How can you tell that your electrical system is working properly in your home? When there is water falling through your roof or your central air is blowing hot, you can clearly tell that something is very wrong and what needs to be fixed. But other than obvious signs such as an outlet not working or the power going completely out, how do you know the electrical system in your walls is functioning safely and properly?
Be aware of your electrical system for starters. Be on the lookout for signs such as loose outlets, lights that dim when you turn on or off an appliance, flicker lights, sizzling or cracking sounds, or burnt smells when using outlets or appliances. Our senses are key in determining issues with our electrical systems in our home as is should not have any smell, sound, or heat to it. The signs mentioned above could be the result of your home expanding and contracting with the cold and hot weather and the wiring system loosening, and can lead to your system shorting out and causing fires or damage behind the walls where they can’t be seen.
If your breakers trip frequently you are overloading the system. If they never trip and you are in an older home this can be a more serious problem. Older homes were not wired for modern day appliances or the amount of energy they use, and some older homes have not been equipped with the proper protection. For example many old homes built before the 1970′s were built using aluminum wiring and knob-and-tube wiring systems that have all proven to be fire hazards.
So what should a home owner do? Trip your ground fault circuit interrupter or circuit breakers monthly. GFCI are used to reduce risk of electric shock and are required anywhere near a sink or water; kitchens, bathrooms, unfinished basements, etc. Homeowners should also inspect their electrical systems for small issues as mentioned earlier. Make sure everything is working, as if your home is brand new. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as required throughout your home, and check and replace the batteries regularly. When problems are suspected don’t ignore them, they will not just go away on their own and can cause serious damage if left unmanaged. And finally never attempt an electrical repair by yourself. If you detect an issue or are just unsure if there is a problem call a professional licensed electrician like All Pro Electric, Inc.