How to Look

at a House


A blog with answers
to your questions about
HOME INSPECTION
and HOME MAINTENANCE


More blog posts about electric service and distribution:

  1. How come my generator hookup got tagged as defective by the home inspector?

  2. How can I tell if the electric outlets are grounded?

  3. The electric panel is marked “Trilliant” and it’s all grey plastic. Is it alright?

  4. Why do you pay so much attention to electrical safety?

  5. How do the new tamper-resistant electric receptacles work?

  6. Why does that wall plug have push-buttons in the middle?

  7. What is the right electric wire size for a home?

  8. Is a bare bulb light in a closet alright?

  9. What is reversed polarity at an outlet/receptacle? Why is it dangerous?

  10. My bathroom electric receptacle/outlet is dead, and there is no tripped breaker in the electric panel. What’s wrong?

  11. Where are smoke alarms required to be located?

  12. What is the switch on the wall with only two pushbuttons for?

  13. How far apart should electric receptacle outlets be placed in a garage?

  14. Will the electric company remove branches rubbing against the overhead service lines to my home?

  15. Can wiremold be used at an exterior location?

  16. Why are Zinsco and Sylvania-Zinsco electric panels a problem?

  17. What is the life expectancy of electrical wiring in a house?

  18. What are the most common electrical defects found in a home inspection?

  19. What is an open electrical splice?

  20. What is the difference between  “grounded” and “grounding” electrical conductors?

  21. What is the difference between a Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (CAFCI) and an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) circuit breaker?

  22. How can I tell if a receptacle/outlet is tamper resistant?

  23. What is a Dual Function Circuit Interrupter (DFCI)?

  24. Can an electric panel be located over stairs?

  25. Should I follow the home inspector around during the inspection?

  26. What are the code requirements for NM-cable (nonmetallic-sheathed cable or Romex®) in an attic?

  27. How can I change a 240V circuit to a 120V circuit?

  28. Can old electrical wiring go bad inside a wall?

  29. What could cause an extremely high electric bill?

  30. How do I trace and identify each circuit breaker in my electric panel to make a circuit directory?

  31. Why are extension cords dangerous?

  32. What problems does having too many electrical outlets on a single circuit cause?

  33. How can I find out the size of the electric service to a house?

  34. Why are electrical outlets and plugs polarized?

  35. When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required?

  36. What is the difference between GFCI and AFCI circuit breakers?

  37. Why is bundled wiring in an electric panel a defect?

  38. Why are some electric receptacles/outlets upside down (ground slot up) in a house?

  39. Why is undersize electric wiring in a house dangerous?

  40. Why is a fuse box an insurance problem for homebuyers?

  41. What is a “backstab” receptacle outlet?

  42. What electrical hazards does a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) not protect against?

  43. What are the right words for talking about a house electrical system?

  44. What does “listed” and “labeled” mean for an electrical component?

  45. What does it mean when I find buried yellow "CAUTION" tape when digging a hole in the yard?

  46. How far away should a sink be from an electric panel?

  47. What are the requirements for NM-cables entering an electric panel box?

  48. How can I tell if the electrical service is 3 phase or single phase?

Welcome to our blog!
We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

Click Below to Link
to Collections of
Blog Posts by Subject

Search This Blog

    The State of Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Standards of Practice for Home Inspection, that went into effect on October 22, 2013, essentially overrode the InterNACHI standards for home inspectors in Florida, by stating that home inspectors must examine the “interior components of main service panels and sub panels,” which cannot be done without removing the dead front.


While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
©2015 - McGarry and Madsen Inspection.