Top 5 Electrical Pitfalls That May Be Hiding In Your Home

Did you know that licensed electricians have been part of the Oliver team since 2012 It’s ok if you say no, we know you’re busy and can’t keep up with everything!  It’s true though, and we sat down with Oliver Electrical Manager Rodney Ciafre, a Master Electrician licensed in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland to give us a little insight into what really happens when an electrician performs a safety inspection.

Question 1 – If my home electrical system was inspected when I purchased my house, do I really need to have that done again?

In a word, yes. Many things may have changed since you purchased your home, including:

  • Updated codes that could affect your home insurance coverage.
  • Cables and outdoor components may be affected by the weather, creating a safety hazard.
  • Updated electronics alter your usage patterns within the home.
  • Equipment may have expired since your last home inspection.

Question 2 – That sounds like you’re going to come in here and scare me into a lot of big, expensive repairs. Shouldn’t I just leave well enough alone?

First of all, we aren’t here to scare you or pressure you into anything you don’t need. There’s no obligation to act on any recommendations you receive, and the electrician who performs the inspection will prioritize them so you know what’s most important to address and what can wait until a more convenient time.

Next, the most common problems we find are easily addressed. The top 5 concerns that come up most frequently during an electrical inspection are:

  • An inadequate number of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets in areas with the potential for high moisture like kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and basements.
  • Smoke detectors that have reached the end of their life span (approximately 10 years).
  • Weathering of outdoor cables and components.
  • Moisture or signs of moisture in and around the electrical panel and meter socket.
  • A homeowner’s specific concerns, especially regarding upcoming renovations or preparing the home for sale.

Question 3 – I have knob and tube wiring in my house, and my insurance agent warned me that I’m not eligible for coverage on the full value of my home. Will I have to replace my entire electrical system in order to keep my policy?

We can’t speak for any insurance policies, so please be sure to go over the requirements with your agent. In our experience, many homeowners are able to replace the knob and tube system in the basement, which represents the greatest hazard, and replace wiring within the walls during any future renovation project(s).

Rodney Ciafre, Oliver's Master Electrician, answers questions about electrical inspection

Rodney Ciafre, Oliver’s Master Electrician, answers questions about electrical inspections

Question 4 – How do I know when it’s time to schedule an electrical inspection? Is there a good rule of thumb for knowing when to have an electrician come look at it?

Some of our customers request an inspection every year for their own peace of mind. We’re happy to accommodate, but if you’re comfortable with going longer between inspections here are some good indicators that it may be time to get one on the calendar:

  • If you haven’t had one in the last three years. We’ve had a lot of severe weather with ice, wind, and frigid temperatures. All of these can damage the cables and components outside of your home and create a situation where water is able to reach your main panel.
  • If you are planning to sell your house within the next couple of years. You’ll have many other things to take care of as the time gets closer, and taking care of potential safety hazards now adds safety for your family while you are still in the home.
  • If you’re planning a major renovation to your home. Having a prioritized list of electrical considerations will help you budget and plan your project effectively.
  • If you rarely need to access your electrical panel. Most homeowners will call us if their breakers trip frequently, but the other end of the spectrum can be a hazard as well. If you rarely have occasion to open your panel box, you may miss early warning signs of a problem such as rust or other signs of moisture.
  • Last but not least, if you’re diligent about changing your smoke detector batteries in the spring and fall but can’t remember when they were installed. Try a “napkin test” – smoke detectors start out white, and some get increasingly off white with a yellow tinge with age and environmental factors. The more discolored your detectors look, the more likely it is that they should be replaced.

An electrical inspection is about safety, plain and simple. Having your home’s electrical system meet code and function properly is an excellent way to maintain peace of mind. Scheduling this service with a licensed electrician that’s part of the Oliver team you know and trust is even better.

We’re always committed to excellent customer service, and to providing our customers with options that work best for their unique situation. Let us earn your trust with an electrical inspection – just click on “Contact” in the lower right hand corner of this page to select an appointment date and time that works for you.

Don’t forget to grab your free copy of the Oliver Products & Services Guide before you leave! It includes tips for saving energy, improving your home’s indoor air quality, and more! You’ll also find money saving coupons for Oliver’s full suite of home maintenance and improvement services. Get your copy here: