This is an important topic right now as home buyers are dealing with a lot of competition and bidding wars. Homes are selling quickly, sometimes before hitting the realtor listing service. There is money to be made in buying older homes and fixing them up. So, whether you decide to require a home inspection before you purchase a home or not really comes down to how much risk you willing to take. Are you hearing my serious voice here?
In the past week alone, Barr Electric has visited two separate homes where the new owners have found some pretty serious problems with the electrical. The thing about the wiring in your home, just like plumbing, is that you can’t really tell if it’s done right. Some of the wiring is visible, such as in an attic or crawl space, but unfortunately you can’t see inside walls. DIY wiring done by a homeowner is commonly done without a permit, meaning no inspection of the wiring was done to ensure it was done to Canadian Electrical Code. This is what I call, Good from Afar, but Far from Good.
So, what do I mean by serious?
- Incorrect wire used (wrong for the required amperage)
- Overloaded circuits
- Tripping breakers likely caused by shorts in circuits or overloaded circuits
- Hidden junction boxes (this is often where the mess is hiding)
- Un-connected wires for devices
- Double-tapping in the electrical panel
- & more
While some of these issues wouldn’t necessarily be an immediate safety hazard, others really are potentially hazardous. Cue the scary music!! Plus, you won’t find out about them until you move in to the home and notice weird stuff happening when you use the receptacles and switches.
Safety Scary aside, all of these issues will require repairs to make them right, some of which would be very pricey and would require removal of drywall in order to locate the source of the problem. That’s Money Scary. Others issues are just a nuisance, like tripping breakers, for example, due to overloaded circuit. Annoying! But please don’t blame the breakers (unless they’ve failed, then you can blame them). When breakers trip they’re just doing their job, which is to send you a loud message that says: “Hey! You got a problem here!”
My point is this. Your home is your H-O-M-E, your nest, your soft place to fall (as Dr. Phil always says, though I don’t watch that show. Honestly, I don’t). It is also a huge investment for most people and you want to feel safe when you’re in it and when you aren’t. I know buying a home can be emotional, but in this case, it is a good idea to take the emotion out of your decision-making. Getting a home inspection is just plain old smart. We regularly get calls from realtors and home-owners to request a visit from an electrician to troubleshoot and repair various problems identified by a home inspector. Doing this will help you identify and understand the issues, and or have them corrected before you jump into a lot of trouble that looks all shiny and nice on the outside. You know what they call that. Lipstick meet Pig.
Here is a link to a search for Home Inspectors in Comox Valley. One of them is even BBB accredited, which I always recommend since, like Barr Electric, accredited businesses meet BBB accreditation standards, and that is a very good thing and something you can trust.
If you just want to inspect the electrical for a house you are considering buying, we can do that. Just give us a jingle. Contact info below.