In a previous article, we discussed how to recognize Signs Your Older Home Needs Electrical Repairs. Regardless of your home's age, how do you know if it should be rewired and whether the same warning signs of electrical trouble apply? The following home maintenance tips will help.
When to upgrade
So taking it from the top, Hignell heeds the advice of the Electrical Safety Foundation International, which recommends that homeowners have their homes electrically inspected if:
- Their home is 40 years old or older
- Their home is 10 or more years old but has undergone a major renovation or addition or has recently had a major new appliance installed
- They have recently purchased a previously owned home (the upshot being, you might be unaware that an electrical repair was undertaken improperly by an amateur)
While the warning signs of electrical trouble are the same in homes of any age, we'll take a little more time here to explain why each sign presents a clear and present danger to your family's safety.
As you look around your home, let your common sense and good judgment guide your assessment. In other words, outlets and switches never should:
- Emit smoke, sparks or odors
- Display burn marks
- Feel hot to the touch
- Shock or send a tingling sensation through your hand
- Buzz, crackle or pop (leave that to your breakfast cereal)
Signs of trouble
Even one frayed wire can trigger a catastrophic fire, so don't take chances with fate; call the licensed electricians at Hignell. And if you're uncertain, call us anyway. An inspection will put your mind at ease; an electrical wiring upgrade might well save your life. Your home, no matter what its age, might be a candidate for an upgrade if you notice:
- Smoke, sparks or the smell of burning plastic coming from an outlet, which is a sure sign of bad wiring. So is the presence of burn marks or discoloration on outlets, switches or cover plates and outlets that feel warm or hot to the touch.
Any of these signs represents a significant fire risk, so follow our home maintenance tips to unplug all electronics, turn off circuit breakers as an extra precaution, and call Hignell immediately.
- A tingling or vibrating sensation when you touch a wall switch, appliance or outlet, which signifies a serious wiring problem lurking behind your walls.
Even if they contain high-voltage bulbs, light fixtures (and outlets) should never buzz, pop, crackle or even hum. Electricity should work effortlessly and silently, and when it doesn't, consider the signs an urgent cry for repair.
- Loose connections between electrical wires and switches or outlets, which are easy enough to tighten – just as cracked or broken cover plates are easy enough to replace.
Take it a step further by inspecting the internal wires here; if they are frayed, spliced, pinched or otherwise damaged in any way, call Hignell promptly so we can remedy this fire hazard.
- Flickering or dimming lights, which could signify a problem with a fixture or the wiring. Test the fixture on another outlet; multiple fixtures that flicker or dim often can be traced to an overloaded circuit.
Here and everywhere in your home, any wiring work undertaken by an unlicensed electrical handy person should be upgraded.
- Circuit breakers that trip frequently, which means your circuits are overloaded or you have a short somewhere in the wiring – a significant fire hazard.
Ungrounded outlets – or those that accommodate only two-prong plugs – should be upgraded to ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) where there is running water to eliminate shock and fire risks.
Not one of these danger signs will go away on their own; each one represents a safety hazard that requires immediate repair by the licensed electricians at Hignell.
So if we've flipped a switch – the one of recognition – light up the phone lines to Hignell without delay. We are experts in your home.
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