What does a Electrical Inspector do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Electrical inspectors might examine main power lines.
Electrical inspectors might examine main power lines.

An electrical inspector is a specially trained building inspector who focuses on electrical systems. He or she may work for a government agency which handles inspections, or services may be provided independently. In both cases, the electrical inspector's primary job description involves the examination of electrical systems to confirm that they are safe and usable.

Electrical inspectors determine the safety and effectiveness of electrical systems.
Electrical inspectors determine the safety and effectiveness of electrical systems.

Electrical inspectors generally like to get involved in new construction as early as possible, so that they can inspect the building site and the plans, which should include electrical diagrams. This early inspection can save money and time, as the inspector may identify flaws and issues which will need to be addressed before he or she will sign off on the building as safe for use. In the case of remodels and retrofits, electrical inspectors can also provide valuable advice at the beginning of a project which will be useful in the long term.

Training to become an electrical inspector typically includes a college degree in electrical engineering or extensive experience with real-world electrical installation.
Training to become an electrical inspector typically includes a college degree in electrical engineering or extensive experience with real-world electrical installation.

In the case of fully installed systems, the electrical inspector is concerned with several issues. The first is whether or not the system meets building codes such as the National Electrical Code® used in the United States. The second is whether or not the system is safe, a concern which is usually addressed by systems which are up to code. Finally, the electrical inspector must determine whether or not the system will operate as desired, and handle the load which will be placed on it. In some cases, a system may be up to code, but not fully able to deal with the situations it may encounter.

Electrical inspectors generally like to get involved in new construction as early as possible, so that they can inspect the building site and the plans.
Electrical inspectors generally like to get involved in new construction as early as possible, so that they can inspect the building site and the plans.

Electrical inspectors examine everything from the connection of the main line to the wiring of individual outlets. They also inspect appliances which are hardwired into a structure, and they may examine appliances which are simply plugged in to confirm that they will work properly with the electrical system.

Government employees are required to inspect electrical systems and to sign off on them if they are safe and ready for use, or to make recommendations for changes which must be followed to get the system certified. These inspectors are concerned with public safety and upholding basic standards in construction. Private inspectors may be hired to inspect a prospective real estate purchase, provide advice about the retrofit of an existing system, or to investigate the causes of an electrical problem. Training to become an electrical inspector typically includes a college degree in electrical engineering, and/or extensive experience with real world electrical installation.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

drtroubles

Becoming an electrical inspector is a great option for those who are looking for a good trade career with decent pay and a good availability of jobs. Electrical inspectors are not electricians and aren't required to know how to fix what they find. They just are trained to spot the problems.

Depending on your background and the courses you take, as well as whether you specialize in home inspection or commercial ones, salary can range from around $48,000USD per year up to around $173,000USD per year.

It really depends on whom you are working for. For example, insurance companies often keep electrical inspectors on hand to help with home insurance claims and those relating to commercial properties, and they pay quite well.

popcorn

If you are thinking about buying an older home is it possible to hire an independent electrical inspector to come in and check the wiring?

I have heard that older homes may not be up to code and have a higher chance of having faulty wiring throughout.

I would like to have an electrical inspector check out the home I am looking at before I buy. Much like a housing inspector does with the more visible aspects of the home.

If it is possible to have an independent electrical inspector come into the home you are looking at, how much it would cost to have them check out all the wiring in the house?

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    • Electrical inspectors might examine main power lines.
      By: marcincom
      Electrical inspectors might examine main power lines.
    • Electrical inspectors determine the safety and effectiveness of electrical systems.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      Electrical inspectors determine the safety and effectiveness of electrical systems.
    • Training to become an electrical inspector typically includes a college degree in electrical engineering or extensive experience with real-world electrical installation.
      By: michaeljung
      Training to become an electrical inspector typically includes a college degree in electrical engineering or extensive experience with real-world electrical installation.
    • Electrical inspectors generally like to get involved in new construction as early as possible, so that they can inspect the building site and the plans.
      By: red150770
      Electrical inspectors generally like to get involved in new construction as early as possible, so that they can inspect the building site and the plans.
    • Government employees are required to inspect electrical systems and to make recommendations for changes.
      By: Kadmy
      Government employees are required to inspect electrical systems and to make recommendations for changes.