Top Electrical Safety Items and Warning Signs
The most important function of your electrical system is to ensure life safety. Here, Jamar Power Systems has provided us the most common items to look for when it comes to electrical safety and the condition of the electrical work in a home:
Sudden Electric Bill Increases
Receiving an abnormally high electric bill can be caused by an electric wiring or an equipment problem. An electrician will check each circuit with an amprobe to determine where the problem is and make any repair.
If you get shocked while using an electrical device, don’t mess around and get it fixed immediately. This is very dangerous and should not happen. Even a small amount of electricity passing through the body can be fatal.
Non-Functioning Light Switches
Light switches that do not work, or have an unknown purpose, is a sign that your electrical system may have been altered or has a fault in the wiring. Consult a licensed electrician to troubleshoot the issue and make sure the circuit is properly wired.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are normally hard wired with a battery backup. They are important devices to alert you of a serious life-threatening situation. Test these devices monthly and replace batteries if they beep. It is recommended you replace the smoke detectors every 10 years and carbon monoxide detectors every 5 years.
Aluminum wire was used for branch circuit in the 1970s, but its use was discontinued due to problems with overheating at the connections. A simple panel inspection is the way to determine if your house has aluminum wire. If found, all devices should be replaced and tailed out with copper wire using AL/CU rated connectors.
Failing Dimmer Switches
Dimmer switches are rated for a certain wattage. If overloaded, they will run hot and will eventually fail. If you notice a hot dimmer, add up the wattage of the bulbs. It the wattage total is over the dimmer rating, you should reduce the lamp wattage or replace the dimmer with a higher wattage version.
Ground Fault Current Interrupter (GFCI) devices are found throughout the home, most often in the bathroom and kitchen. These devices should be found in areas where water is present such as kitchens, bathrooms, wet bars, the garage and outdoors. These devices should be tested monthly with a GFCI outlet tester or by pushing the test button on the device.
Circuit breakers are normally found in your outdoor meter panel and in sub panels located in the house or garage. Modern circuit breakers protect against overload, short circuit, arc fault and ground fault depending on the area served. Circuit breakers that frequently trip should be replaced with the proper size. Some very old breaker brands are known to be faulty and would warrant a service or panel change out. An electrician can easily offer guidance about your specific circuit breaker panel.
Improperly Dimming Lights
If any lights dim when other loads are turned on, it may be caused by an overloaded circuit or a loose connection within the circuit.
Failing Overhead Lighting
Most recessed lights have a thermal overload to protect from overheating. If your recessed lights work for awhile then start cycling on and off for no apparent reason, the device may be malfunctioning or over lamped. Try changing to a proper sized light bulb.
What To Do If Problems Persist
Safety around the home is a top priority. If electrical problems are occurring around your home, it’s time to contact a licensed electrical contractor. Without proper knowledge, you should never attempt to make electrical repairs yourself.