Other means of Heat:
Baseboard and Wall Heaters are simple systems that produce heat locally. Over the summer they are left untouched for months and will accumulate dust, before the first use of the cold season it is best to remove the front cover if necessary and vacuum off the heating elements to remove any dust or containments. Always turn off the power supply to the unit before cleaning to prevent electrical shock.
Electrical: A licensed electrical contractor should perform all electrical work.
GFCI: any outlet within 6 feet of a water source will require protection from a GFCI. This only means that a GFCI outlet will need to be properly installed further upstream, any outlets that are wired in after that outlet will have its protection.
Common areas would include the Kitchen, Bathrooms, Laundry, Garage, Exterior
Outlets: all outlets that are accessible may be tested, most commonly found issues are loose outlets, ungrounded outlets, and outlets with revere polarity (hot and neutral wires reversed). Beyond that, outlets that are burnt, worn (plug falls out easily), inoperable, or are wired in another incomplete fashion will need to be properly replaced or repaired.
Panel: the cover of the panel is generally removed in the inspection, this allows verification of proper mounting, wiring, breaker sizing, and other components, hence why access to the panel is so important. At this time the inspector will verify that nothing has been tampered with. Any work inside of an electrical panel should be done by a qualified and licensed electrical contractor not only for your safety, but for the safety of the home.
Some specific panel brands are known to have issues and most home inspectors and electrical contractor will recommend replacement for again your safety and the safety of the home.
Federal Pacific Electric FPE: These panels are one of the most common in our area, typically found in homes from the late 50’s to the earl 80’s. The problem primarily exists with the breakers, they fail to trip when over loaded and, in some cases, may identify as in the OFF position but are still sending current through. Because of this all FPE panels we come across are recommended for removal and replacement.
These panels are typically easily identified by the “Federal Pacific” or “FPE” logo on the panel cover and or “Stab-Loc” on the inside.
Zinsco Panels: Zinsco or GTE-Sylvania panels are much less common in our area, we typically see 10 Federal Pacific’s to everyone Zinsco and they mostly are in the 50’s and 60’s. The problem with the panel also lies in the breakers, the most common failure is the breaker “welding” itself to the main bus bar and loses the ability to properly trip when overloaded.
Zinsco panels usually have their name printed on the panel and almost always have their logo on each breaker, but for a short time they were re-branded as GTE-Sylvania or just Sylvania. Not all the re-branded panels are bad, but it is always best to have an electrical contractor fully evaluate to ensure your safety has not been compromised.
Fused Panels: a fused panel has many features that make it unsafe but it’s not typically because of the fuse itself. A fused panel will protect from an overloading circuit just the same as a modern-day breaker panel, the difference being how to reset a circuit. With fused panel the burnt fuse is removed and replaced, some of these panels will not have a main shut off and so you find yourself in a position to potentially get shocked. The most common issue found are the fuses have been replaced with a size large to handle a larger load that our normal day to day life’s now demand.
Identifying these panels is as easy as opening the cover door, todays panels will contain breakers that look like switches, a fused panel will contain round metal objects with a glass window and light bulb socket on the bottom. Due to the fact that these are outdated, unsafe to maintain, and are sized for an electrical demand we have far exceeded, these panels should be replaced, as always, by a qualified and licensed electrical contractor.
- Flush all toilets and run all faucets.
- Remove anything clogging drains.
- Check drain stops.
- Look and feel for leaks under drains, around toilets, and below the bathroom.
- Check for proper water pressure and temperature. Hot is always on the left and cold always comes first.