5 Tips for Getting the Most From Your Electrical Inspection

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated August 18, 2022
kitchen counter with outlets on backsplash
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Reading over a pre-inspection checklist can help you feel more in control and knowledgeable about how an electrical inspection works. Regulations and codes are complicated, but a licensed electrician should feel comfortable answering any questions you have. Here’s what to expect and tips for how you can get the most from your electrical inspection.

1. Map Your Home Before the Visit

Before your inspector arrives, tour your home and note any outlets that aren’t working, malfunctioning light switches, or water damage. Alert your electrician to problem areas or questions you have so your inspection is as informative as possible.

2. Know the Top-to-Bottom Checklist

5 items electricians check during inspections, including wiring and the electrical meter

Electrical inspectors have an inspection checklist they follow to ensure you get a top-to-bottom review of your home’s system. They’ll add your specific requests to the list if pointed out ahead of time. Generally, your inspector will take down light fixtures, check outlets, and conduct an inspection to generate an action list of items based on these things: 

  • Items critical to safety

  • Violations of the National Electrical Code

Electrical Meter

Your electrical meter needs to have a stable attachment and be free from water and rodents damage. The inspector will make sure the seals are water-tight and that no wires are exposed.

Wiring

Your inspector will mark any wire deterioration or damage and ensure the wires in your home or leading into your home are not resting on heat ducts or hot water pipes. 

Electrical Panel/Circuit Breakers

Also known as the circuit breaker, your electrical panel prevents electricity from exceeding safe levels. Your inspector will check for corrosion, improperly sized breakers, evidence of moisture, and overheating. If your panel cannot handle your electrical needs, your inspector may suggest an upgrade

Outlets and Switches

Outlets and switches need to be safe and functional, and the electrical inspector will point out any looseness, damage, discoloring, unsafe wiring, undergrounding circuits, or polarity.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) and Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI) Outlets

There’s a basic difference between GFCIs and AFCIs: GFCI outlets prevent electrocution, while AFCIs prevent fire due to loose or damaged connections and wiring. Your electrician will check both types to ensure they’re all in working order.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Placement

Keeping safety a top priority, your electrical inspector will also test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and ensure they’re in the right location to alert dangers. Carbon monoxide detectors should rest in a visible area between floor and knee height, while dual carbon monoxide/fire detectors should attach to the ceiling. 

3. Get Results in Writing

technician writing inspection report
Photo: AntonioDiaz / Adobe Stock

The most pressing problems found during an electrical inspection are the ones that pose a safety risk to you and your family. When you get the report from the inspector, make sure you know exactly what, if any, safety problems they uncovered and the steps you must take to remedy them.

A reputable contractor will provide you a line-by-line itemization of their report, detailing what needs fixing and the cost proposal. 

4. Know Your Next Steps

Included in their report should be action items and a cost proposal. Do some of your outlets need rewiring? Is your meter leaking water? Should you replace your carbon monoxide detectors? Review it with your inspector and ask them what next steps you should take to keep your home safe and to code. Usually, your electrician will rank them by priority.

5. Maintain Your System Regularly

Prevention is the easiest way to avoid major problems. Aim to have your system inspected at least once a year so that minor problems don’t turn into costly and dangerous repairs.

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