Welcome back! This week, we’ll continue our coverage of inspecting residential electrical systems. Last week we covered the Service Entrance. This week, St. Louis Home Inspection Service’s Steve Sonderen covers the Service Panel.
Most older homes typically run on 60 amps. But with the increase of energy requirements in today’s homes (i.e. TVs, central air, computers, and appliances all consume electricity on an ongoing basis), most newly constructed homes are running on 200 amp service panels.
As Steve mentioned last week, the first step for the home inspector is to assess the general condition of the Service Panel to make sure it safe to approach. Anyone attempting to touch the Service Panel should make verify the panel door itself isn’t charged. If the panel door is safe to touch, the inspector will open the door.
When inspecting the internals of the Service Panel, the inspector will look for burn or scorch marks. Burn marks on the inside of the panel indicate that electricity is flowing in places it shouldn’t be. This is a critical issue and should be investigated immediately to determine the cause of the problem. It could be caused by loose terminals or improperly wired circuits. Beyond burn and scorch marks, the inspector next looks for environmental issues, such as corrosion, rust, or water damage, inside the panel. Any of these conditions can lead to failure of the panel, which can create fire and safety hazards.
The inspector then ensures there are no loose or improperly wired connections and that all connectors are properly installed. Any issues with the connections could create possible deadly fire and safety hazards.
Join us again next week when we’ll finish up our coverage of residential electric systems.
As always, thank you for your support!