Electrical Inspections: A Statewide Requirement

Since the 1950’s Minnesota law has required and enforced electrical inspections statewide. Many people don’t realize this until they try to sell or refinance their property.

Generally, Minnesota law requires all electrical work to be performed by licensed, bonded, and insured electrical contractors and their employees. Homeowners with strict limitations are exempt from licensing, but not from inspection.  A separate request for an electrical inspection form with the required fees must be submitted at or before the commencement of any electrical installation.

If you have had electrical circuits added, extended, or altered you should have also had a visit from your local electrical inspector. To find out more about the requirements for electrical inspections, how to file a request for electrical inspection, or to find your local electrical inspector visit:  www.dli.mn.gov.  inspector

Who Can Wire What and Where?

Minnesota law states that all electrical wiring shall be done by qualified licensed electrical contractors.

However, the homeowner is exempt from electrical contracting license requirements. This only applies to electrical work performed by the owner on single family residences and associated structures. Both primary and secondary residences, such as lake homes, are included. However, the exemption does not apply to condominiums, rental properties, and wiring not used for residential purposes (business including farming). An associated structure could be a detached garage, gazebo, or small lawn and garden shed, but does not include the 50×100 machine shed for the combine.

Safety is always our biggest concern, so before you start any type of the above wiring, play it safe and call your state electrical inspector. This phone call will accomplish a lot because the “owner exemption” does not exempt the owner from getting electrical wiring inspected. In this case, the owner is no different than the licensed electrical contractor who must get his or her workmanship looked at as well.

Advance contact with the electrical inspector will save you headaches later!

When Do I Need an Inspection?

Most electrical permits require three inspections: rough-in, service, and final. Call for a rough-in inspection when all of the new circuits are wired, grounding wires are in, the raceways and boxes are installed, and any necessary nail plates are put on. Do not cover any work with insulation, receptacles, or wall switches until the inspector has approved it.

Call for a service inspection when the service electrical mast, the electric meter base, the service panels, and the grounding electrodes and terminals have been installed. Wires must be visible without removing cover devices. Sometimes, the inspector is able to inspect these items during the rough-in inspection.

Call for a final inspection upon completion of the electrical work. Be sure that panel boxes are covered and circuits are labeled in the correct spaces on the box. All of the equipment, fixtures, switches, and appliances must be installed, grounded, and energized for the final inspection.

Annual inspections are not necessary. Upgrades are recommended when a home’s amperage isn’t adequate to operate the household electrical appliances.  Homeowners should have their systems professionally inspected every five years and should test the GFI outlets using the test/reset button at least twice a year. But at the first sign of a problem, like lights flickering or an outlet sparking, call an electrician. Depending on the age of the home and what appliances have been added, it is a good idea to have an electrical inspection once every 3-5 years.


  1. Most typically only think of getting their home inspected when purchasing it, or when they have an issue. Great tip to have the electrical checked out every 3-5 years. Thanks for sharing!

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