meet local building codes. If you find this in a house you are interested in, ask to have it replaced before you agree to purchase the home.
  • Old or damaged wiring: Old or damaged wiring is a fire hazard. However, these issues may be something you can’t see. If you are concerned, ask if you can look at the breaker panel. Repairs to these faulty wires should be made before purchasing the home.
  • Sparks or arcs: If you flip a switch or plug something in and see a spark, it’s essential to let the realtor know. These sparks could lead to an electrical fire.

Ready for an Upgrade?

For ALL of Your Residential or Commercial Electrical Needs, Call Westphal & Co!

No matter the job, big or small, the professionals at Westphal Electric will be happy to discuss your project and answer any questions or concerns you may have. We offer free in-home consultations, plus an after-hours and emergency phone line for advice or service!

Do I Need to Upgrade My Electric Service for My Electric Vehicle Charger?

As homeowners and businesses prepare for a wave of new electric vehicles to hit the market, many are wondering if their current electrical service will be enough to support their charging requirements into the future. It’s a great question to ask before purchasing an EV or a new fleet for your business. Let’s look at the factors that go into determining if your electric service and panel are ready to accommodate the additional load.

Factors To Consider For Your EV Charger

There are two things to consider to know if your existing service panel will handle the load of your EV charger: your existing service size and your household electrical load.

What Is Your Existing Service Size?

Determine what your service size is first and foremost. If you have 200 amp service, your home is likely prepared for an EV charger install, as long as your existing panel has enough space for a dedicated line for a level 2 charger. If you have enough amperage, but not enough space in the panel, a sub-panel may need to be installed for the electric vehicle charger installation. An electrician will be able to survey your service and determine if you have the space, which more than likely is the case.

If you have a 60 amp panel, you will not be able to add an EV charger to your home. This amperage will not be sufficient enough to run your appliances and handle the car charger, so upgrading to a 200 amp service at this point would be recommended.

If you have a 100 amp service and your electrical panel’s amperage is at capacity, you will need to a service panel upgrade from 100 amp to 200 amp.

If you have a 100 amp service and you have enough amperage, it still may be suggested to upgrade your service from 100 amp to 200 amp depending on your electrical appliance load.

What Is Your Electrical Load In Your House Like?

An EV level 2 charger can quickly utilize the majority of a 100 amp service to charge a vehicle (Tesla batteries require 24-42 amps). So, if your appliances are electric, you may experience light dimming and flickering, nuisance breaker trips, etc. from the high electric load while your electric vehicle is charging on a 100 amp service. This is especially important for future considerations like an additional household electric vehicle or to accommodate visitor EVs.

Do I Need a Service Panel Upgrade?

In conclusion, a 200 amp service is best for installing a home electric vehicle charger. It’s certainly feasible to install a charger on a 100 amp service, but you still may be pressing the limits of amperage your house can handle while charging your EV and running other things. The average home built more than 20 years ago will have a 100 amp service (if not a 60 amp). Today, new homes are built to code with a 200 amp service to meet the needs of the average home today.

Contact Us for EV Charger Installation

If you’re ready to install a charger for your electric car or hybrid car, our residential electricians at Westphal & Co. are here to help. We can help you choose the right location for your car charger — an important decision, since it’s a permanent fixture. We can let you know if you need to upgrade your home’s electrical system, and we can provide you with whole-house surge protection to protect not only your EV, but all the electrical components in your home.

Contact us today for safe, reliable installation of your charger in the MadisonMilwaukeeJanesville, or Dubuque areas.

Westphal a part of the 50-megawatt Bear Creek Solar Project in Richland County

Alliant Energy officially announced that a solar site in Richland County is now operational, ahead of an economic boost to the surrounding area. The 50-MW Bear Creek Solar Project will generate enough electricity to power 13,000 homes. Westphal participated in the installation of approximately 120,000 panels, the first of 12 planned large-scale solar energy sites by Alliant Energy.

In addition to this site producing clean solar energy to power homes and businesses, Richland County and the town of Buena Vista will receive an estimated $200,000 in combined shared revenue payments annually for the next 30 years through the state’s shared revenue program.

“Across Wisconsin, Alliant Energy is working with families, farmers, businesses and communities to develop renewable energy projects both big and small,” said David de Leon, president of Alliant Energy. “This project is an incredible milestone for our customers. Guided by our purpose-driven strategy to serve customers and build stronger communities, this solar farm diversifies our energy portfolio, boosts American energy independence and increases access to affordable electricity.”

To learn more about this project, please visit the following articles:

Solar Power World: Alliant Energy completes 50-MW union-built solar project in Wisconsin 

NBC15: Alliant Energy to generate solar energy, revenue in Richland Co.

Channel 3000: Richland County solar project capable of powering 13K homes per day