Homeowners Insurance Requires a 4 Point Inspection
A 4 point home inspection is a requirement for Florida homes in order to get a homeowners insurance policy. The inspection is named as such because it covers four areas: roof, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing. We have extensive experience in solving electrical inspection issues for Florida homeowners. Although not limited to these, here are some of most significant problem areas that we specialize in for helping with 4 point home inspections.
The main panel for a home is the entry and control point for the building's entire electrical system. As such, it must undergo rigorous safety checks to pass a 4 point home inspection. Several problem areas should be addressed in any main panel.
The first area of concern is the type of main panel itself. Certain brands of electric panels, including Federal Pacific, Zinsco, Challenger, and Sylvania, are now considered to be a fire hazard. If any of these are present, replacement of the main panel is a common corrective action.
In many homes and businesses, the electrical service demands have increased since the original construction. This may have resulted in an electric panel that has an amperage rating insufficient to adequately supply the building.
The addition of heat pumps or moving to all electric appliances can cause a pre-existing main panel to be insufficient for modern demands. In this case, the main panel and electric service should be upgraded to handle the new amperage requirements.
In some cases, there could be one or more secondary panels. All secondary electric panels fall under the same requirements and restrictions as the main panel, and must also pass inspection. This includes outdated models and amperage requirements.
Breakers, sometimes referred to as a circuit breaker, are the electrical controllers that reside inside of the electrical control panels. They are designed to trip or cut off if an excessive amperage is drawn through it. By turning off the power to the circuit powered by the breaker, damage and fires can be avoided.
But like all electrical components, breakers can malfunction. A common problem with a breaker is that it trips well before its rated amperage load is reached. A tripping breaker can be very annoying since it can leave you in the dark or make it difficult to use electrical conveniences without making a trip to the main panel to reset it.
Because a tripping breaker is potentially unsafe and forces the homeowner to handle the potentially dangerous main panel controls, it needs to be replaced to pass a 4 point home inspection. We can replace faulty breakers as required to keep your electrical system working as it should.
Sometimes a tripping breaker is not caused by a malfunctioning breaker, but because the electrical demands for that circuit have grown over time. Everybody loves those convenient kitchen gadgets, but they can increase the load for the servicing circuit.
If the service requirements for a given circuit have grown beyond the load rating for the breaker, it should be replaced with a higher rated version that can adequately handle the amperage. When replacing the breaker, care should be taken to make sure that the electrical wiring is also capable of handling the required load. If not, it too should be updated.
In some cases, the need to replace or update breakers can lead to an update of the main panel to eliminate outdated models that are fire hazards. Once correctly updated, the home electrical system will have a much better chance of passing a 4 point home inspection.
Cloth and Aluminum Wiring
Cloth electrical wiring is the predecessor to today's plastic coated wiring. This type of wiring is usually found in homes constructed before 1960. It consists of copper wire covered in a sheath of cotton or rayon.
Not all cloth wiring is terrible, but the cloth sheath insulation can break down over time. This can lead to power losses and safety issues. The insulation can also become cracked and brittle, creating a point of failure. The best way to deal with this kind of faulty wiring is to replace it.
A home that has cloth wiring may have electrical circuits that are not correctly designed to handle today's increased electrical requirements. In some cases, we can add additional circuits using modern wire that can lessen the load on the existing system while maintaining safety and convenience.
Aluminum Wiring in a home can have problems similar to cloth wiring and should be examined for condition and electrical load capability. Additional circuits or wiring updates can help a house with aluminum wiring to pass a 4 point home inspection.
Knob and Tube Wiring
Knob and tube (K&T) wiring is an outdated home electrical system that uses ceramic insulators (the knobs) and tubes to tie and run wires. This wiring type does not support ground conductors and uses inline splices without a junction box. This creates a fire and shock hazard.
Many insurance companies will not cover a home with K&T wiring, and it will fail a 4 point home inspection. We recommend replacing K&T with modern residential wiring, and we have the expertise to do this as painlessly as possible.
Exposed or Loose Wiring
Exposed wires are an inherent safety hazard and will fail inspection. Many times wires are exposed due to missing covers or improper installation. The only way to correct these issues is to replace missing components or redo the wiring as needed so that the wire fits as it should.
Loose wiring is another problem that often comes from improper installation. But it can also happen as homes age and go through their patterns of expansion and contraction throughout the different seasons. Wiring that is pulled tight around corners and edges are especially susceptible to this natural home movement.
Such wiring can create electrical shorts and arcing, creating a safety hazard. To fix this, it can be as simple as adjusting clamps and retightening connection points. In some cases, wires may have to be rerouted or replaced to have the proper slack required to safely accommodate house movement.
Many electrical components are metal in composition and are susceptible to corrosion if exposed to moisture. Most 4 point home inspections check for corroded components in a home electrical system, and their presence can cause an inspection failure. We can repair or replace corrosion as needed to pass an inspection.
We specialize in fixing electrical issues and bringing homes up to code. Contact us today to see how we can fix your 4 point home inspection electrical problems.