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- Outdated breaker box: Older breaker panels or boxes can be so outdated that they no longer meet local building codes.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.
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