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ESA or Elec Check: What’s the difference?

ESA or Elec Check: What’s the difference?

For as a long as I have been in real estate, if an Orangeville Home had aluminum wiring we would ask for an ESA certificate for our buyers; but, I have just recently learned that this has changed.  Now it’s called an Elec Check.  So what’s the difference?  And why do we need it in the first place?

Aluminum wiring was used in homes back in the 60’s to 70’s.  The reason it was used was the price of copper was too expensive. Aluminum is an excellent conductor and it was affordable.  Contrary to some of the sites I have read on the internet (because we all know that if it’s on the internet it must be true), aluminum wiring is not the problem.  It is not banned.  In fact, it can still be used and would meet code.  The problem with aluminum wiring is that the connectors need to be compatible with aluminum wiring.  When people change plugs or do any kind of renovation, they need to purchase the correct connectors.  The proper connectors tend to be more expensive than their copper counterparts and that’s where the problems arise.

Some of the posts I have just come across are so wrong!!!  Make sure you are getting information from a reliable, reputable resource.  If you are selling a home that has some aluminum wiring, your realtor may tell you that you will most likely need to get an Elec Check Inspection completed for the new buyer.  I know people do not want to spend any extra money if not needed but the Elec Check is looking for shock and fire hazards in your home.  Whether you are selling or not, I think most people would like to have the peace of mind that their home is safe.  You could also be living in a home for many years and decide to switch insurance companies and they may require an Elec Check Inspection or previously known as an ESA certificate.

The buyers will typically need the Elec Check certificate to satisfy their insurance company.  Buyers who have a mortgage (which is typically most) are required to have insurance. So if your buyer can’t get insurance just before closing date, they will not get the mortgage and your home will not close as scheduled.  It’s always best to know everything up front and ensure that the process goes smoothly.

The Elec Check is a non-regulatory service offered through the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). An inspection can be ordered on homes built prior to 1976 OR homes with aluminum wiring regardless of age. As well you are allowed to order an inspection for a home that was a previous cannabis grow-op but that opens a whole other can of worms.

The Elec Check is not free.  The cost is $399 plus tax. The inspector will come to the home and be there approximately 60-90 minutes.  You can expect the entire power to be off for up to 30 minutes.  The inspector will check outlets, light switches and the panel.  They do not check behind walls or up in ceilings.  If there are any deficiencies you are sent a report in the mail.  You will have 30 days to get the deficiencies correct by a Licensed Electrical Contractor that is ESA approved.  If there is major work to be done, the contractor may have to pull a permit to complete the work.  If there is life threatening deficiencies, you will be required by law to get them fixed.  Again, who would want to live in a home that has life threatening anything??? Because Elec Check is non-regulated, you don’t have to get everything done on the deficiency list only if it is life threatening but you will not receive your certificate if not completed.

Once the work is completed you will receive a certificate from the Elec Check.  This all requires time. If you are considering selling your home, you may want to get the ball rolling on ordering the inspection.  You can get more information on or speak with your Realtor ® and they can guide you.

I’m not sure if having a non-regulatory body doing the inspections is better, worse or the same as before.  As we go through the process we will keep you updated.  If anyone has had any experience with the new Elec Check service, we’d love to hear from you.

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