It pays to understand and avoid common electrical mistakes as a homeowner. You’ll keep your home safe, prevent expensive repairs and ensure your appliances serve you for a long time. Electrical problems can also lower your home’s value or make it harder to sell. Here are the nine most common electrical mistakes homeowners make.
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Not Updating the System in an Older Home
Older homes have outdated wiring that might not handle the electrical needs of today’s appliances and devices. If you’re buying an older home, have an electrician inspect, update and safely modernize the home’s wiring. Additionally, you might find that the house has aluminum wiring, creating a fire hazard.
As your power usage increases over the years, you need to update the system to accommodate the higher demand. For helpful tips on updating your home’s electrical system, click here.
Not Grounding Outlets and Appliances
Many homeowners don’t bother to ground their outlets or appliances. This is a mistake, as it can create an electrical shock hazard. All outlets in your home should be grounded with a three-prong plug. If you have an older home, it might not have grounded outlets. In this case, you can use a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet.
Not Using a Junction Box or Overloading It
A junction box houses electrical wiring. If you’re doing any home repairs or installing new appliances, make sure to use a junction box. It protects you from electrical shock and keeps your wiring organized. You should also never overload a junction box, as this can create a fire hazard.
Running Extension Cords Across the Room
Extension cords should only be used when necessary. Never run an extension cord across the room, as this can create a fire (and tripping) hazard. Also, extension cords used in this way tend to deteriorate more quickly as well.
Not Testing Appliances for Safety
Test all appliances before plugging them in. Check for frayed cords, loose wires, and other signs of damage. If a device doesn’t seem to be working correctly, don’t fix it yourself. Call an electrician instead. Also, make sure to follow the recommended maintenance schedule.
Not Turning Off Appliances When Not in Use
Many homeowners don’t bother turning off appliances when they’re not in use. It’s a mistake, as it can lead to electrical overload and fires. Additionally, some devices still use electricity even when turned off. Unplug them when not in use to avoid escalated energy bills.
Not Having an Electrician Check Your Home Regularly
An electrician can help you avoid common electrical mistakes. They can identify and fix any electrical problems in your home. Make sure to have an electrician check your home and major appliances at least once a year. Also, learn how your electrical system works. You’ll quickly identify issues such as unfamiliar sounds, smells, or sparks.
Not Protecting Wires
Not protecting wires exposes them to weather and other elements, causing them to deteriorate over time. Ensure all cables are adequately safeguarded, extending their life. You can use wire protectors, metal conduits or electrical tape.
Even when running the wires through walls, protect them from fraying or sheathing. Frayed cables can ignite a fire. Note that fire inside the house’s walls can spread very fast to other parts of the property, and is harder to contain.
Mixing Wire Gauges
Always use the same wire gauge throughout your home. Mixing wire gauges can create fire hazards. Also, check that you’re using the correct gauge for the intended load. For example, using a 12-gauge wire for a 30-amp circuit can overload the wire and cause a fire. On the other hand, when a wire draws too much power from the source, it can damage the appliance.
Prioritize Safety When Wiring Your Home
These are just a few of the most common electrical mistakes homeowners make. Avoiding these mistakes will keep your family safe, avoid frequent electrical repairs, and increase the life of your home’s electrical system.