Angie's List recently published an article about 7 key electrical safety tips for homeowners. An integral system each of us relies on to light our home, run a myriad of appliances, entertainment devices and so much more, these tips may alert you to potential issues that should be repaired by a licensed electrician.
1. Schedule an electrical safety inspection
Older homes may have wiring that cannot properly handle the demands of today's electrical use. To discern whether your electrical system has been upgraded, schedule an inspection of your electrical system to ensure it is capable of safely taking on your usage.
2. Know your electrical panel
According to the Angie's List article, "as recently as the 1990s, faulty electrical panels were being installed in many new homes. Certain brands, including Federal Pacific, ITE Pushmatic, Zinsco and GTE/Sylvania, are no longer manufactured and pose electrical hazards that could lead to a fire. Your electric panel should never feel hot to the touch."
3. Understand your breakers
When your breakers trip, that is their way of telling you that there are too many things connected to the same circuit. You can either reconfigure your appliances or call in a licensed electrician if the issue continues.
4. Keep fire extinguishers on hand
The ONLY way to put out an electrical fire is with a fire-retardant chemical fire extinguisher. NEVER use water, which conducts electricity. Keep fire extinguishers on every level of your home. Know how to use them and when they need to be replaced. (NOTE: It is also wise to keep an extinguisher in the trunk of your car.)
5. Feel your outlets
Just as with your electrical panel, outlets should not feel warm to the touch. Any heat emanating from an outlet could be an indicator of an issue including loose or damaged wiring, the load on the associated circuit is too high or the wiring isn't up to code. If plugs don't stay put in the outlet or the outlet is loose, that's an indication it is time to replace them. Replace two-pronged outlets with newer, grounded three-pronged outlets. Any outlet near water should be switched to code-correct GFCI outlets. Be sure to have an electrician perform all such work.
6. Keep an eye on your lights
If your lights flicker, do not ignore this warning sign. This could indicate your panel may need replaced or that the circuit itself is over burdened.
7. Ground older appliances
All appliances should have three-pronged plugs that connect properly to a grounded outlet to reduce the potential for electrical shock. Any kitchen appliances with two-pronged plugs should be replaced. All kitchen and bath outlets should be GFCI. Again, always have a licensed electrician do all of this work.
To make sure all the electrical systems in your home are safe, up to code and working as they should, hire a trusted electrician to handle the job. If you need recommendations, please contact The Costa Group-we will be happy to provide the names of vendors we trust!
Article excerpt from Angie's List, author Bill Root.