Electrical Inspection Checklist

Posted on: August 31, 2016
By: Alan O'Neill
Posted in: Electrician

Electrical Inspections For Houston Homeowners Made Easy

This brochure is only intended to be a general overview of residential electrical requirements. No claim is made that this information is complete or beyond question. Additional information and knowledge will be needed to properly install electrical wiring that is essentially free from electric shock hazard.

A visual electrical inspection during a whole house inspection by National Property Inspections.

Checklist for an Electrical Home Inspection

Our home electrical safety checklist is meant to reduce these numbers and protect homeowners everywhere. In addition to doing your own DIY electrical safety check, make sure to schedule an electrical safety inspection with a professional. Your licensed electrician should inspect your home every year to make sure the electrical system meets the safety provisions provided in the National Electrical Code

General Electrical and Fire Safety:

  • Have you developed an evacuation plan with your household in the case of an emergency?
  • Are you using the correct wattage light bulbs for your light fixtures?
  • Have you installed tamper resistant receptacles in households with young children?
  • Have you inspected all of your electrical cords, extension cords, plugs, and electrical devices for damage?
  • Have you experienced flickering lights, electrical shocks, sizzling or buzzing sounds, or frequent tripped breakers? These are tell-tale signs of an electrical problem. Call you professional electrician immediately if you notice any of these things. If you are overloading your outlets, you may need to install a new circuit.

Electrical Service Panel

Every home has an electrical service panel. It may be located on the exterior of the home, in the garage or basement. The panel contains fuses or circuit breakers. The panel and its components must be reviewed for age, dark or smoky residue, and wear and tear. If the panel contains out-dated round fuses, these should be replaced by a licensed electrician with circuit breakers switches. If the service panel is rusty or worn, it should be replaced as well.


In general, a home that contains round fuses at the service panel may give clues to the general age of the home’s wiring. Older homes built before 1950 may contain knob-and-tube wiring. Homes built between 1965 and 1973 may contain aluminum wiring. Both types of wiring have unique safety and performance characteristics and could be more challenging to insure. Homebuyers should be aware of this issue and homeowners should consider replacing the home’s wiring for improved safety and marketability.

Wet Area Outlets

Wet areas, including bathrooms and kitchens, must have ground fault circuit interrupters installed. Additionally, light switches must be several inches away from water. Outside outlets also must GFCIs installed. In general, GFCIs must be installed in any area where water could be present. Homeowners are advised to test GFCIs periodically; homebuyers should check them during the home walk-through before closing.

Interior Outlets and Lighting

Whether a home is up for sale or currently occupied, interior outlets, light switches, appliance cords and GFCIs must be routinely tested and visually inspected. Loose outlets must be tightened or replaced and cords must fit snugly. Outlets should be visually inspected for black smoke and cool to the touch. A licensed electrician must inspect any humming noises or switching sounds around outlets or lighting.

Electrical Fire Safety

The National Fire Protection Agency estimates that electrical failure or malfunction caused more than 144,000 house fires between 2007 and 2015. While an electrical inspection may not be required when buying a new home or making major renovations to an existing home, it can reveal electrical deficiencies, and prevent fire hazards. Call us for your home service and repair needs.

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