The Difference Between An Electrician and An Electrical Inspector

We get a lot of phone calls from homeowners asking us to do electrical inspections. Can electricians perform electrical inspections? The answer is yes, and no. Confusing, we know. Let’s first start with the basics: the difference between an electrician and an electrical inspector.


difference between an electrician and an electrical inspector: electrician performing electrical inspection for homeowner

Electrician, Sean B. from KB Electric LLC performing an electrical safety inspection.


What Does An Electrician Do?

An electrician is someone who completes installations and troubleshoots/fixes anything electrical inside or outside of your home or business. This can be an installation of your basic light fixture for your dining room, to a whole upgrade of your main electrical panel. We can troubleshoot broken outlets, and then replace or fix them. We can install whole home generators so when the power goes out, you’ll be all set with a backup power source. The list goes on and on…

The main thing to know about an electrician is that he or she is responsible for the electrical items in your home or business, but he or she is NOT responsible for the main utility lines/power poles. Things like downed power lines or poles owned by PECO would be PECO’s responsibility. But that’s a whole other blog we won’t get into right now…

Electrical Safety Inspections By An Electrician

Electricians can also perform what’s called an electrical safety inspection for a homeowner or business owner. This inspection is performed BEFORE any electrical work gets done. Once things are addressed, the licensed electrician can go ahead and perform the work as well to add/fix things in order for the home and/or business to be up-to-code.

One example of when this is performed: a homeowner may need an electrical safety inspection done by an electrician for when they are selling their home to see what work needs to be done in order to sell it. An electrical safety inspection performed by a licensed electrician involves:

  • Inspection of indoor electrical equipment (existing main electrical panel)
    • Are all breakers sized correctly?
    • Is the panel protected by a main breaker?
    • Is there room for additional circuits?
    • Is the gas pipe bonded and grounded?
    • ….and many more.
  • Inspection of outdoor electrical equipment (on the house or business’ building, etc.)
    • Is the service head secure?
    • Are there proper drip loops present?
    • Condition of upper and lower service cable
    • Meter socket inspection
    • …and many more.
  • Ensuring proper GFCI outlets are installed in the correct places to be up-to-code
  • Inspection of any existing outdated wiring such as knob and tube, or aluminum
  • …and other things.


For more information on why these inspections are critical for safety, please read our blog on why an electrical safety inspection is needed for safety.


What Does An Electrical Inspector Do?

An electrical inspector comes out to your home or business to inspect electrical work that was done by an electrician. This inspection is performed AFTER work is completed by an electrician to ensure everything was installed/fixed up-to-code. This is mainly for the township/municipality the work is being done in to ensure everything was done correctly and up to NEC standards for safety compliance.

The electrical inspector, also known as an underwriter, is employed by a third party. This is an unbiased inspection, because this is a separate company from the electrician that did the work, and someone who doesn’t know the customer getting the work done.

An electrical inspector is also separate from the township or municipality that needs the inspection performed in order to verify that everything is indeed up-to-code. A “cut card” is issued to the township or municipality by the electrical inspector/underwriter, which states that the work done by the licensed electrician was indeed up-to-code.  


The Difference Between An Electrician And An Electrical Inspector

The difference between an electrician and an electrical inspector is that an electrician can perform an electrical inspection of your existing electrical equipment BEFORE work has been completed, while an electrical inspector can perform an electrical inspection AFTER the work done by the licensed electrician has been completed.

So, when you call a licensed electrician asking for an electrical inspection for work that was already completed by someone else, they will tell you that you need an electrical inspector/underwriter. A licensed electrician can’t inspect work that someone has already performed. But they CAN perform electrical safety inspections before any work is done to let you know what all needs to be installed/fixed for your home to be up-to-code. The electrician will then make the necessary installations/fixes at the homeowner or business owner’s consent. 



If you are in need of an electrical inspector/underwriter, KB Electric LLC recommends United Inspection Agency. Please contact them at (215) 542-9977, or visit their website for more information: