Evaluating An Older Home's Electrical System

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Making the decision to invest in your first home can be exciting. Potential buyers are often drawn to the character and charm that older homes embody, but older properties could pose serious problems if you don't take the time to inspect them properly.

To avoid putting in an offer on a home with serious electrical issues, here are two simple things that you should be looking for as you view properties with your realtor in the future:

1. Check outlets for signs of damage.

Damaged outlets can serve as a fire hazard within your new home. As you walk through properties available for sale on the market, be sure that you are paying close attention to the condition of each outlet.

Older homes may not have been wired with a ground wire in each outlet, so look to see that outlets are equipped to accommodate three-prong plugs instead of older (and less safe) two-prong varieties that are not grounded.

You should also look for cracks or discoloration that could signal stray electrical currents within the plugs themselves. These electrical problems will need to be addressed before a home can safely be occupied, so you should factor electrical updates into the purchase price when making an offer on a home with damaged or dated outlets.

2. Check kitchens and bathrooms for GFCI outlets.

Water is a significant conductor of electricity. To avoid potential electrocution in areas of the home where water is typically present, kitchens and bathrooms should be equipped with ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, outlets.

These outlets are designed with a built-in circuit breaker that automatically stops the flow of electricity when a surge is sensed. You can easily spot GFCI outlets by looking for the presence of test and reset buttons in the middle of the outlet.

Since these GFCI outlets are required in modern homes, you may have to pay to update an older home that doesn't have GFCI outlets in the kitchen or bathrooms before your new property will comply with building codes. Be sure to factor the cost of these electrical upgrades into your decision when determining if you want to put in an offer on an older home.

Purchasing an older home can be exciting, but it can also mean that you must update some of the home's features. Be sure to check for damaged or dated outlets and look to see if GFCI outlets are installed in an older home as you evaluate older properties to purchase in the future.

Contact companies like http://www.homeinspectionassoc-ma.com for more information and assistance.