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How to Look

at a House

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More blog posts about electric service and distribution:

  1. How come my generator hookup got tagged as defective by the home inspector?

  2. How can I tell if the electric outlets are grounded?

  3. Is the electric panel big enough for this house?

  4. The electric panel is marked “Trilliant” and it’s all grey plastic. Is it alright?

  5. Why do you pay so much attention to electrical safety?

  6. How do the new tamper-resistant electric receptacles work?

  7. Why does that wall plug have push-buttons in the middle?

  8. Does this place have one of those “bad” electric panels I’ve heard about?

  9. How dangerous is old electrical wiring?

  10. What is the life expectancy of a circuit breaker?

  11. What is knob-and-tube wiring?

  12. What are the most common homeowner wiring mistakes?

  13. What is a split bus electric panel?

  14. What is the right electric wire size for a home?

  15. How far apart should the electrical receptacles be placed?

  16. My circuit breaker won’t reset. What’s wrong?

  17. Is a bare bulb light in a closet alright?

  18. What is reversed polarity at an outlet/receptacle? Why is it dangerous?

  19. My bathroom electric receptacle/outlet is dead, and there is no tripped breaker in the electric panel. What’s wrong?

  20. What is a “missing twistout” at an electric panel?

  21. What is an “open junction box”?

  22. Is an ungrounded receptacle/outlet dangerous?

  23. Where are smoke alarms required to be located?

  24. How far apart should kitchen counter receptacles be placed?

  25. How can I figure out what a mystery wall switch does?

  26. What is the switch on the wall with only two pushbuttons for?

  27. What are those strange looking wall switches in houses from the 1950s and 1960s?

  28. How far apart should electric receptacle outlets be placed in a garage?

  29. Will the electric company remove branches rubbing against the overhead service lines to my home?

  30. Can multiple neutral or ground wires be secured under the same terminal in an electric panel?

  31. Why are Zinsco and Sylvania-Zinsco electric panels a problem?

  32. Can wiremold be used at an exterior location?

  33. What is the life expectancy of electrical wiring in a house?

  34. How can adding wood paneling or a wainscot create an electrical safety hazard?

  35. What is a false ground, bootleg ground, or cheated ground receptacle?

  36. What is an open electrical splice?

  37. What does it mean when a wire is “overstripped” at a circuit breaker?

  38. What is the difference between a Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (CAFCI) and an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) circuit breaker?

  39. Will a GFCI receptacle that is not grounded still function properly?

  40. Does a home inspector remove the electric panel cover plate and examine the inside of the panel?

  41. Can an electric panel be located over stairs?

  42. What are the code requirements for NM-cable (nonmetallic-sheathed cable or Romex®) in an attic?

  43. What happens when you press the “TEST” button on a circuit breaker in an electric panel?

  44. How many electric receptacles (outlets) are required in a hallway?

  45. Why does painting an electric receptacle (outlet) make it unsafe?

  46. Why is bundled wiring in an electric panel a defect?

  47. Can a bare bulb “lampholder” light fixture be installed outdoors?

  48. Should I buy a house near a high-voltage power line?

Welcome to our blog!
We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

   There are also two complications that can arise in remodeled older homes regarding switched bedroom lighting:

  1. 1)If the bedroom has a switched wall receptacle and wiring was run for a ceiling fan with a light kit on a separate circuit as a later update, it may appear that the switch is not functional. Check to see if the switch goes to a wall receptacle. It is likely that the circuit for the ceiling fan is always live and it is simply controlled by the pull chains or a hand-held remote.

  2. 2)If there is only one wall switch and it controls a ceiling fan, but the fan does not have a light kit, then the required switched lighting for the room has been removed. A light kit needs to be added to the fan, or the fan replaced with a ceiling light.

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
©2015 - McGarry and Madsen Inspection.

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