The Basics of Electrical Inspections: When and Why You Need One

Keeping your home safe is a top priority for any homeowner.  While smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are crucial safety measures, there’s another silent threat lurking behind your walls – faulty electrical wiring.  Regular electrical inspections are essential for identifying and addressing potential electrical hazards before they escalate into serious issues.

This guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to understand electrical inspections, their benefits, and when to schedule one for your UK home.

Why This Guide Benefits Homeowners

Electrical systems are complex and can deteriorate over time.  Without a trained eye and specialised equipment, it can be difficult to detect hidden dangers.  This guide aims to demystify electrical inspections, empowering you to make informed decisions about your home’s electrical safety.

What Are Electrical Inspections?

An electrical inspection, often referred to as an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), is a comprehensive examination of your home’s electrical wiring, fixtures, and consumer unit (fuse box).

What Does an Inspection Involve?

There are two main components to an EICR:

  • Visual Inspections: A qualified electrician will thoroughly examine all visible electrical components – wiring, outlets, switches, light fixtures, and your consumer unit – for signs of damage, wear and tear, or improper installation.
  • Testing Protocols and Procedures: Specialised equipment is used to test various aspects of your electrical system. This may include measuring voltage levels, checking for earth faults, and verifying circuit overloading.

Check out our guide on how often to do an EICR to explore the recommended timescales for inspections in more detail.

When Do You Need an Electrical Inspection?

Recommended Frequencies for Homeowners:

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) recommends homeowners have an EICR conducted:

  • Every ten years for owner-occupied properties
  • Before purchasing a new home
  • Following any major electrical work or renovations

Legal Requirements for Landlords and Commercial Properties:

Landlords in the UK are legally obligated to have a valid EICR for their rental properties, typically every five years, to ensure the safety of their tenants.  Similar regulations apply to commercial properties.

Benefits of Regular Electrical Inspections

There are numerous advantages to scheduling regular electrical inspections for your home:

  • Safety and Prevention of Hazards: A proactive approach to electrical safety is key. Inspections identify potential problems like faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, and improper earthing before they can lead to electrical fires, shocks, or equipment damage. According to the UK government, faulty electrics cause around 12,000 fires and 60 deaths in the UK every year [source:].
  • Compliance with Electrical Standards: Electrical regulations are updated periodically to ensure maximum safety. An EICR verifies that your home’s electrical system adheres to current standards, providing peace of mind and potentially reducing your home insurance premiums.
  • Long-Term Savings and Property Value: Left unchecked, electrical problems can escalate quickly, leading to costly repairs and potential fire damage. Early detection through inspections saves money on repairs and helps maintain your property’s value.

Common Signs That You Need an Inspection Immediately

Don’t wait for a scheduled inspection if you experience any of these warning signs:

  • Flickering Lights: This could indicate loose connections, overloading, or a failing light fixture.
  • Tripped Breakers or Blown Fuses: Frequent tripping or blowing suggests overloaded circuits or faulty wiring.
  • Unusual Smells or Noises: A burning plastic smell or buzzing sounds coming from electrical components are clear red flags of potential dangers.

Choosing the Right Professional for Your Electrical Inspection

To ensure a thorough and reliable inspection, select a qualified electrician who is registered with a competent person scheme such as NICEIC or NAPIT.  Look for positive reviews and testimonials, and don’t hesitate to ask for references.

Here are some questions to ask before hiring an inspector:

  • Are you registered with a competent person scheme?
  • What qualifications and experience do you have in conducting EICRs?
  • What does your inspection process typically involve?
  • Do you offer any guarantees or warranties on your work?


How long does an inspection take? 

The duration can vary depending on the size and complexity of your property, but a typical EICR for a home takes between 2-4 hours.

Can I conduct an inspection myself?

 While basic electrical DIY skills are valuable, electrical inspections require specialised knowledge and equipment. For safety reasons, it’s crucial to entrust this task to a qualified professional.

What happens if my property fails the inspection? 

A qualified electrician will provide a detailed report outlining any issues identified and will recommend corrective actions to bring your electrical system up to safety standards.  Don’t be alarmed by a few minor faults – the report will prioritise any urgent repairs and suggest solutions for long-term electrical safety.


Electrical safety is paramount for any homeowner.  Regular electrical inspections are an investment in your home’s safety, peace of mind, and long-term value.  By understanding the importance of EICRs, you can make informed decisions about your property’s electrical health.

Next Steps to Ensure Your Property’s Electrical Safety:

  1. Review the recommended timescales for EICRs as outlined in our previous blog post (link included above).
  2. Schedule an EICR inspection with Wave Electrical Solutions. Our qualified electricians are registered with NICEIC and possess the expertise to ensure your home’s electrical safety.
  3. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or require immediate assistance with a potential electrical hazard.

Ensure your property’s compliance and safety with our professional inspection services.  Contact Wave Electrical Solutions today for a quote!

We hope this guide has been informative. By prioritising electrical safety through regular inspections, you can create a safe and secure environment for yourself and your loved ones.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for general informational and educational purposes only. The content, including all 'how-to' guides and advice should not be a substitute for professional electrical advice. Electrical work can be hazardous and should only be undertaken by qualified professionals. We do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, or injury resulting from the use of this information. It is strongly recommended that you consult a certified electrician for personalised advice and to handle any electrical repairs or installations. Always adhere to local building regulations and safety standards.
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