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Home electrical inspections ensure safety, code compliance, and efficiency. They are crucial during renovations and home sales. Regular inspections prevent hazards and increase property value. Offering this service positions electricians as trusted advisors.

Increase Revenue and Build Trust with Electrical Home Inspection Services

Steve Maurer, IME
Back a number of years ago (more than I like to remember), we decided to add to our humble domicile. What was once a flat-roofed carport became two offices and an expanded laundry room.
But we needed to expand our electrical system as well. So we went from a 100-amp service with screw-in and pull out cartridge fuses to a full 200-amp service with real circuit breakers and everything.

Renovations and additions are two common reasons for homeowners to schedule a home electrical inspection. A full assessment of the “current” situation is always a great idea so that the system can be repaired if needed and brought up to code.

Two other times when home inspections are done, even required, are during the sale or purchase of a home.

In prepping for this article, I did a quick search for home electrical inspections in our area. And honestly, there weren’t too many residential contractors that really promoted the service. It was more like a “Oh yeah… we also do home electrical inspections” type of thing.

That’s really a shame, actually, because this type of service is invaluable, both to the homeowner and to the contractor, and it give you another chances to add to your bottom line that I’ll mention later.

So let’s do a deeper dive into home inspections and see what we can dig up.

Importance of Home Electrical Inspections

Often, the only times homeowners even think about home electrical inspections are when they're buying or selling a home. It's part of the entire process, right? And they're usually part of an inspection package that includes plumbing and structural integrity.

But there are a bunch of reasons to have regular electrical inspections performed.

Safety First and Foremost

Conducting regular electrical inspections is crucial for ensuring the safety of homes from electrical dangers. Through thorough checks of wiring, electrical panels, and devices, electricians can detect and address problems that may cause electrical fires or shocks.

This preventive measure not only secures property but also, and more significantly, safeguards lives by averting potential accidents.

A professional electrician will notice things the average homeowner misses. In a way, it’s like watching your kids grow up. You don’t notice how they’ve grown until someone, usually that aunt from out of town, makes a comment about how big they’ve gotten.

Compliance and Efficiency
Ensuring that all electrical systems in a residence conform to the latest building codes and regulations is essential. This adherence is not solely for legal compliance; it significantly contributes to the optimization of electrical consumption.

Optimization leads to reduced energy usage, which diminishes both the cost of utilities and the ecological impact. Periodic electrical inspections help to identify potential enhancements or necessary updates, which can lead to substantial improvements in energy efficiency.

Existing structures may retain their original electrical work; however, any renovations or system enhancements must comply with the latest National Electrical Code (NEC) regulations.

All new installations are also required to adhere to current NEC guidelines. An electrical inspection of the property will identify these obligatory updates.

Insurance and Property Value
The state of a home's electrical system significantly impacts the terms of homeowners' insurance policies and the property's overall value. Insurance providers often mandate that homes adhere to specific safety standards to reduce risk, and a history of thorough electrical maintenance may result in decreased premiums.

A home equipped with an up-to-date, compliant, and efficient electrical system holds greater appeal for prospective buyers, enhancing its market value. Routine electrical inspections are key to securing both immediate and long-term financial benefits for homeowners.

This is something you should convey to the homeowner. The inspection and subsequent repairs or upgrades to their electrical system can pay off in the long run.

Make sure everything is documented, too.

Scope of Inspection – What to Include
When doing an inspection for home sale purposes, you need to do a full run of tests.

However, you might also offer “tier” options, ranging from common potential issues to a full out inspection.

Some things to include in most inspections are:

  • Reverse polarity in receptacles — In my folks older home, this was a major culprit that wreaked havoc on their electronic devices, including a brand new stove. It can also cause shock hazards.
  • Double tapped circuit breakers — Definitely a no-no. Two separate circuits aren’t allowed to live under the same terminal on a breaker. Homeowners often do this when they run out of breakers and want to add something.
  • Ungrounded receptacles — You’ll find this a lot in older homes that used two-conductor cable.
  • Exposed wiring and splices — And I might add… loose wire nuts. You may need to head up to the attic or down to the crawlspace, but I can almost guarantee you’ll find them.
  • Thermography tests — a heat sensing tool can help locate failing devices and breakers.
  • Breaker panel assessment —Doing this first can alert you to potential problems elsewhere. You can get a feel for the wiring condition, breaker status, and even do load checks. Be sure to make sure GFCI and AFCI breakers are functional if installed.
  • Emergency power backups — an improperly installed backup system is dangerous, particularly for utility workers.
For homes over 40 years old, a good recommendation is every 1 to 3 years. And since they must be done by a licensed electrician, this can be a good recurring service to promote. It can help you through slumps in new work projects.

Coming down to the wire

If you’re not offering home electrical inspections as a top level service, perhaps you should.

It gives you the chance to educate the public on safe electrical practices, and you become a trusted advisor to the homeowner, one they’ll definitely call on for future work.

You provide a valuable service when you offer home electrical inspections. One that can and does safe lives and property damage. It may not enhance curb appeal.

But it does appeal to property and homeowners. And make you the “hero of the day.”
Photo courtesy of Eaton
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