One of the most important but often overlooked parts of your home is your electrical system. It is essential to take care of it properly and prevent issues from developing that can be dangerous and costly.
There are a few basic tips you can use to keep your electrical systems working safely. These tips will help you save money and keep you safe.
1. Inspect Your Outlets
It’s important to inspect your outlets for signs of damage and other electrical issues. These problems can make your home a hazardous place to live and could lead to serious, costly repairs down the road.
Whether you’re an electrician or not, you should always check outlets for signs of wear and tear, including cracked, discolored or burnt covers. This is an easy job to do, and you can save yourself time and money by doing it on a regular basis.
Another important aspect of outlet maintenance is testing your GFCIs, or ground fault circuit interrupters. These devices detect water or moisture in an outlet and shut off the power to that receptacle.
A GFCI should be in all places that encounter water, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. They are also required by code in all new homes.
One of the best ways to ensure your GFCIs are working properly is by asking your inspector to test them. They will typically use a device called a multimeter to verify that the outlets are grounded correctly, which is essential for protecting your appliances and your home from electrical fires.
If your outlets are sparking, burning or if you notice any other signs of an electrical problem, call an electrician as soon as possible. This will help you avoid a major house fire.
A faulty light fixture, space heating unit, kitchen appliance, outdated wiring and frayed extension cords are some of the most common causes of residential electrical fires. Taking care of these basic issues can prevent the majority of these electrical fires.
2. Inspect Your Wiring
Whether your home is old or new, it is important to regularly inspect its electrical wiring for safety. Often, improperly installed wiring poses a fire hazard that can harm your family and property.
A professional electrician can check your home’s wiring and make sure that it is properly installed to comply with local, state and national code standards. This will ensure that your home is protected from fires, electrical shocks and other hazards.
If your home is more than 25 years old, it is recommended that you schedule an inspection every ten years or while you install new appliances. This will help to keep your electrical system in good condition and avoid expensive repairs down the road.
Inspecting your wiring can also give you a better idea of how much money your electricity is costing you per month. It will also allow you to know if there are any underlying issues that need to be addressed.
The wires in your electrical box are labeled to indicate which circuit they come from, and what the amperage is for that circuit. This helps an inspector confirm that your breaker is sized for your home’s needs and that the breakers are tripping correctly.
If you see any wires that are discolored, rusted or damaged, they should be replaced as soon as possible. The same goes for outlets that have a burning smell or buzzing sound to them. This is a sign that the wires are overheating and may need to be repaired or replaced.
3. Check Your Breakers
One of the most important things you can do for electrical maintenance in your home is to check your breakers. These devices are located inside your home’s electrical panel box and control all of your household appliances, lighting and other electrical fixtures.
A bad breaker is a big problem because it can prevent you from using electricity safely. It can also cause electrical fires, burn out your motors and electrocute people who accidentally touch an energized part of the circuit.
Fortunately, there are many ways to test your breakers and figure out whether they need to be replaced or repaired. Some of the most common ways include testing with a voltmeter, ohm-meter and Wiggin’s tester.
First, you’ll need to get a multimeter. This device will allow you to test the voltage of a circuit breaker by touching the black and red leads to a specific screw on the breaker.
Once you have a multimeter, you’ll need to take the cover off of the breaker box and unplug everything that connects to it. Next, you’ll need to make sure that the black lead of your meter is plugged into the COM or Common and the red lead is plugged into the neutral bar.
You’ll need to do this for each breaker you want to test. Once you have tested all of them, it’s time to find the one that’s tripping.
If the breaker trips after you turn off each appliance or device, it is an overload that needs to be dealt with right away. It can also indicate an older breaker that’s starting to wear out. This is another reason why you should have your breaker checked and replaced by a professional electrician at the first sign of trouble.
4. Check Your Faceplates
A faceplate is a cover secured over a socket back box, switch or other electrical wiring outlet. They are popular in both domestic and industrial settings, providing protection from dust, dirt and grime.
Various types of faceplates are available and are made from a range of materials including plastic, metal and wood. Some are snap-on, while others require screws or clips to secure them to the device.
You’ll also find different sized faceplates on the market. A basic faceplate will accommodate a single outlet, while a 4-gang plate will allow you to connect up to four devices, as shown below.
Some faceplates even come with built-in light switches and dimmers, making them ideal for rearranging the lighting scheme in a room.
There are also more specialised options available, ranging from simple wall plates to complex configurations that allow you to accommodate several devices on the same faceplate. The best part is that most are very cheap to buy and install.
It’s a good idea to inspect your outlets on a regular basis. These are a major source of power in your home and can be dangerous if they are not in good condition.
While it may be more than a little time consuming, ensuring that your outlets and electrical wires are in tip top shape will save you money in the long run. Having your outlets checked out can also help you keep an eye out for any problems before they become too big to deal with. This can prevent expensive damage or even worse, a fire in your home. It’s definitely worth the extra effort if you are looking to maintain your comfort and efficiency levels at home or at work.
5. Install Surge Protectors
Surge protectors are a great way to protect your home against power surges. They come in different forms and can be a good investment for any home.
When a power surge hits, the electrical current is pushed through a metal oxide varistor (MOV), which diverts the excess voltage to prevent damage to your devices. These devices can also help reduce the risk of fires, which can happen if a device is plugged into an unprotected outlet.
The average home goes through dozens of mini-surges a day. These small, transient surges won’t cause much damage, but over time they can break down the performance of your appliances and electronics.
Modern households have more electronic gadgets than ever before, and these gadgets are sensitive to power surges. A computer, for instance, is susceptible to a sudden voltage spike that can destroy its hard drive or crash the operating system.
Whole house surge protectors are a better option than individual ones because they provide protection to all of the outlets in your home, instead of just one. These devices also have an advanced design that can handle up to 80,000 amps of surge current, which is much more than most traditional power strips.
If you’re unsure which surge protector is right for your home, it’s best to talk with an electrical professional. They can advise you on the appropriate product for your needs, and they can also recommend how to connect it to your electrical panel.
It’s important to understand that surges can be caused by a number of factors, including lightning strikes and power outages. They can also occur from the motors in your appliances, such as your air conditioner or refrigerator.