If properly installed and maintained the electrical systems in the home are designed to provide and carry electricity safely throughout the home.
Here are some basic steps to prevent unsafe electrical situations in your home that could result in serious concerns.
Avoid Overloading – Overloading an electrical circuit by plugging in too many electrical items draws more electricity through the system than it was designed to carry. This can create overheating and have catastrophic results.
- Fuses that frequently blow or circuit breakers that trip can be an indication of overloading on the circuit.
- Always use the correctly rated fuse in a fuse panel. As an example do not use a 30 amp fuse to replace an existing 20 amp fuse. This is a common error by homeowners.
- Using multi-outlet devices and extension cords can lead to plugging in too many devices into a circuit and overheating the circuit, the device or the cord.
- When replacing any outlets consult with a licensed electrical contractor if you have any uncertainty regarding the load rating for your home’s wiring.
Check for hidden Electrical Hazards - Damaged or deteriorated wires can cause shock and fire safety problems. Potential hazards can be detected by:
- Watching for dimming or flickering lights that may be an indication of a loose connection in a circuit, light fixture or the electrical service.
- Checking for overheated plugs, outlets or cords that can be an indication of overloading, possible faulty wiring or faulty equipment.
- Checking for any loose or damaged outlets and switches and missing covers which are potential hazards. Repair or replacement may be required. All outlets and switches must have covers.
- If there are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters installed in the home they should be tested monthly, as per manufacturer’s instructions, to ensure they are in operable condition. Consider installation of GFCI’s in appropriate areas (such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms) where water can come in contact with electricity if they are not installed in the home.
Avoid Damaged or Unsafe Cords – Frayed or damaged extension, fixture and appliance cords can expose wires resulting in electrical shock and potential fire hazard.
- Extension cords or fixtures/appliances should always have the marking of a recognized certification agency.
- Check cords regularly and replace if any of the following are found – worn or damaged areas, worn insulation, splices on the cord or loose/exposed plug parts. The third prong on a three pronged plug should never be removed.
- Do not run cords around doorways, under carpeting or furniture where they could be damaged. Extension cords are intended to be temporary and should not replace the need for proper installation of wiring and outlets where necessary
- Select the appropriate cord for the application. They can be designed for either interior only and exterior only applications and are rated in amps and must be used within the ampere rating.
A complete home inspection from Malcolm at A Buyers Choice Home Inspections in the Okanagan includes a visual inspection of the electrical systems and components in the home. The inspector will identify and report on any deficiencies and safety issues noted as well as make recommendations should consultation with a licensed electrical contractor be required.