With the cost of average home rewiring going as high as $15,000, if you’re looking to avoid those costs when selling your home, you need to know what to look for. If you have some of the more common problems with your electrical wiring, they could be fixed in moments or could mean that you need to pay for rewiring. When selling a home, this could make or break your bottom line.
Here are five things to look out for when you’re trying to sell your house.
1. Watch For Broken Switches and Loose Outlets
One of the most glaring problems to leave for an inspector to find are outlets and light switches in bad shape. These are problems are easy to fix and if you leave them in bad shape, you’re asking for a more rigorous inspection than you otherwise would get.
Broken switches or outlets that don’t work could just be the fault of something installed and never wired. They could also be a sign of loose wiring. If that wiring sparks or overheats, it’ll lead to conditions for a fire.
Poorly wired switches and wires also create the conditions for electric shock. While a shock from a battery powered item is scary and slightly dangerous, a shock from the power going to your light switches and outlets is fatal.
Just a partially exposed outlet creates the foundation for someone to get shocked. If they lean in to plug in something and accidentally slip and hit a wire, they’ll end up getting a shock directly from a power line connected to your house. When just plugging something in could kill someone, expect a home inspector to take note.
2. Sparking Outlets and Switches that Overheat
If you’ve noticed a little spark when you flip your light switch, it’s not as innocuous as you think. There could be too much power going to that switch, overloading it with amperage that could kill someone if a piece of metal is exposed. It could also mean that there is debris in your switch that’s being brushed off when you flip the switch.
If there’s anything remotely flammable around or if the insulation in your home is flammable, then it’s going to create problems for you. Call an electrician for help or to have the fixture replaced when it comes time to have the problem resolved.
If your outlets become warm, that’s usually a sign that repair is necessary. If you don’t have someone look at it, that overheating problem on a cheaper fixture may lead to it melting and exposing electrified metal. If an inspector notices this, fixtures across the house all become suspect.
3. Strange Odors
As the inspector walks around your home, they’ve been trained to notice funny smells that signify electrical issues. When smells come from an electrical outlet, it’s time to take action. That’s the first sign that a problem is afoot.
If you’ve just installed a new appliance, expect to smell something strange or unfamiliar. When that’s the case, it’s often that there is dust or debris in the motor or between the wiring that’s being burned off as the item runs. This could be paint on the appliance burning off, finish heating up, or another superficial problem that is nothing to worry about.
If this smell persists for days or weeks, then you know that there’s something wrong. In fact, you should take action and cut off power to the outlet as soon as possible.
In the case that it’s your fuse box or the breaker panel that’s giving off a funny odor, it’s time to do something about it. Get it taken care of before the inspector finds out or else you’ll be stuck having to take a lower offer on your house.
4. Products Not Up To Code
At flea markets and discount stores around the country, there are lots of electrical items sold at a deep discount. While they might seem like a good deal on first blush, a little bit of investigating shows that they’re not necessarily up to code. when this is the case, it can lay the foundation for serious electrical issues.
Cheap power strips, night lights, or counterfeit plug-in scent products are blamed for lots of electrical fires at homes. When they’re not up to industry standards, having them around could end up causing a fire. If your home inspector sees them, they’ll assume that there are other problems to look for across your home.
While these are often external products, they belie a misunderstanding of quality electrical products. If you’re not able to find products with the UL mark from the Underwriters Laboratory, hold out until you find a product at this standard.
5. Lights That Flicker
If you have lights around your home that flicker when you switch them on, close a door, or make any sudden movement, you’ve got several potential problems.
When a light fixture is dirty, the debris, rust, or trash gets in the way of the terminals to provide power to the bulb. This can cause a fire if it’s not controlled.
If the wiring to a light fixture is loose, fix it immediately to keep a fire from happening.
If there’s a case of a power surge, that means that your system is being overloaded with appliances. This takes a toll on both fixtures and appliances when they don’t get the kind of power they need. If this is the case, a complete overhaul is in order.
Electrical Wiring Requires Professional Help
If you’re trying to solve the many problems that come up with electrical wiring, don’t bite off more than you can chew. On the one hand, it’s dangerous work. On the other, it’ll cost more to fix mistakes you make than to hire someone in the first place.
To know some of the common problems with older homes, check out our latest guide before selling.