? The Secret About Electrical Inspections
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The Secret About Electrical Inspections

Learn how your home theater's design may require you to get an electrical inspection

In most municipalities, an electrical inspection is required by law if anything is done to your home's electrical wiring. The idea is to protect you and your home from any electrical hazards. The electrical inspector will examine the work done by the electrical contractor according to the National Electrical Code (U.S) or the Canadian Electrical Code (Canada). Electrical contractors are governed by similar electrical codes in other countries.

Is there a fee? It depends. If you bought an electrical permit, then the cost of the electrical inspection is usually included. If a permit was not purchased, the price you'll pay will be based on the number of items (outlets, etc.) the inspector checks. You're looking at a few bucks a pop. They will only inspect any changes that were made and won't check existing wiring throughout the rest of your house.

Its possible the inspector may want to see the wiring before the drywall goes up. Be sure to ask the electrician if this will be the case so you can schedule the inspection sooner rather than later. The longer it takes for the inspector to swing by only delays your enjoyment of your finished theater. If problems are found, the inspector will require you (or the electrical contractor) to get them fixed before he approves the inspection.

Usually they will only care to do a final inspection where they'll check for:

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  • The proper wiring of outlets using an outlet tester. These check for reversed hot-ground connections as well as neutrals and open grounds.
  • Confirm that the total wattage of all light fixtures on a particular lighting circuit doesn't exceed the rating of the light switch.
  • Check for any exposed wires.
  • Makes sure any visible electrical wiring is correctly secured.

In small communities, its possible the inspector may not even bother to do an electrical inspection of the contractor's work as they may know each other. If this is what the electrician tells you, you should push for an electrical inspection anyway. You'll be covering yourself in case of a fire or injury thats caused by the electrician's work.

If you're getting an electrical contractor to do the work for you, they are the ones who would get the permit and pass the cost on to you. Permits for renovation work run from $25 to $75. These prices are set by your municipality. If you choose to do the work yourself, you should check with your municipality to see if they even allow it.

If you feel comfortable doing your electrical work yourself, thats fine. Just be aware that people have died doing their own electrical changes. Its important that you be realistic about your skills. Just because you can install a new graphics card in your PC doesn't make you an electrician, so be smart and leave the big jobs to the professionals. You'll get better quality and the job will be done right.

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