breaker box

Electrical Systems of Your Home.  Here is what we are looking at...


The Service type.

This is the wiring that is provided by the utility provider to your home. There are two basic types. The overhead version would you have seen coming from telephone poles to the roof or side of your home. And the more common underground, that you cannot see very much of if any.  For the homes with the service drop coming from the telephone pole, you always want to remember most important to keep the vegetation clear. That will get caught up every time as a safety hazard. Also, do you want to make sure to just give it a look and make sure it appears to be 10 feet minimum higher than the yard for safe clearance. One of the other main issues with these are the deteriorated sheathing from our wonderful sun. Many of these issues are repaired at no cost by the utility provider as this is typically all their equipment.


The service Panel.

You just want to give this a once over and make sure it is basically doing its job. It's not separating off the wall or has a damaged door. Also, take a moment and listen. If you ever hear humming coming from your electric panel, it is time to call somebody. This always indicates an issue. I'm sure many of you have seen where the conduit is coming into the service panel and has separated. Most people don't realize that this repair is done by the service provider. Free of charge. Just give them a call.


Breakers in the panel need to be looked over to make sure they are properly installed, not loose, with no discoloration or corrosion. Most of this you would not be able to see without removing the panel. And that's why you have us. Most people have no idea that it's actually a requirement for them to be properly labeled.


Wiring in your panel is observed for proper installation.

This is the number one issue with electric panels. You also want to be sure it's a proper size for the breaker. It's installed for the load it is serving. Older homes had wiring that was covered in cloth that presented a hazard as it aged but on these newer homes have standard nonmetallic sheathed wiring and typically do not have very many issues. Most of our findings are typically related to damaged conductors, loose installation, and placement of wires. These are all things that can lead to safety hazards or just unwanted maintenance.


Aluminum solid strand wire.

If you work with older homes I'm sure this may have been a headache. Let's give a quick explanation of how to keep it from being a headache. Aluminum wiring was used from the 1960s through the mid-1930s and prior to 1972 was known to have many issues.

This can be due to neglected connections, corrosion, and other related conditions.

After 1972 the wiring was much safer and typically acceptable still for use. It is recommended to verify with your insurance company on coverage for solid strands on branch circuit lines and evaluation by a licensed aluminum-certified electrician.

It is important to know to prevent difficult conversations and unwanted headaches typically this can be updated with copper/aluminum pigtail connectors for safety.


Ground wire and connectors.

In your typical home, the plumbing line has your ground line connection. This is the visible clamp and short piece of wire coming out of the house that is clamp to the piping. If you have gas, there's also an additional bonding wire that should be visible attached to that piping as well.

On the newer homes with plastic piping they have actually added a connection to the foundation for your grounding. This is your UFER address and should also have an accessible connection point that is typically behind a wall plate on the exterior of the home or directly inside the home opposite of the electric panel.

Wherever it's located, you basically just want to make sure that the connection is nice and tight with a minimum of a six gauge wire.


AGCI & GFCI Breakers.

These are the breakers with the colorful pretty buttons. They are really cool newer addition to the breaker world and stop housefires and protect entire circuits from water conditions as well. Depending on the age of your home if these breakers are installed in the panel, you're actually supposed to be testing them monthly to keep them nice and pliable so they can do their job and not get stuck in the on position. It's as simple as pushing the test button and once it trips, you turn the breaker all the way off and then back on.


Solar components if installed are still not part of an inspection. As a courtesy, we will note if there's any visible damage or so. However, it is very important to have these inspected by the installer or another licensed solar company.


Exterior receptacles and lighting.

As far as the exterior receptacles and lighting go, you want to make sure it works. Make sure your exterior lights are coming on and operating properly. These can be generally noted, if not working as standard bulb replacement. But did you know the light by the exterior doors is actually a requirement to have and working. This is code go figure.

The exterior outlets should have weather covers in place that are properly secured as well. If you just so happen to have one of those outlet testers, that's great. Stick it in & push the test button and make sure they are properly GFCI protected as well. Last but not least if they're loose just go ahead and have somebody tighten them down so it doesn't get called out. Loose outlets can be a number one fire starter.


Interior receptacles and lighting.

This is kind of just like the exterior lights and receptacles. Do all the lights come on and operate properly? Are the pole chains there for the ceiling fans? Did anybody take the remotes with them when they were packing up? Are any of the outlets loose and do they all work properly? Also, the ever-important GFCI protection for any location that is within 6 feet of water.


These are all great things to check so that you can have a one-up when the inspection period comes and make the sale of the home as smooth as possible.


Thanks, everybody for reading, and Halo Inspections will be glad to check out your Electrical System to make sure there are no surprises.


Thank you so much for your time and look forward to helping you keep your house happy and healthy.