Worried that your home’s electrical system may not be up to the job or even be a potential danger to your family?
Electricity touches every room in nearly every house. Even closets have wiring. Many attics and basements do, as well. With so many possibilities for defects and the fire hazards that accompany them, the electrical inspection is arguably one of the most important for any home.
Things change over time. A house designed and built even just 20-30 years ago wasn’t designed with all the additional electrical uses a family now enjoys.
Realtime Electrical Solutions assessments includes:
– Panel Inspection
– Plug & Switch inspection
– Attic Inspection
– Electric Equipment Inspection
– Photos With Notes Of Trouble Spots
If you suspect that there is an electrical problem in your home then you can have peace of mind after an electrical assesment performed by Kalin and the crew at RealTime Electrical Solutions.
Some of the things you might be able to check yourself are:
Electrical Service Panel or Load Center
The service panel, also called the load center, is the heart of electricity in a home. Either mounted on a wall inside or outside the dwelling, it contains breakers—fuses if it’s older—and wires that create circuits in the house.
What to look for:
Charring or burn marks
Pennies behind fuses (extremely dangerous, as the copper prevents fuses from blowing if they’re overloaded)
Breakers that feel warm
No main disconnect switch
Federal Pacific Brand Service Panel
If the load center is Federal Pacific brand, it needs closer inspection. Not all Federal Pacific breaker panels are defective, but defective ones are notorious fire starters. Look for FP Stab-Lok breakers. If present, the load center is an immediate fire hazard.
Many homes with aluminum wiring remain safe for years. But aluminum has (at least) two problems. Where it exists, the wiring is probably at least 40 years old and needs an update. And aluminum is softer than copper and doesn’t conduct electricity as well. Kalin says that over time, aluminum can expand and contract to loosen connections, causing a potential fire hazard.
Aluminum isn’t inherently dangerous, although it has issues. But some insurance companies won’t insure a house that isn’t wired in copper.
Push-in Connections at Receptacles
It’s generally accepted that push-in connections were developed for the DIY electrician. Most professional electricians wire in receptacles using the binding head screw on the side rather than a push-in connection on the back. Although they’re generally safe, Inspectapedia says push-in connections have less contact with the wire and can damage copper and aluminum.
Overlamping Light Fixtures
While it’s not a wiring problem, it is a fire hazard. Overlamping happens when a homeowner uses a higher wattage light bulb (lamp) than recommended for the fixture. With a higher-wattage bulb, the fixture can heat up, melt, and start a fire.
GFCI Protection in Kitchens and Other Wet Areas
Every kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room needs outlets with ground fault circuit interrupter or GFCI protection. GFCI outlets have a test button and some are labeled. But standard outlets might also have protection if the circuit is powered by a GFCI outlet in the breaker panel.
If you experience any of these warning signs, call us immediately:
✘ You feel a tingling sensation when you touch a plug or light switch.
✘ Your circuit breaker flips frequently or fuses blow regularly.
✘ An appliance gives off a faint rubbery or burning smell.
✘ Your outlet plates are warm to the touch or discolored.
✘ An electrical appliance has been waterlogged or submersed in any liquid (throw away immediately).
✘ An outlet sparks.
✘ Your lights dim or flicker.
The guys at RealTime Electrical Solutions are all about your family’s safety! Owner & family-man himself, Kalin Seamans has designed an essential electrical assessment that gives you all the answers you need. That’s Peace of Mind for just $75.00!
Whether your home is new or the oldest house on the block, there could be things going wrong with the electrical work about which you are totally unaware. Oftentimes, serious electrical problems are never noticed until someone gets hurt or a fire occurs.
That’s why it’s important to have an inspection of your home’s electrical system by an experienced neighborhood electrician at least once a year.
Here are a few items you should be on the lookout for in your home.
1. Loose Outlet or Switch
Sometimes new homes are built so quickly that adequate care is not taken to secure the outlets properly. As well as being an eyesore, they can be dangerous. Wires can move around and come loose from the terminals, causing them to overheat and potentially catch fire.
2. Cutting Electrical Wires Too Short
Wires that are too short provide a poor electrical connection. More importantly, they can be dangerous. Wires should stick out at least three inches from the electrical box.
3. Exposed Combustible Material from Recessed Electrical Boxes
If an electrical box is behind combustible material like wood paneling, sparks or heat from the wires can cause a fire. This is a good example of an electrical problem that many people may not notice themselves. For an experienced residential electrical service provider, that’s easy to find and it’s a quick fix.
4. Installing a Three-Slot Receptacle Without a Ground Wire
Many people choose to replace a two-slot outlet with a three-slot one so that they can use three-pronged plug in them. That seems simple enough, however, the outlet has to be grounded in order to be safe.
5. Too Many Wires in an Electrical Box
Too many wires in an electrical box can cause wires to short-circuit and can be a fire hazard. RealTime Electrical Solutions specialize in analyzing calculations involving the number of wires and clamps and knowing what gauge wire you have for your electrical box.
6. No Electrical Box
Wires should never be connected outside of a box. If there is a short circuit or loose connection, there is nothing to protect the surrounding area from damage from sparks and heat. This creates a fire danger. If you have something like a porch light or other electrical connection without a box, call a licensed electrician to install one and reconnect the wires within it.
