As the electrical wiring in your home struggles to keep up with today’s increase in power-hungry gadgets, it may come under considerable strain. Signs of electrical problems may be obvious or hidden, but either can pose a threat to the safety of your home and family. Address these 10 common electrical problems in your home to reduce the risk of electrical fires. Some of these fixes can be handled by a handy homeowner, though some you should leave to licensed electrician. Never work on electrical systems in your home without turning off the power, or without the proper know-how.
- Overlamping. Using bulbs with higher wattage than fixtures are designed for increases the risk of fire. Stay within the limit listed on each fixture, or if unmarked, stick with 60-watt bulbs or less.
- Uncovered junction boxes. Avoid inadvertently damaging wires and the resulting risk of shock by spending a few cents on new covers.
- Lights flicker in windy conditions. This could mean that wiring outside where the electrical cable meets your home is frayed, causing a short. Contact your electrical company to address the situation.
- Too few outlets. Overused extension cords and power strips can overheat. Add additional outlets for convenience and safety.
- No GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interruptors). Older outlets increase the risk of electric shock in wet areas. GFCIs shut down the circuits immediately, reducing the risk of lethal shock; they are easy and inexpensive to replace by the handy homeowner.
- Overwired panel. Putting more circuits in an electrical box than it can handle may violate code and raise a red flag when you’re selling your home.. Add a subpanel or upgrade the existing one to prevent code violations.
- Aluminum wiring. Used in the 1960s and ’70s as a cheap substitute for copper. Aluminum tends to corrode when in contact with copper, loosening connections. This can result in arcing and fires. Your electrician can address this problem.
- Backstabbed wires. Wires not secured with screws can loosen over time. Remove receptacles, release wires and attach them appropriately to screw terminals.
- Undergrounded receptacles. Replace two-prong receptacles with three-prong receptacles. Rewire any outlets that aren’t properly grounded.
- Plugs fall out of receptacles. Replacing old, worn-out receptacles is inexpensive, easy and reduces the risk of fire.
If you have been experiencing electrical problems and would like your home inspected by a licensed electrician, please contact us at CMi Air Conditioning & Electrical. CMi has been offering quality electrical service and repairs to Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties since 1992.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Lake Park, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about electrical problems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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