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Electrical inspections before buying a property – Why you should include this in your checklist

18 Jun 2020

Buying a new property is always an exciting time for soon-to-be owners. However, even when your new house or office space looks completely stunning and perfect on the outside (or through the agent’s advertisement), it is always recommended to have a thorough electrical inspection before signing on the dotted line.

Reasons why you need a pre-purchase electrical inspection

Electrical inspection is extremely vital whether you are looking at an old house or planning to buy a newly built home. Reasons to put this must-have practice into your checklist include:

1. Helping you negotiate better price and prevent any extra cost

Simply speaking, if you schedule an electrical inspection before the sale goes through, unexpected cost will be billed to the seller. Otherwise, any electrical issues happening after the contract is signed will be on your budget. Therefore, it is in your best interest to perform the inspection right in the first stages of considering a listed property.

Similar to other defects of the home, poor condition of the electrical system is a convincing factor to offset or negotiate a better price. In some cases, the inspection fee may be included in the pre-purchase offer, so you had better check and clarify with the agent on suitable terms.

In the long run, checking and upgrading all electrical wiring also help cut monthly electric bill and reduce carbon footprint. This is particularly important if you want to move in an older house where the original circuits may fail to meet the demands of modern living and skyrocket your spending.

2. It is not necessarily included in all home inspections

Contrary to many people’s assumption, a thorough electrical and smoke alarm check is not compulsory in the average home inspection, as noted in many states’ building inspection guide. The inspectors may give a quick look into your grounding and electrical panels or monitor domestic appliances. It is unlikely that they go any deeper into the integrity and safety of the whole electrical system.

That is to say, even when the agent presents a compliant home inspection, it is strongly advisable that you book a qualified electrician and carry an electrical check of your own. The electrician can run an in-depth inspection and identify any possible threats to the system, which in turn guarantees the safety of inhabitants and save you from hefty bills.

Book a trained and certified electrician to carry out electrical inspection of your new home

3. For the safety of your own family

Putting all financial concerns aside, electrical inspection is required for the safety of yourself and beloved ones. Electrical-related issues often go undetected to untrained eyes and bring fatal consequences. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report from July 2014 to June 2016, almost 1,100 hospitalised cases were due to electrical injury and 55 deaths were recorded. Another survey (2017-18) from The Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council claimed that 67% of the people who were electrocuted were from the general public.

Having a trained specialist carry out an electrical inspection and fix degraded elements is a simple and effective way to ensure that your family can live happy days free of risks.

What to expect in an electrical inspection

Thanks to recent revision in the national regulations, electrical inspections have been standardised and straightforward. Wiring systems which are 30 years old take approximately 2-4 hours to inspect. The older the wiring, the longer it may take.

During an inspection, a qualified electrician will inspect your home or office’s electrical system to make sure all elements are compliant with local and national standards. This could range from basic visual audits with recommendations to in-depth testing of the whole circuit. Rest assured that all practices will limit perforating your new walls. Elements that need to be tested are:

1. Outlets (or receptacles)

All outlets must be properly grounded and come without physical defects (e.g. cracks, loose screws etc.). Specific areas like kitchens, bathrooms, garages and outdoor outlets will need extra testing as they are easily damped, dusted or have to supply power to many appliances at the same time.

2. Wiring lifespan

Electrical wiring has its own lifespan and will wear out over time. Old wiring poses the threat of losing their grounding capability and needs to be replaced. The circuit may also be out of standards (take the example of knob and tube wiring) and the electrician will advise you to upgrade accordingly.

3. Service panel (or power box) and future expansions

It may take some time to perform a full-service panel inspection, but the effort is highly recommended as this is the centrepiece of the entire system. Any faults gone undetected require a big fix and extra cost in the future. The electrician normally checks for loose wire, signs of overheating or humming, whether the right main breaker is being used (according to ICA, it should be at least 100 amps for usage in a modern home). A new home is ideally equipped with electrical circuits that can handle future expansions and new technology.

With over 30 years of industry experience in the electrical and construction trade, Brady Electrical Contracting focuses on quality workmanship, lighting design and sustainability. We are only a phone call away if you would like some friendly advice on an existing property.