Don’t let electrical wiring problems catch you in the dark—look for these 10 signs of bad wiring & seek professional help.
When dealing with wiring for residential electric, Anderson homeowners need to take heed—never tamper with the wiring in your home. Only a licensed professional should do the work. When it’s working, the wiring in your home is invisible. But when wiring starts to go bad, problems can go unseen. To the untrained eye, good wiring often looks the same as bad wiring. But according to the U. S. Fire Administration, bad wiring causes more than $800 million in damages, more than 67,000 fires, and hundreds of deaths each year.
One problem is that many myths surround electrical wiring, and most homeowners are not qualified to fix their own electrical wiring problems. Yet try they will—the Do It Yourself industry is thriving. And while many homeowners can afford to try to fix a plumbing problem or put up drywall, they simply cannot afford to fix an electrical wiring problem, no matter how minor it may seem.
You can avoid serious injury and a major disaster by following these tips about common electrical wiring problems and their warning signs:
- Most modern homes are built with modern circuit breakers that have replaced the old-fashioned fuse box. It’s common for a circuit breaker to trip and turn off a circuit automatically. When this happens, you merely have to put the switch back. But if a circuit breaker trips frequently, you may be overloading and exceeding its safety capacity. It could also be a sign of a short somewhere in your wiring. Unrepaired, this problem could lead to a dangerous fire.
- Frequently flickering or dimming lights are a common problem in older homes, especially those equipped with modern appliances such as microwave ovens and desktop computers. Sometimes a flickering lamp itself is the problem—you should test the lamp or fixture in question in an outlet far from its normal one. But if more than one light or fixture flickers regularly, you could have a serious wiring problem. Consult a qualified electrician to determine if your household electrical system needs an upgrade.
- In the vast majority of cases, a modern circuit breaker is designed to hold a 15-amp breaker for maximum protection in most rooms. However, many homeowners replace those original 15-amp breakers with 20-amp breakers. This can be a fatal mistake because 20-amp breakers are meant for major appliances, not everyday use. Putting on the wrong breaker allows overloads to occur without tripping the breaker, increasing the risk of serious overheating and possibly a fire.
- Modern electrical appliances and light fixtures are designed to work without a hint that they need electricity to work. If your lamp buzzes when you turn it on, it could be because of a bad lamp or a bad wire. If you feel a slight shock, vibration, or buzz when you turn on an appliance, it could have a serious electrical problem. If a light fixture or appliance buzzes or shocks in another outlet, you need to have an electrician check out the wiring in your house.
- Electrical outlets should never be hot to the touch, never buzz, and never have char marks. These are warning signs of bad wiring inside or near the outlet. Another sign of bad wiring is a dead outlet. This problem could be caused by a loose wire or a faulty do-it-yourself job. Always have a licensed electrician perform even minor electrical repairs.
- Since electricity was first included in home construction, building codes have required that all home and commercial wiring must be done by a qualified and licensed electrician. When your home was built, all of the electrical outlets had to be grounded according to code. But over time, those ground wires can come loose. Or if one outlet is ungrounded for repairs, other outlets in the system become ungrounded as well.
- Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are required by code anywhere an electrical current comes in contact with the ground or is placed near running water. These devices save lives by preventing the potential for deadly shocks. Modern GFCIs have built-in testers and should be tested regularly. If one of yours is not working properly, it could be the result of a faulty GFCI. But more seriously, it could be the result of faulty wiring.
- Faulty cable splices, damaged or frayed wires, or cut insulation can be an extreme fire hazard and are often a sign of an amateur electrical job. A problem like this one often goes unnoticed. If any wiring work was ever done in your home by an unlicensed electrician, you should have that work reviewed and corrected by a properly certified professional.
- Once popular in the 1960s and 1970s, aluminum wiring can be a major problem. Unlike traditional and more-effective copper wiring, aluminum wiring expands and contracts as the seasonal temperature changes, leading to loose connections and a major fire hazard. If your home has aluminum wiring, consider replacing it. If that job is too costly, at least have all the connections pigtailed with copper wiring.
- The odor of burning plastic or vinyl is unmistakable. But in the case of wiring, it may be hard to locate and identify. But if you smell something electrical burning, consider yourself lucky—most warning signs of electrical fires are invisible, colorless, and odorless. Electrical wiring can heat up and “burn” for years before it becomes superheated and ignited nearby materials.
If you’ve noticed any of these electric wiring problems in your home and need help correcting them, just give us a call . We specialize in residential electric in Anderson SC and would love to help!
Home generators can save the day during severe weather. Here are some generator safety tips to help you use your generator safely and efficiently!
Never Use Generators Indoors
Generators emit carbon monoxide With no smell or color, carbon monoxide can be deadly. Operate your generator completely outdoors. Not in a storage shed or garage. Certainly keep it far away from any home ventilation as the generators exhaust can enter the home this way.
Store Generator Fuel Outside
Store generator fuel in an appropriate container and far away from a water heater or anything else with a pilot light! Fuel can ignite with the slightest spark and cause major damage. Certainly don’t smoke the fuel and keep an extinguisher handy in case of an emergency.
