Electrical breaker boxes are usually never looked at until a home inspection or repairs occur. This was definitely the case we found when we performed the home inspection in Deerfield Illinois. To perform a proper electrical breaker box inspection the cover of the electrical panel should be removed to allow for a visual inspection of all of the breakers and the condition of the electrical box. Many issues can be found in electrical breaker panels that include.
- DOUBLE TAPPED BREAKERS – This is when 2 wires from two different locations are installed on 1 breaker. Breakers are designed for only 1 wire and the addition of a 2nd wire can cause overheating of the breaker if the wires are not properly secured. The larger issue that double taps produce is failing of the breaker due to much electric passing through the breaker for 2 locations. This issue may cause failure of the breakers or issues broken wires or breakers when overheated.
- RUSTED ELECTRICAL PANELS OR BREAKERS – Rusted electrical panels can come from many places but the most common cause for rust in an electrical panel is the main conduit or pipe to the exterior meter is not sealed to the exterior and cold air is entering the electrical breaker panel. The cold air enters the panel that is potentially 50-70 degrees. Condensation occurs on the metal of the panel and precedes to rust. The repair method for this issue is to seal the piping in the panel entering from the exterior to assure the cold air does not enter the home. Sealing the electrical meter on the exterior of the wall to the building also may reduce the air or moisture enter in the homes breaker panels and walls. The electrical panel in the Deerfield home inspection had a rusted panel that was believed to have been caused from lack of sealing.
- RUSTED ELECTRICAL PANELS OR BREAKERS – Rusted electrical panels can also originate from high humidity in a basement which is to be expected. Generally the installation of a dehumidifier is recommended ion any basement to reduce the humidity in any basement.
- UNDERSIZED OR OVERSIZED WIRES TO BREAKER CONNECTION – The wrong size breakers to wire connection is also another issue we see on a regular basis that should be noted when inspecting an electrical breaker box.
- UNDOCUMENTED BREAKER PANEL – A breaker panel that is not properly tagged leaves homes owners in a dangerous disadvantage. The knowledge of all of the breakers locations should be noted on the panels to assure that safety issues do not occur in the home. The Deerfield home inspection had 3 breakers that were tagged but left 11 that were not documented leaving the electrical panel defective.
- MISSING ELECTRICAL BREAKER BOX COVER SCREWS – Movement of an electrical breaker panel cover can cause breaker to be moved to the off position or little hands to gain access to the interior of the breaker panel potentially causing a major safety issues in the home. The replacement of all of the electrical breaker panel screws is a must.
The Deerfield home inspection like most homes we inspect had issues that all can be fixed or remedied. The most important thing that should happen when inspecting your electrical breaker panel is not only finding the issues but knowing what to do to eliminate the issues at hand. My client from the Deerfield home inspection was concerned about the issues we located but was relieved that the repairs were minimal and attainable with limited cost.
If you are buying a home make sure your home inspector removes the electrical breaker cover to visually inspect the interior contents of the electrical breaker panel during your home inspection to assure no hidden issues develop after you move in.
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Everything looks good to the common eye when looking at an electrical panel? I beg to differ. Issues can still lye dormant even when electrical testing equipment is used on wiring in a breaker box. I believe that a thermal imager should be used on every home inspection. This is exactly why my clients hired me to perform a home inspection on their new home in Deerfield, Illinois.
In this article I will be concentrating on electrical scans primarily. Please understand that the uses of the Fluke or Flir thermal imager is unlimited. We use it for scanning of exterior walls for water intrusion, insulation issues and energy losses. We use it for scanning ceilings below bathrooms for water issues from tubs, toilets, showers and sinks. We scanned the interior walls of the Deerfield home inspection and found issues around the front and patio doors that had issues with energy deficiencies.
The Fluke and Flir thermal imagers are used on a breaker box to see if there is a temperature difference. When we see that there is an issue like in the image supplied we suggest an electrician come and investigate further. The issue at hand is overloading of this circuit with to many fixtures in the home. The remedy for this electrical box is to separate the fixtures throughout the home and run a dedicated breaker to eliminate overheating.
Remedies or repair costs for electrical issues that were found at the Deerfield home inspection range in costs from $200.00 - $1000.00 depending on how much work it takes the electrician to find the junction box and start the separation of various circuits and fixtures.
If you are hiring a professional home inspection service I would ask if they use Fluke or Flir thermal imagers. If they don’t you might want to find a professional home inspection service that does. Its your home and your money why not do it right?
If you have further questions about the use of Fluke or Flir thermal imagers on electrical panels please contact me at The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.
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In Illinois a law was enacted for the real estate sales industry that was developed to protect home buyers against radon. Basically, the home owner has to sign a document that certifies their knowledge of the radon levels in their home. The bad news is that most people do not test for radon when they buy a home. This means that for a homeowner that did not test for radon,that they would not know the level of radon in their home. We were hired to perform a home inspection in Deerfield, Illinois and we do offer a radon measurement service for all of our inspections.
The problem we seem to have is that some clients think it is expensive. Aradon measurement tests cost $225.00 and if you are getting a home inspection we give you $50.00 off. So, if you are getting a home inspection with radon measurement the cost will be betwwen $550.00 and up depending on the size of your home. The home inspection in Deerfield did choose to get a radon measurement and that was a smart decision on their part.
Radon is measured in picoCuries. The lower the number the better. The national average in homes is 1.3 pCi/1 and levels under 2.0 pCi/1 are ideal. Radon measurements that come at 4.0pCi/1 are noted for mitigation. These readings are taken by a continuous electric monitor that takes measurements evry 15 minutes for 48 hours with closed home conditions. In the case of the home inspection in Deerfield, the radon measurement number was above 11.5 pCi/1 . This is a very high number and we suggested a radon mitigation system be installed in the home.
Radon mitigation systems generally start around $1200.00 and up depending on the type of home you have, foundation material, finished basement, how many floors the home has, cracks in foundation floor, sump and ejector pits. In the case of the home inspection in Deerfield, the client said the system was $1900.00.
Radon is odorless, colorless, tasteless radioactive gas that you cant sense without the proper equipment. I know money can be tight when buying a home,but the money your spending is like an insurance policy to protect your family from the possibilities of lung cancer for the cost of a dinner out with the family??
If you have any questions about radon and need help with the possible cost with systems please contact us at ~ www.pinnaclepropertyinspection.com Jim Kolke