How to Look

at a House

A blog with answers
to your questions about

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 is a split bus electric panel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  20. What is an “open junction box”?

  21. Is an ungrounded receptacle/outlet dangerous?

  22. Where are smoke alarms required to be located?

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

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

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

  26. What is the lock device on a circuit breaker for?

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

  28. Can wiremold be used at an exterior location?

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

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

  31. What are the most common electrical defects found in a home inspection?

  32. What is an open electrical splice?

  33. Why is an old fuse panel dangerous?

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

  35. What is the difference between “grounded” and “grounding” electrical conductors?

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

  37. How can I tell if a receptacle/outlet is tamper resistant?

  38. What is a Dual Function Circuit Interrupter (DFCI)?

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

  42. How can I change a 240V circuit to a 120V circuit?

  43. What could cause an extremely high electric bill?

  44. Why are electrical outlets and plugs polarized?

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

  46. What causes flickering or blinking lights in a house?

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

  48. Why are some electric receptacles/outlets upside down (ground slot up) in a house?

  49. Why is undersize electric wiring in a house dangerous?

  50. Why is a fuse box an insurance problem for homebuyers?

  51. What is a “backstab” receptacle outlet?

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

  53. What is the difference between an electrical receptacle, an outlet, and a plug?

  54. 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.

consider replacement of a Zinsco panel as a safety precaution, based on its checked history, and that is what some experts recommend.

   Another panel of the same era, the “Stab-Lok” made by Federal Pacific, was found to have fraudulently obtained UL-approval of their panel design and eventually went out of business due to lawsuits related to fires caused by equipment failures. Although Sylvania-Zinsco panels should have a safety examination, the standard recommendation for Stab-Lok panels is replacement. See our blog post “Who is the manufacturer of those ‘bad’ electric panels I’ve heard about?” for more information.

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.

Click Below to Link
to Collections of
Blog Posts by Subject

Search This Blog