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.