Skipping this inspection means you may miss serious problems left behind by the previous owners. Don’t let the excitement of moving in overshadow this crucial first step.
Neglecting Electrical Panel and Circuit Breakers
The electrical panel and circuit breakers are the central nervous system of your home’s electrical system, and most homeowners pay little attention to them. Failure to routinely check circuit breakers and service panels leads to overloaded circuits and greater fire risks.
Homeowners should check for signs of corrosion, debris buildup, flipped breakers, and warm breakers, which can indicate overloaded circuits. Getting your panel inspected by a professional electrician and upgraded to meet modern load requirements should be part of any major renovation. Check it at least annually.
Using Extension Cords and Power Strips Improperly
Extension cords and power strips are designed for temporary, occasional use. When used as permanent solutions, they can overheat and start fires.
Don’t overload extension cords, daisy chain multiple cords and power strips together, or run cords under carpets or furniture. Have enough properly grounded wall outlets in all rooms to avoid extension cord misuse and use surge protector power strips in place of basic power strips for electronics. Extension cords are great temporary solutions but if you need more outlets, you may need to work towards having more permanent, safer electrical solutions installations.
Ignoring Odd Electrical Smells, Sounds, or Signs
Unusual smells, noises, or sights relating to your electrical system are warning signs you should never ignore. Burning plastic smells, buzzing, crackling noises, frequent flipped breakers, flickering lights, discoloured wires, warm outlets or plates, and dimming or brightening lights indicate potentially dangerous electrical issues. If you notice any odd electrical symptoms, get a professional evaluation right away. Never dismiss electrical concerns as unimportant or harmless.
Failing to Update Outdated or Insufficient Wiring
Homes more than 20 years old often have electrical systems that are outdated and insufficient for modern usages. Heavy use of electronics, smart home devices, and appliances can overload an ageing electrical system never designed for today’s energy demands. Upgrading the wiring, service panel, and individual circuits should be part of renovations and modernisation plans, especially in older homes. Don’t take original wiring at face value.
Not Having Enough Circuits or Improperly Using Them
Today’s homes need significantly more circuits than decades ago, thanks to increased energy usage. Too few circuits lead to overload and blown breakers. Improperly distributing high-wattage appliances across circuits also strains the system. Upgrade your panel and have each high-wattage appliance like a refrigerator, stove, washer, furnace, and AC unit on its own dedicated circuit. Consult electricians on optimal circuit setups.