Whether you hire an electrician or do it yourself during a renovation, having the work inspected twice by someone from the local building department is standard practice. In addition to pre-purchase and pre-listing requirements, you may want to have an electrician go over your home for any number of additional reasons.
Electrical System Inspected Twice
When a building permit is needed for electrical work, as in the case of new construction or a substantial expansion, a more thorough examination is conducted. A permit and an electrical inspection are needed for any major kitchen or bathroom renovations. The purpose of electrical inspections is to guarantee that all regulations have been adhered to and a secure installation has been achieved. If this is the case, you’ll need to host an electrical inspector for a minimum of two separate visits.
- The first review occurs during the rough-in phase.
- When all of the power outlets, switches, outlets, connectors, conduit, and wires have been placed and the walls are ready to be finished, this step is taken.
- This inspection must be performed before the installation of insulation, so that the inspector can see all wire lines from the service panel to the fixtures and appliances.
- The second review occurs after construction is finished but before you can move in.
- The last check before the permitting is signed off is known as a final inspection.
- You may now install the trim and fixtures since all the walls are completed, the paint is dry, and the flooring is done.
- Verify that every light fixture is properly installed and connected, and that all circuits are operational.
- If the inspector gives the job a green light, it signifies it has been completed to the appropriate standards and is legal.
Guidelines for Inspections
Here’s a brief rundown of the sorts of things an electrical inspector may check for during a review:
- Your home inspector will verify that there are enough electrical connections to meet the needs of the building or expansion.
- During the final walkthrough, you’ll want to double check that all of the appliances have their own circuits.
- Having a separate circuit for each major appliance, such as a microwave, trash disposal, and dishwasher, is especially important in the kitchen.
- The inspector will also check to make sure that there is enough general lighting in each room as well as adequate general appliance circuits.
- Circuit safety using GFCI and AFCI outlets: Any electrical outlets or appliances that are placed outside, below grade, or within a certain distance of a sink or other water source must have GFCI circuit (https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enfor) protection installed. GFCI protection is especially important for outlets used by small appliances in the kitchen. The inspector will double-check that GFCI-protected outlets and circuit breakers have been installed in areas where they are required by law during the final walk-through.
- Adapter sockets: All electrical boxes must be level with the wall and big enough to house the amount of wire conductors and devices for which they are intended. Locking the electrical cabinet shut will ensure the safety of the devices within. Homeowners who are performing their own electrical work are recommended to utilize big, roomy electrical boxes, since this not only ensures that the work will pass inspection but also makes it simpler to finish the wire connections.
- Scales for measuring box heights: The inspectors check the heights of the switches and outlets to make sure they are uniform. To comply with building requirements, outlets (technically called receptacles) must be installed no lower than 15 inches from the floor, and switches must be mounted no lower than 48 inches from the floor. Of course, there are caveats to this. Wall and ceiling heights may be adjusted significantly for a child’s bedroom or for a person with special needs.
- Rough-in inspectors will check the clamping of cables and wires in the boxes. The cable sheathing has to protrude into the box by at least 1/4 inch at the point of connection to ensure that the cable clamps are gripping the sheathing and not the conducting wires. In order to be functional, the wires coming out of the box should stretch for at least 8 inches. In this way, you may connect the device with enough cable and yet have enough to cut the wire to fit more connections in the future. Inspectors also check to make sure the wire gauge seems suitable for the circuit’s amperage (for example, 15-amp circuits should use 14-gauge wire, 20-amp circuits should use 12-gauge wire, etc.).
- Secure Cable Anchoring: When conducting the rough-in inspection, inspectors will look for evidence of secure cable anchoring. To keep the wires safe, you should fasten them to the studs in the wall. Stapling should begin no more than eight inches from one box and continue no more than every 4 feet.
- Tags for wires: Check local regulations, although many electricians, including those with https://www.aomelectrical.com/, and smart homeowners mark the wires in electrical boxes with the circuit number and amperage. This kind of attention to detail in a wire installation is very comforting to an inspector.
- Anti-surge measures: The inspector can suggest installing separated ground receptacles for your TV, stereo, sound system, and other sensitive electrical gadgets. This outlet shields connected devices from interference and voltage spikes. These delicate electronics will be safeguarded by both separate receptacles and surge protectors, either standalone units or whole-house systems. When you are making preparations for surges, be sure that you don’t forget to protect the electronic boards that are found in your washer, dryer, stove, refrigerator, and any other sensitive appliances.
Before starting work, ask the inspector about needed circuits and directions to save frustration and pain. Sometimes an inspector’s personal preferences will take precedence over the strict letter of the regulation. The inspector will be quite appreciative of your good intentions, and it is probable that your installation will pass with flying colors when he comes to check it out.