Renting a house or an apartment is not an easy task. You have to scout through dozens of places to finally find the place that you like. The rent price obviously plays a huge factor in whether or not you decide to sign a lease. Apart from looking at the usual parameters, you must do some other checks, like the all-important electrical checks, before moving in after signing your lease.
Let’s dive right in.
Check the Age of the Construction
First and foremost, check the age of the building that you are renting an apartment in. If the building is new, then the electrical system will also be new.
However, if it’s an old property with little maintenance, its electrical system will also be old. This increases the chances of electrical hazards like a short circuit and electrical maintenance in the future.
Moreover, old properties do not have many outlets as there weren’t many devices to plug in back then. Ensure the rental has enough outlets for you to use. Do not try to plug in too many devices on an extension box.
Check the Grounding and GFCI Equipment
A GFCI outlet monitors the flow of current. In case the current fluctuates, the GFCI will cut the supply of power. Make sure the GFCI outlets are present in wet areas like the kitchen, basement, and bathroom. They will reduce the possibility of electrical fires and shocks.
Request for GFCI protection in the house if it is not provided. This will protect you from electrical issues like a short circuit. This might be something you talk to your landlord about.
Check the Condition of Outlet and Switches
Before you move in the rental, check the condition of all the outlets and switches. Check if all the outlets are three-pronged and the switches have plate covers. If you have kids, count the number of outlets as you will have to buy the outlet plugs for them.
Ensure the outlets and switches are not loose or cracked as they pose electrocution risks. If you notice discoloration, feel some warmth around the switch or hear a buzzing sound, it could indicate an issue with the wiring. Call an electrician immediately to get it investigated. Check if the circuit breaker box is working fine.
Check the Light Fixtures
Check all the light fixtures in the house you’re renting. The wall and ceiling mounted fixtures should be secure. Check the wattage in all the fixtures. The previous renter may have installed a bulb with a greater wattage than the fixture can handle. In such cases, the fixture could overheat and ignite nearby combustible items like paper or cloth.
The light fixtures also need to have a GFCI outlet wiring.
Check the Wiring and Outlets
Check if the rental has old wiring or the new one. Old wiring is made of either aluminum or knob and tube. This would leave the house vulnerable to electrical hazards such as fires and short circuits. If the house has old wiring, request the landlord to change them immediately.
Check for open outlets as well. Make sure all the electrical fittings are of high standards. If they are not up to the standards, either ask them to change the fittings or look for a new place. Do not jeopardize your safety because of substandard wiring.
Check All of the Appliances
When you choose an apartment, check the amenities and appliances that are provided.
Check for safety equipment and appliances like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and breaker box.
If they have provided electrical appliances, make sure they are in good condition. They shouldn’t have broken or frayed cords that could give you electrical shocks. Ensure they are not old as well.
Find the breaker box and fuses before you move in. Check that they are working optimally. If they do not work properly, then the appliances may get damaged due to power surges.
Once you cross off all the basic parameters and check the electrical components like circuit breaker panels and cords and wires, you can move into your new place without many other worries. Safety is something you cannot risk and conducting electrical checks will keep you and your family safe. If you are not satisfied with the current arrangements, either request the landlord to change them or start searching for new places in the area.