Buying a fixer-upper is a task for sure. It’s vital that your clients are aware of what kind of upgrades the home will need, especially if they plan to sell it at any point in the future.

Getting the systems up to code is going to be imperative, but most importantly, they need to know if the electrical system needs immediate attention.

Below is a checklist of tips that can be used during a quick pass-through of the house to determine whether your client needs an electrician’s intervention.

1. Dimming or flickering lights

First things first: Make sure your buyers flip on a few light switches. If they notice flickering light bulbs or the dimming of lights in the house as they turn on the lights, this can be a sign of an overloaded circuit.

Flickering or dimming isn’t always a sign of a problem — as new lights or devices turn on, they pull more amps from the circuit than they would when running at a steady pace.

But, if the flickering and dimming happens steadily or often, this might be an indication of faulty wiring or a bad circuit breaker that needs work from an electrician.

2. Use your ears

If your clients hear buzzing when the lights in the house are on, this is a problem.

This buzzing could be a sign of faulty wiring in the circuit, most likely near the outlet or switch. It could prove more dangerous in the future — plus, that buzzing gets annoying.

Lisa F. Young /

Lisa F. Young /

3. Damaged wires

Make sure they check around for exposed wires. Wire coverings can be damaged in a variety of ways — age, bending, corrosion or even heat.

When electrical wiring becomes exposed, this brings about a high risk of danger and potential fires depending on the wire’s surroundings. A professional should quickly replace damaged wires.

4. Outlets

Suggest your clients take a glance at the outlets around the home. If it was built after 1970, the house should have three-pronged outlets. If built after 1990, the three-pronged outlets should have ground fault interrupter outlets.

These features ground the outlet and prevent individuals from being shocked if an electrical issue arises. These are electrical standards, and if the house features only two-pronged outlets, you’re going to want to bring in an electrician to update the house’s wiring.

5. Shocked

If a slight buzz, shock or tingle is felt when your buyer is flipping switches or touching an appliance, the ground fault we talked about in no. 4 might not be operating correctly, or improper wiring might also be at fault.

If you can rule out common static shocks in the wintertime, an electrician should look into grounding or replacing wires.

Keep in mind that these are only obvious physical clues, and even if they aren’t present in the house, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems going on with the house’s wiring. Suggesting a visit from an electrician to your clients can never hurt.

Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating, AC and Electrical has served the 495 /128 area of Massachusetts since 1928. You can find more information on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Email Andy Rodenhiser.

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