Home Electrical Checkups
As National Electrical Safety Month comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to perform an electrical safety checkup for your home! Electricity is essential in our homes, powering the devices and appliances we rely on every day; but without proper safety measures in place, it can be dangerous. Follow our guide to inspect the electrical components around you home for safe operation, and contact us if you find areas in need of attention!
Switches and outlets
Faulty outlets and switches create fire hazards, and may indicate wiring or connection problems in the home. Walk around the interior and exterior of your home to identify all outlets and switches. Test their operation by turning them on and plugging in devices. Look for these problems:
- Warm to the touch
- Switches that stick
- Crackling or sizzling noises when used
- Plugs not fitting tightly
If you identify any of the above problems, please discontinue use of the outlet or switch until they are inspected by an electrician, and replaced if needed.
Electricity comes into your home through the electrical panel, where it is then routed safely to the needed areas throughout your home. Check your electrical panel for the following issues:
- Fuses and breakers are sized wrong: If you’re using the wrong size of fuse or breaker in your electrical panel, wiring can overheat which can lead to fire. Determine the right size of fuse or breaker for your panel and check to see that all existing ones are correctly sized; if you need help, don’t hesitate to call an electrician!
- Fuses blow and breakers trip often: This is a sign that the system is overloaded, and an indication of possible serious electrical issues. If you are experiencing this problem, you’ll need to have your system evaluated by an electrician.
- AFCIs (arc fault circuit interrupters) are not present: AFCIs offer homeowners improved protection from electrical fires versus standard circuit breakers. If you don’t have AFCIs in your electrical panel, consider having them installed by an electrician. If you do have AFCIs, make sure to test them for proper operation once a month.
Cords are plugged in to electrical outlets around the home to power your devices. It’s essential that any device you are using have a safe cord, to prevent shocks and fire. Look for these issues when you inspect your cords:
- Cracked or fraying cords
- Exposed wiring and damage to the cord’s safety coating
- Penetrations to the cord, such as nails
- Furniture sitting on top of cords
- Cords running under carpeting
- Bundled cords
All cords need to be in good condition; if you find problems, replace the cords and have devices rewired. Cords need to remain uncovered to prevent overheating, so never run them under carpeting and unbundle them when in use so they can receive the necessary air flow to keep them cool. Also, extension cords should not be in use regularly. If you find you need an outlet where one does not exist, don’t use an extension cord for long periods of time; instead, have an additional outlets installed in locations that are more convenient for use.