Spotting Common Electrical Problems Before Renting An Apartment

July 5, 2019

You’ve been on the market for apartments for rent near Iowa City over the last few months, but you’ve had a hard time finding a place that you can trust. For some reason, you keep running into structural issues that make it an unsafe place to live. These issues included mold, problems with appliances, and even electrical problems that cause a multitude of issues that threaten the integrity of your apartment.

Of these concerns, electrical problems are probably the worst. They can cause fires that spread through your home and potentially harm or kill you while destroying your belongings. As a result, you should do a serious electrical examination of every apartment that you visit before renting. Though this might take some extra time, it ensures that you are protected from any dangerous problems.

Request an Unaccompanied Tour

When you’re looking for apartments for rent, and you’re worried about electrical problems, talk to the landlord about being an unaccompanied tour of the apartment. This situation is often possible if the renter is willing to give you the keys for an afternoon. If they act like they don’t want you to enter the apartment or seem a little shady about everything, you might want to find another apartment.

Once you set up a time for an unaccompanied tour, schedule at least 1-2 hours out of your day to look through the apartment for electrical problems. This step might seem like a bit excessive – after all, everyone is quite busy these days – but it can provide you with the insight that you need to understand the strength of your apartment’s electrical wiring fully and whether or not you’re in any danger.

While you’re there, you might want to bring along a friend who understands electrical wiring and who can let you know if there are any issues with the home. They don’t necessarily have to be professionals, though if you know a home electrician with skills in this area, you may want to consider bringing them along. If you have nobody who can help you, you can thankfully perform this step on your own.

Check for Common Electrical Problems

During your inspection of any apartments for rent you’re interested in leasing, you need to follow this guideline to find any potential electrical problems in a home. Make sure that you check every room in the house following this simple list. If you do, you’re more likely to spot any electrical problems that could trigger issues with your apartment and which could cause fires:

  • Inspect All Outlets for Stability – Place your hands carefully on the side of the electrical outlet and move it from side to side. The outlet shouldn’t shift on the wall at all but may have a slight give of less than an inch. If the outlet feels loose in the socket, then there might be an issue.
  • Remove the Outlet Cover – Use an appropriate screwdriver to open up the outlet and to check it for wiring issues. These include frayed or even broke wires exposed to the air. This problem is huge because it could cause sparks that are likely to trigger some problems in your home.
  • Sniff Around the Outlet – Plug a small electrical appliance into the covered outlet and wait for a few moments for its to power up. Smell the air as it runs to detect any odd odors. Smells often occur in a bad outlet and signify serious electrical problems. Unplug the appliance right away if this is the case.
  • Feel the Outlet Cover – While you have an appliance plugged into an outlet, wait a few minutes for it to run a while and then feel the cover. Does it feel warm at all? If it does, there may be an issue with the outlet that is causing it to run warmly, such as excessive electrical flow.
  • Listen for Any Sounds – Electricity is a powerful natural force but should be silent when running through your electrical outlets or switches. If you notice any buzzing sounds coming from a switch or outlet while it is in use, turn it off immediately or unplug the appliance.
  • Check the Switches – Turn the light switches on and off in several different ways to gauge how well they are operating. If you notice the lights flicker when you use the switch slowly, electrical issues may exist. Also, check the switches the same way you did the outlets – remove the cover, listen for sounds, and check for warmth.
  • Test the Circuit Breakers – Flick the circuit breakers several times to see how they react to this action. Typically, the power should come and go without causing any other issues. If other breakers trip while you’re triggering another breaker, there’s a good chance more problems exist.

Other steps that you can take include using electrical meters to test the power output of the outlet and checking power records to see if the home uses an excessive amount of electricity. These actions typically require you to leave the house and do a little investigation, though they should be done if you’re worried that any apartments for rent you’re interested in leasing have electrical issues.

Talk to the Landlord About These Problems

If you notice any obvious electrical problems in any apartments for rent near you, it is essential to schedule an appointment with the landlord right away. You should do this even if you don’t plan on renting the apartment anyway. Why? The landlord may not know about these problems and should so that they can take steps to repair them and to keep their future tenants protected.

An excellent landlord will listen to what you have to say and will be willing to make the necessary fixes. After all, they need to ensure that you are protected from any dangers for legal and professional reasons. If the apartment burns down and you are injured or suffer from severe losses, they will experience financial and legal ramifications that may cost them dearly.

After the landlord assesses and repairs these issues, take another tour of the apartment to see how well they fixed it. You should notice new outlets and switches in problem areas that you may have spotted. There should also be signs of wire testing and other symptoms. Double-check all of the outlets and switches again to see if any are still problematic. And trigger the breakers to see if anything adverse happens. If your landlord fixed these problems, the apartment is more than likely protected.

Let Us Help You!

So if you’re interested in high-quality apartments for rent in Iowa City, North Liberty, Coralville, or the surrounding Iowa area, please don’t hesitate to contact us at SouthGate to set up an appointment. We make sure that all of our apartments are as electrically sound as possible.

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