Buying a new home is an exciting endeavour for any buyer, new or veteran. It’s so exciting, in fact, that buyers tend to overlook the electrical system that comes with it!
Although this may seem insignificant considering your never-ending to-do list, the health of your new home’s electrical system is essential. It’s the heart of your new home, pumping life-giving electricity throughout the veins that power your devices, lighting, security system, and modern life as a whole.
According to our electricians’, its health is also essential to protecting you, your possessions, property, and finances. In the Central Coast, there are various codes and regulations your new electrical system needs to adhere to avoid fines. These standards are in place to prevent old, degraded, or faulty electrical work from causing uncontrollable house fires and fatal electrocutions.
Copper Electrical’s expert electricians have put together a checklist to help you assess the health and quality of your new home’s electrical system.
Let’s dive in!
Electrical Panel (Meter Box)
First and foremost, take a look at your new home’s electrical panel to get an idea of how old it is. If it’s rusted and worn looking or shows any signs of scorching, it should be replaced immediately by a qualified electrician.
If the panel holds a fuse box but not a circuit breaker, this indicates that the electrical system is outdated and needs urgent safety inspections. Outdated electrical systems can’t support the multitude of modern devices we use daily – safely or successfully!
If there is a circuit breaker, make sure that it has ample safety switches. Your circuit breakers trip when a fault is detected, protecting the circuitry and wiring of your home. Safety switches, on the other hand, protect people from electrocution; they’re a legal and logical must-have.
Checking your new home’s electrical wiring is vital – especially if the home you’re looking at was built 20-30 years ago. Old or faulty wiring is one of the most common causes of house fires.
Old wiring is already compromised by the test of time and unable to withstand the power demands of modern devices and appliances, making it easier for wires to overload, overheat, and spark a fire. Faulty wiring poses more imminent safety risks, as kinks can raise the electrical resistance (and, thus, heat) and loose connections can cause sparks.
Ideally, you’d want a qualified electrician to do a thorough safety and functionality check to be sure. However, there are some obvious signs of unsafe, unhealthy electrical wiring you can identify yourself. These include:
- Exposed live wires due to damaged, cracked, or missing insulation
- Wiring is touching or surrounding building insulation
- Exposed live wires wrapped with electrical tape (they should be soldered)
- Any discolouring, charring, or smoking
Wet Area Outlets
Water and electricity don’t mix. Together, they pose significant electrocution risks.
But you already know this. What you may not know is that any wet areas in your potential new home, such as the kitchen and bathroom, need to be fitted with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs).
These cut off the power immediately after detecting unbalanced electrical currents, preventing any damage to your appliances. They can also detect water and electrical appliances coming into contact, cutting off the power just as fast to prevent electrocution.
Make sure your new home’s wet areas are all fitted with GFCIs – and that all light switches and power outlets are well away from water.
This checklist should help you get a good idea of the health of your potential new home’s electrical system. However, it’s not exhaustive, as many checks can only—and should only—be done by a qualified electrician armed with the correct equipment and safety gear.
If you’re not feeling confident or would like a second pair of professional eyes, contact the experts Central Coast electricians at Copper Electrical!
We have extensive experience in renovations, electrical layout designs, safety inspections, repairs, and upgrades. Over the years, we’ve earned the expertise needed to assess your new electrical system properly, offer sound advice, and do any work or safety upgrades required.
Contact us today with any questions you may have; we’re happy to help!