7. Backward-Wired GFCI
Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are commonly found in bathrooms and kitchens near sinks and in areas like garages and patios. They protect people from getting shocked by shutting off if there should be a change in the current. GFCIs have two sets of terminals labeled ‘line’ and ‘load.’ If these are backwards, they cannot perform their intended function and the results can be deadly. If you discover that the connections are backwards, contact us to have one of our Rockwall neighbourhood electricians do it. This is one of the things we always check on a regular inspection.
8. Reversed Hot and Neutral Wires
If a hot, black wire is connected to an outlet’s neutral terminal, the result can be a deadly electrical shock. The white wire should always be connected to the neutral terminal. That terminal is marked, usually with a silver or light-colored screw. Because the mistake doesn’t affect the functioning of the outlet or fixture, most people don’t realize they have this situation until someone is shocked. If you discover these reversed wires, call a licensed electrician.
9. Missing Cable Clamp
Cable must be secured with a clamp. If it’s not, the connections can become dangerously strained. If the cables are in a metal box, the sharp edges can cut the wires. Metal boxes must have an approved cable clamp. Plastic boxes have different requirements based on their size. Your local electrician will fix this problem by installing the proper clamp.
10. Unprotected Plastic-Sheathed Cable
If this type of cable is left exposed to framing members, it can be easily damaged. This is especially true if it’s around ceiling or wall framing. A licensed electrician will fix this by either screwing or nailing a 2 x 2 piece of board that’s one inche thick along the cable.
DiY electrical work is never a smart move.
Whether you’ve just moved into a new home or have been in your home for awhile, we strongly advise you to have your electrical outlets inspected annually by an experienced residential electrical service provider like RealTime Electrical Solutions. Our experienced technicians can spot problems and fix them before they become potentially disastrous. Call us today to set up an appointment.
Stay Safe and Save Money
With Winter still dishing out some really cold weather, lots of families are looking for more cost-efficient ways to heat their homes. The sticker shock of their December, January and February electric bill got them to thinking about using a space heater to give their family some cozy, wintertime heat without the hassle and expense of traditional heating systems. Space heaters actually have been shown to cut wintertime heating bills by up to 30%.
Using several space heating units in one room can cause problems. The average breaker is a 15 amp breaker and the average space heater takes up between 10.4 – 15 amps. Using multiple space heaters can cause the breaker to trip. However, don’t make the mistake of using a larger amp breaker (30 to 40 amps), as this can easily overheat and start a fire.
Don’t buy a space heater that’s too large for the room because it won’t be a cost-efficient use of energy. Although bigger may seem to better, a small space heater can quickly heat up even the most poorly insulated room.
Don’t use a space heater if you’re not in the room with it. Many fires are started by space heaters that haven’t been properly attended to, so don’t let it run while you’re out of the house. Keep the space heater away from flammable items and materials.
To avoid danger to children and pets, keep them away from the space heater. Children are curious little creature which is why they should be kept away from the controls of the heater to avoid any risk of burns.
Check your smoke detectors to see if they’re working properly and check your outlets to see if they’re safe for space heater usage.
RealTime Electrical Solutions offers quality electrical services at a fair price. They provide residential & commercial lighting installation, house wiring, electric panel upgrades, outlet repair and installation, and ceiling fan installation. If you’re looking for an honest electrician you can trust, call master electrician Kalin Seamans on (469) 475-5488 and he will help you.
Fuses or breakers are designed so that if a current is high enough to damage the wiring, the fuse or breaker will detect this and open the circuit. That’s engineer talk for stopping the electric running through the circuit and turning it off!
Fuses and circuit breakers protect the wiring and shut off the power. If a current is high enough to damage the wiring, the fuse or breaker will detect this and open the circuit i.e. switch it off. However, unacceptably high currents can cause insulation damage and overheating that threaten to either damage electrical appliances connected to the circuit or cause combustible materials near the wiring to ignite.
Most people with breakers will just find which one tripped and flip it back on. This is not the best thing to do without paying some attention to what caused the circuit to be overloaded in the first place. Usually the home owner would have some clue as to what is stressing the electrical circuit. Did you just add a space heater to a circuit that tripped when the heater was in use for the first time, or when the temperature sank really low and caused the heater to stay on longer?
The real problem is that the wiring may be improperly sized for your space heater and all the other things you have already on the circuit. If this happens to you you may need to add a separate circuit for the space heater, or beef up the whole circuit.
Older homes may need electrical Upgrades. When homes are built, strict building codes and a professional, licensed electrician all but guarantee a safe electrical system in the home. Even a home built in 1950 should be perfectly safe today, if nobody has tampered with the wiring. Of course, since most people can’t live without a microwave and other modern appliances, almost no home goes too long with its original wiring. Most problems with electrical wiring occur when these upgrades aren’t done correctly. Microwaves, computers, space heaters, and air conditioners are the biggest culprits, but any appliance, even toasters, may require alterations to your electrical wiring.
So remember this, if a circuit is overloaded it doesn’t mean that it will just blow a breaker. It could possibly cause a fire to ignite! If your breaker is tripping regularly call Kalin Seamans and have him check out the problem. Kalin is a family man himself and he wants to keep your family safe.