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Tips from Phoenix Home Inspectors

Would you believe that 115 electrical fires occur each day in the United States! Not to mention shock hazard incidents. Home inspectors across the country report electrical system defects as the most frequently identified problem area. Why is this?

The primary cause of electrical system hazards is work performed by the homeowner or unskilled workmen. When I find such installations the first thing that comes to mind is, “someone has worked here that should be banned for life from the Home Depot electrical department”. Fatalities, personal injury and property destruction can result from alterations to the original electrical system of a building. Rarely will problems occur in an unaltered structure. It’s Harry Homeowner and his Home Depot credit card creating the mayhem. Conditions like exposed splices, reversed-polarity, missing GFCI protection and tampering with aluminum 120 volt wiring can have disastrous results. With a little common sense, and the help of a licensed electrician, we can prevent electrical fires and shock hazards.

GOOD NEWS – A newer and smarter type of circuit breaker has been required in some areas of the home since 2002. It is called an arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) and initially it is mandatory for all circuits serving bedrooms. This new device is able to sense a short causing a surge of electricity or excessive heat buildup in the breaker. The breaker will trip following such an incident and will have to be reset at the electrical panel. Arc-fault breakers are now available throughout the country. We believe they should be installed at circuits serving every living area. They are the same size as a traditional breaker and cost about $25 each. A small price to pay to prevent a fire.

WARNING – NEVER ALLOW ANYONE TO WORK ON THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM OF A PROPERTY WITHOUT AN ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS LICENSE. That includes repair work following an inspection. Also, take the reported electrical system deficiencies very seriously following a home inspection. You may be dealing with the cause of a house fire or electrocution fatality.

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