What have you done so far to start the new year off right? If you’ve launched a new diet and exercise program – and stuck with it this long – good for you! Other than personal resolutions, you can also strive to make your home safer in 2016.
Is your electrical wiring up to code? If you know your wiring is faulty, old or insufficient to handle your electrical needs, the new year is a great time to commit to a wiring inspection. Depending on the issues uncovered in an inspection, you may be able to remedy problems yourself with common fixes. Other times, problems are severe enough that you should seriously consider replacing the wiring in your home. In this case, ignoring serious problems simply isn’t worth the risk!
Signs You Need an Electrical Wiring Inspection
If you notice your electrical system behaving oddly or failing to meet your power needs, schedule an inspection with a qualified electrician. Examples of things to watch out for include:
- Tripped circuit breakers and blown fuses
- Flickering lights in windy weather or when using a high-powered appliance
- Excessive use of power strips and extension cords to make up for a lack of outlets
- Visible rodent damage
- Scorch marks or a burning smell coming from an outlet
- Popping, buzzing or crackling electrical system
How to Deal With Common Electrical Issues
Once you have an inspection, you may be able to remedy some problems without replacing your wiring. Use easy fixes for common electrical issues as you deem necessary:
- Missing GFCIs: Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are safety measures used to reduce the risk of electrocution if a wire comes in contact with water. GFCIs are special receptacles you can install without replacing the wiring. Each outlet located in the bathroom, kitchen, garage or outdoor area should be fitted with a GFCI.
- Missing AFCIs: Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) prevent electrocution caused by arcing. This can occur if a rodent chews on a wire, you accidentally drive a nail through a wire or an appliance overheats at the outlet. AFCIs detect arcing and shut off the outlet before any harm is done. An electrician can install these safety devices at the main service panel without replacing your wiring.
- Non-childproofed outlets: If you have children, consider replacing standard outlets with a childproof version that requires equal pressure from all prongs to stimulate electricity flow. These receptacles cost pennies more and make your home much safer for children.
Severe Issues to Look Out For
Some wiring issues are small enough that they don’t create a serious hazard. Others warrant immediate wiring replacement if you run across them. These issues include:
- Outdated wiring: Pre-1930s homes were built with knob and tube wiring. The 40s and 50s were a time of non-metallic wiring. Even as recently as the 60s and 70s, aluminum wiring was used in homes across the US. Discovering any of these known fire hazards warrants a wiring replacement.
- Ungrounded outlets: You know an outlet is ungrounded if it has only two openings instead of three. Many high-powered appliances come with a third prong, which you will be unable to use in an ungrounded outlet.
- Inadequate power: Constantly tripping breakers could be a sign that your home doesn’t have enough power. If your home is only powered by 60 amps, you may need to upgrade to 100 or 200 amps to support the higher electrical needs of most homes today.
To learn more about home wiring problems, or to schedule an electrical inspection or wiring replacement, please contact Mr. Electric® today.