How to Look

at a House


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

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.


More blogs about electrical service and distribution:

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

  2. Is the electric panel big enough for this house?

  3. My circuit breaker won’t reset. What’s wrong?

  4. What are the most common homeowner wiring mistakes?

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

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

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

  8. What is the life expectancy of a circuit breaker?

  9. How dangerous is old electrical wiring?

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

  11. Why does the electric company want my house electric system inspected before turning the power back on?

  12. What is a double tap at a circuit breaker?

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

  14. Does this place have one of those “bad” electric panels I’ve heard about?

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

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

  17. How far apart should kitchen counter receptacles be placed?

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

  19. What are those strange looking wall switches in houses from the 1950s and 1960s?

  20. What is a lock device on a circuit breaker for?

  21. Can multiple neutral or ground wires be secured under the same terminal in an electric panel?

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

  23. Can wiremold be used at an exterior location?

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

  25. How can adding wood paneling or a wainscot create an electrical safety hazard?

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

  27. Why is an old fuse panel dangerous?

  28. What does it mean when a wire is “overstripped” at a circuit breaker?

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

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

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

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

  33. Will a GFCI receptacle that is not grounded still function properly?

  34. Does a home inspector remove the electric panel cover plate and examine the inside of the panel?

  35. Can an electric panel be located over stairs?

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

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

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

  39. Why are extension cords dangerous?

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

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

  42. What happens when you press the “TEST” button on a circuit breaker in an electric panel?

  43. How many electric receptacles (outlets) are required in a hallway?

  44. Why does painting an electric receptacle (outlet) make it unsafe?

  45. When were GFCI receptacle outlets first required?

  46. Where are GFCI receptacle outlets required?

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

  48. What causes flickering or blinking lights in a house?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  56. When did arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breakers first become required?

  57. What is the difference between an electrical receptacle, an outlet, and a plug?

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