Don’t Directly Connect Your Generator to Your Home’s Wiring
A generator can send power into the lines connected to your home, damaging utility equipment.Newer generators can be installed with a switch that disconnects your house from the power grid when your generator is in operation.
Choose the right size generator
It is important to choose the right size generator and not overload it with too many appliances.
If you have questions of concerns about using a generator for backup power to your home, contact Isom Electric as we will be glad to make sure you have a professional set up so that you can be safely prepared.
Do you have an electrical repair or a project you’re moving forward on, or you want to improve the look of your home or business? Will you do it yourself, hire a handyman, or hire a qualified electrician?
Many people are looking for ways to cut costs when it comes to electrical repairs or additions. One way people have found is through their own attempts or hire someone that claims to be a qualified electrician doing work as a “handyman”.
While many handymen are capable of doing the electrical work you need, how are you to know if they are able to do it correctly? Most work performed during a project is hidden by walls, junction boxes, or a location that has limited access. There is potential for huge liability if certain codes are not met.
Electrical work is very dangerous. A handyman may have some electrical experience, but they are not legally licensed as an electrical contractor. You take a huge risk when you hire someone that is not licensed just to save a little money. If the work does not get done correctly, you could be stuck and end up paying more in the end.
It is important that you make an effort to find a professional electrician that can meet the requirements for your project.
Call Isom Electric to discuss your project and how we can help you get it right the first time.
Security Lighting to keep your home Safe, Secure, and Attractive
One responsibility of being a homeowner is making sure that your home is as safe and secure as you can make it. Locks and other physical measures can stop an actual burglary attempt, but well-placed security lighting serves to deter would-be criminals from seeing your home as a target. Here are a few things to think about when installing home security lighting:
If you have surveillance, it is a very good idea to make certain that the areas being monitored are well-lit. A poorly lit area will produce poor surveillance footage and not be helpful when needed.
Choose Professional Installation
There are many systems available that are easy to install yourself, but having professionally installed security lighting can make the difference that you need to be better protected. A professionally installed lighting system will be installed with higher quality equipment and ensure that it is installed properly and connected reliably.
Where Install Exterior Lighting?
• Dark, Shadowed areas
It is important to keep these areas illuminated at night either with motion activated lights or permanent night time lighting.
Putting these measures in place will go a long way toward improving the safety and security of your home. Security lighting can light help you avoid trips and falls and make it easier to find the keyhole when opening your front door.
Contact Isom Elecitrc for top-of-the-line exterior lighting systems. We look forward to handling all your lighting needs.
Memorial Day is right around the corner. For many of us, this will be the beginning of many weekends spent barbecuing, swimming, home maintenance, landscaping and other outdoor projects.
Whether you’re going for a swim or planting flowers, it’s important to remember that you are surrounded by electricity and that outdoor electrical safety shouldn’t be overlooked.
Consider these electrical safety precautions when you’re out in the back yard.
Pools and Electrical Safety
- Inspections: Before the warm weather arrives, have an electrician inspect the pool, spa, or hot tub. Follow up with any necessary upgrades or repairs.
- Battery-operated devices: Having electronics around the pool can be dangerous. Use battery-operated devices around water instead of cord-connected devices.
- Weather ready: Do not swim or hang out near the water before, during, or after a thunderstorm. Water and lightning are a dangerous combination.
Outlet, Power Tool, and Electrical Cord Safety
- Outlets: Check that each outlet has its own weatherproof outlet cover and keep it closed when not in use.
- Electric gardening tools: Avoid using corded power tools in wet or damp locations. Check all tools for cord damage, such as cracks or exposed wires, and make sure they are in good condition and operating properly.
- Extension cords: Use only extension cords that are rated for outdoor use.
Good electrical safety habits can help you make sure your family, friends, and neighbors are safe and free to enjoy a little outdoor time in your back yard this season.
A surge protector (or surge suppressor) is an appliance designed to protect electrical devices from voltage spikes. A surge protector attempts to limit the voltage supplied to an electric device by either blocking or by shorting to ground any unwanted voltages above a safe threshold (Wikipedia).
Many homeowners believe that adequate surge protection begins and ends with plugging their computer into a power strip. Unfortunately, that’s seldom the case. First of all, not all surge protectors live up to their name; some are little more than glorified extension cords. Second, a surge will follow any wire into a house — phone and cable lines included — and threaten fax and answering machines, televisions, satellite systems, computers, and modems. And third, as the owners in the Acton remodel discovered, delicate electronic circuitry has pro-liferated throughout our homes, leaving common appliances as vulnerable as computers to the effects of surges (http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,387874,00.html).
Plan ahead and get the surge protection you need. Call Isom Electric for surge protection for home or business and get peace of mind – inexpensively.
Did you know….
- As temperatures drop the demand for energy increases. This can cause a surge in electrical power and possibly cause damage.
- In extreme high temperatures the demands for energy may cause the electricity availability to decrease.
- The average home experiences multiple energy spikes during a 24 hour period.
- Many insurance companies give discount for homes that have surge protectors.