Why Your Denver Home Needs An Annual Electrical Inspection

April 24, 2019

Plumbline electrician is performing an annual electrical inspection in Denver.

Is your home's electrical system as safe as it can be? An annual electrical inspection can help you find out. Here in Colorado, we learn respect and appreciation for the power of nature. Water rushing down the Western Slope. Winds blowing strong across the Eastern Plains. Sun shining down on Denver 300 days or more. Natural gas, coal, and oil coming up from deep below. It all gives us energy in abundance. Takes us where we want to go. Powers our work. Energizes our homes.

Like a sky-cracking summer thunderstorm, electricity both inspires awe and demands our respect. Your home's electrical system takes in and channels that power. It connects your home, protects it, keeps you and your family comfortable all year long.

Modern electrical systems make electricity so convenient that it's easy to forget the hazards of its might. We've come a long way since the days of Edison. Circuit breakers, surge protectors, AFCI breakers, GFCI outlets, and all the rest reduce the risks while making the most of electricity's potential.

But according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, “Home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year, nearly 500 deaths, more than 1,400 injuries, and $1.3 billion in property damage.”

An annual electrical inspection, combined with recent  electrical innovations, can help you do more with Colorado's power and protect your home and loved ones.

Inspecting For Your Safety

When an electrician comes to perform an electrical inspection on your Denver area home, they’ll examine your entire electrical system. They’ll look for signs of wear and tear, incorrectly installed wiring and components, and opportunities for you to upgrade to safer equipment.

Their goal? Protect your appliances, fixtures, and electronics from damage. Protect your home from an electrical fire. And, most importantly, protect you and your family.

A complete home electrical inspection will include your home’s...

Service Line

This is the power line that runs from the electrical company’s main utility line to your home.

An electrician will inspect the line and its entry into your meter. Is the line in good condition? Are weatherproofing measures - such as drip loops and weatherheads - in place to prevent water from entering your home.


Repair and Upgrade Opportunities

  • Replace an aging service line.
  • Replace a drop line with an underground line.
  • Replace a leaking or aging weatherhead.
  • Trim branches growing near the line.
  • Reroute the line along a safer pathway.

Meter

Your electrical meter measures your electrical usage so the power company can bill you. Older mechanical meters simply measure the number of kilowatt-hours used by your home. During an inspection, an electrician will ensure  the meter is installed securely and working correctly. (You don’t want to be overbilled by a faulty meter.) Are tamper-evident seals broken? Is there any rust that might suggest that water is leaking in from the service line?


Repair and Upgrade Opportunities

Your power company will handle any needed repairs or upgrades. But an electrician can detail any problems for you and help you arrange to get them fixed.

Electrical Panel

The electric panel is the heart of your home’s electrical system. It’s where electricity first enters your home. The panel protects your home. And it safely distributes power to all the places you need it for your family’s work, entertainment, and comfort.

All new Denver construction uses circuit breaker panels rather than antiquated fuse boxes. In older construction, a properly inspected and maintained fuse box can still protect your home, but circuit breaker panels have many advantages for safety, performance, and convenience.

Is your home’s panel correctly installed with sufficient clearance? Is there any water, corrosion, or excess heat?

If you have a fuse box, are the fuses of the correct rating? Are any fuses bypassed with wire or metal objects? (This is extremely dangerous.)

If you have a circuit breaker panel, are all the breakers of the correct rating? Are ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) breakers and arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breakers used where required by code or advised for safety?


Repair and Upgrade Opportunities

  • Replace a fuse box with a circuit breaker panel.
  • Replace any breakers that show signs of wear.
  • Replace standard breakers with GFCI or AFCI breakers, where required by code or advised for enhanced safety.
  • Install a whole-house surge protector.
  • Install a home energy monitor.
  • Replace an old electrical panel with a connected home electrical panel for remote monitoring and control.

Wiring

Wires carry power from your electrical panel to switches, fixtures, and outlets throughout your home. Old wiring can fray, and its insulation can deteriorate. Incorrectly installed wiring can be a major hazard.

An electrician will visually inspect all your visible and accessible wiring. Unless you’re in the midst of new construction or major renovations, much of your wiring will be hidden behind walls. For inaccessible wiring, the electrician will perform diagnostic tests that may reveal wiring problems.

Are all circuits grounded? Are any wires exposed and unprotected? Are there wires resting near any wet or hot areas?


Repair and Upgrade Opportunities

  • Replace unsafe and unreliable aluminum wiring with copper wiring.
  • Replace any wiring showing signs of fraying or cracked insulation.
  • Replace 2-wire cables with safer 3-wire grounded cables.
  • Reroute exposed or unprotected wires through junction boxes, conduit, and other protective enclosures.
  • Reroute wires away from wet or hot areas.

Switches, Fixtures, and Outlets

Because switches, fixtures, and outlets seem less complicated than electrical panels, they’re often installed or replaced by people who aren’t certified electricians. A very common mistake is to mix up the hot and neutral wires. This causes what’s called “reverse polarity,” which can keep electricity flowing through equipment that is turned “off.” It can burn out your appliances, and it creates an electrocution hazard for you and your family.

During an electrical inspection, an electrician will test the polarity of your switches, fixtures, and outlets. They’ll look for loose or damaged switchplate covers and exposed wiring. And they’ll test every GFCI outlet to make sure it’s correctly installed and protecting you from shocks in wet areas.


Repair and Upgrade Opportunities

  • Correct the polarity of any switches, outlets, or fixtures installed with reversed polarity.
  • Replace any ungrounded outlets with safer grounded outlets.
  • Replace standard outlets with GFCI or AFCI outlets where required by code or recommended for better safety.
  • Upgrade to outlets equipped with USB ports.
  • Upgrade to smart home connected switches, fixtures, and outlets

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

A timely warning and a quick response make all the difference when fire or carbon monoxide threaten your family and your home. An electrician will test all your existing detectors. And they’ll verify that you have detectors everywhere you should.

The electrician will go over any needed maintenance or repairs. And they may recommend additional or upgraded detectors to better protect your family’s safety.


Repair and Upgrade Opportunities

  • Clean dust, spider webs, and residue from sensors.

  • Replace batteries for standard alkaline battery-backup detectors.

  • Replace any detectors that are 10 years old or older.

  • Upgrade to smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with 10-year lithium batteries.

  • Upgrade to smart home connected smoke alarms.

Safe, Secure, and Powerful

There’s so much that you and your family can do with Denver’s power. Make the most of that potential while keeping your home safe and secure. Schedule an electrical inspection today.

Plumbline serves the plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical needs of Coloradans in Greater Denver from Boulder to Larkspur and all points in between. We keep your family connected, protected, and living in comfort. Contact us anytime for new installations, upgrades, maintenance, and repairs. We’ve been doing what's just to earn your trust since 1998.