If your home’s electrical system is functioning efficiently, it probably won’t cross your mind that you need to have regular safety inspections done, and carry out necessary electrical maintenance and repairs. Electrical fires that occur in residential homes are often caused by underlying faults in your electrical system and most times, are avoidable. Along with an electrical safety checklist, an electrician will be able to identify these faults and correct them before it causes any damage to your home.
Let’s look over a detailed electrical safety checklist to prevent anything like this from occurring.
Creating A Safety Checklist
There are a few important elements in your home that you should include in your home safety checklist. Electrical outlets and light switches should also be included in your safety checklist as it can be a bit tricky to solve these technical issues.
Your lights should all be on the correct wattage in relation to the light fixtures. Connections should be checked to ensure that there are no loose connections or problems on the electrical panel. You also want to have the varying brightness of your bulbs checked. Lights that are too dim, or too bright in some places indicate that there is a fault with the neutral connection. Light bulbs burn out quickly if they are low-quality. But there are other more serious reasons such as:
- High wattage
- A tripped circuit breaker
- Blown fuse
- Bad wiring on the circuit or from the mains
- Insulation close to the light fixture
Flickering lights are a sure sign that something isn’t right. It’s essential to use the correct bulb wattage for your light fixture else, it can overheat and cause a fire.
Circuit breakers will automatically switch the flow of current when an electrical hazard is present or there is a potential risk for danger. An overload in a circuit will cause the breakers to trip in order to prevent damage to your appliances and wiring. Breakers tripping commonly occurs every now and again, which is normal. But, if it is occurring often, you might want to look into why:
- Short Circuits: This is a result of live wires that have contact with neutral wires. This increases the amount of current that flows through the circuit and heat is created to an extent that the circuit can’t handle. You will notice something is wrong if the unit has discoloration or a burning smell surrounding the area.
- Overloaded Circuits: When appliances draw a lot of power connected to the circuit it can cause the circuit to overheat. This will damage your appliances or cause a fire in some cases. A load of electrical devices needs to be evenly distributed to lighten the load on other circuits.
- Ground Fault Surges: When hot wires and the ground come into contact with one another, the results are similar to what happens during a short circuit. The circuit breakers will trip to prevent a hazard.
Electrical Service Panel
It is essential to monitor the service panel in your home on a regular basis. It can be located outside your home in the garage or in the basement. We suggest regular inspections on your service panel. After all, it controls an essential function in your home and this minimizes the risk of electrical fires. Be on the lookout for any of the following indications that you need to call an electrician:
- Moisture: There should be no water around your electrical service panel as it can cause serious damage. If you notice any form of rust, it means that there are moisture issues somewhere in your system.
- Clearance: In the case of anything electrical going wrong in your home, you need to ensure you have a clear path to your electrical service panel as this prevents any time wasted in an emergency.
- Age: If your service panel is old and outdated, you’re putting yourself in unnecessary risk. Worn out, rusty panels are also dangerous and will not function as efficiently as they should. Consider this when budgeting for a new home or looking at general home maintenance.
The state of electrical wiring largely depends on the age of your home due to wear-and-tear, but it could also be a result of bad electrical work by a previous technician. Older homes make use of aluminum wiring or knob-and-tube wiring. This no longer fits the industry standard of safety and you should have them replaced. Unless you’re experienced in electrical wiring, you might want to leave this one for the professionals as it can become dangerous to work with if you aren’t sure of what needs to be done or what to look out for.
Here are a few things to look out for:
- Damaged wiring insulation: This is easier to spot to the common eye, but should be handled with equal care. Adequate insulation is necessary to prevent conductors from touching as well as protecting humans from coming into contact with wiring. Without proper insulation, electric shock or short-circuiting can occur.
- Improper grounding: The grounding system ensures that electricity flows safely to the earth. This is a bit of electrical jargon but it helps in cases where there is a short circuit or a fault.
- Overloaded terminals: Overloaded terminals will cause a loss in connection. Wires under the terminal need to be tightened. This is also a job for the professionals.
- Reversed connections: Polarization of outlets and inlets controls the electricity direction flow. If there are reversed connections it puts you at risk for an electrical mishap because polarization is aimed at making appliances safer during use.
Whether you’ve been staying in your home for a long period of time or looking at purchasing a new home, take note of these safety checks that need to be done. Failing to do so may result in costly losses that can be avoided. Call Art Plumbing, AC & Electric in Boca Raton for any concerns you may have. If you’re just realizing now that you might have an electrical emergency, call us on our hotline at 561-391-1048. And if you’ve been slacking on maintenance and inspections, our technicians have you covered!