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Electricity is such a natural part of our daily lives that we often forget how dangerous it can be. To be assured that the building you call home is electrically sound, it will need to pass an electrical inspection.
For some, just the word “inspection” makes them break out in a cold sweat. Are you afraid that your home won’t pass the electrical “test”? Let’s discuss what an electrical inspection entails, and how you can ensure that your home will pass it with flying colors.
When Will You Require an Electrical Inspection?
Electrical inspections are a vital part of any building project, and need to be done before any part of the building can be inhabited.
An inspector will only pass the electrical installation if:
- All the Florida Building Codes, relating to the electrical circuit, have been followed.
- The installation has been done safely.
- There are no potential electrical fire hazards.
Although an electrical inspection can be requested at any time, they will be required under the following circumstances:
- New Constructions – Whether you are building a new home or doing a major room addition, you will be required to get a building permit. Whenever a building permit is required, you will also need to pass an electrical inspection.
- Remodeling – Any remodeling project, especially kitchens and bathrooms, will need to pass an electrical inspection.
- When buying or selling a building.
- If the building is 40 years old or older.
- If any new major appliances have been added to the electrical circuit.
What Gets Checked During an Electrical Inspection?
The installation of an electrical circuit is done in phases, requiring the electrical inspections to be done in two stages. Both inspections have to be passed for the inspector to issue a certificate of compliance.
The two electrical inspections are referred to as:
- The Rough-In Inspection
- The Final Inspection
The Rough-In Inspection
This inspection takes place before the insulation of the wires and the closing of the walls. The inspector needs a clear view of all the wiring running from the service panel to the fixtures and appliances.
Special notes will be made of:
The Electrical Boxes
The electrical boxes need to be:
- Flush with the wall
- Large enough to contain the necessary wires, conductors, and devices
- The outlet heights must a minimum of 12 inches above floor level
- The switch heights must be consistent and a minimum of 48 inches above floor level
The Cables and Wires
The inspector will ascertain whether the electrical wires and cables are:
- Clamped into the boxes correctly
- That at least eight inches of usable wire extend from the box
- That the wire gauge is appropriate for the circuit amperage
- That the wires are labeled correctly displaying the circuit number and amperage; Labeling is not a code regulation, but the inspector will be impressed by the attention to detail
- The cable is anchored correctly; The cable needs to be attached to the wall with wall studs and needs to run through the center of the wall studs and the studs need to be a minimum of four feet apart
- Horizontal runs need to be 20 to 24 inches above floor level
The inspector will check that there are enough circuits for the power demand. There must be provision made for the general lighting and appliances per room and dedicated circuits for areas like the kitchen.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) And Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI)
- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) will need to be installed wherever there are outlets below ground level or anywhere near water.
- Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI) are not required on existing buildings but are required on all new or remodeled buildings.
The Final Inspection
A final electrical inspection will be done when the walls are closed, the paintwork is finished, and the floors are done. The inspector will confirm that all the circuits function and that the light fixtures are connected correctly. The building may only be used once this electrical inspection has been signed off.
Why Electrical Inspectors Prefer Dealing with Qualified Electricians
Electrical inspectors agree that inspections are easier when they deal with qualified electricians. A trust relationship develops between the electrician and the inspector, and this makes the inspection process easier because:
- They are confident the electrical installation will be up to code. Even though a thorough inspection still takes place, it’s almost seen as a formality.
- The electrician will ensure that the inspector has a clear and safe path to the electrical components. Inspectors prefer a qualified person on site who can remove access panels/coverings as needed.
- A qualified electrician will have all the necessary permits the inspector will need to see before passing the inspection.
- Some inspectors have specific preferences that may vary slightly from code regulations. A qualified electrician who has a good working relationship with the inspector will be familiar with them.
Five Things That Will Ensure Your Home Passes the Electrical Inspection
Electrical inspections do not need to be stressful. Here are five ways to ensure you pass an electrical inspection:
- Do not “Do It Yourself”. Use a qualified electrical contractor who will ensure the building is wired to code.
- Ensure that you have all the necessary building permits.
- Make sure there is no exposed wiring; All wires need to be insulated and anchored as per code.
- Do not overload circuits by adding extension cords. Ensure all large appliances are on dedicated circuits where necessary.
- All electrical outlets near water must have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI).
Art Plumbing AC & Electric Take the Stress Out of Electrical Inspections
If you are afraid that you may be violating codes and not sure you will pass the electrical inspection, you need the assistance of a qualified electrician. Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric have been South Florida’s electricians of choice since 1983. Our electricians are always licensed, and insured, meaning your electrical system will be installed safely and legally.
Do you need to schedule an electrical inspection for your current or new home? Give Art a call at 1-800-475-1504 Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sundays for any emergency.