Make electricity your friend. Why? Because the alternative isn’t pleasant. It can be a killer, in fact. Things like sparks coming from receptacles or switches, lights that flicker, and circuit breakers that trip for no reason can all be signs of electrical danger.
Your actual electrical wiring problems may be less noticeable, than those above, but that doesn’t mean dangers aren’t lurking. Want to increase your awareness of electrical hazards in your home? Read the following Top Ten List, take action where you think you might be in danger, and sleep a little easier.
Top Ten Electrical Hazards
10. Overloaded or damaged extension cords. Don’t push it to the limit. All those extension cords and overloaded outlets aren’t just an eyesore. Even if you manage to hide them well, they are one of the most common causes of fires.
9. Excessive attic temperatures. Does your home have the larger diameter wires needed to accommodate hot attic temperatures? Are there bundles of electrical wires passing through framing holes? This isn’t a good situation. Heat can’t be dissipated efficiently in this way.
8. Aluminum wiring. Many homes built in the 1960s through early 70s are susceptible to this danger. See our aluminum wiring blog <<https://www.stapletonelectric.ca/has-aluminum-wiring-made-your-home-a-safety-hazard/>> on the hazards of such wiring.
7. No GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) outlets. CGGI’s absolutely belong in bathrooms or kitchens, outdoors, or near swimming pools. The ground fault circuit interrupter has likely prevented thousands of electrocutions. If your home’s GCFI is decades-old, beware. Some early-vintage units were faulty. Don’t find out the hard way that these vital electrical safety devices need to be replaced.
6. No AFCI’s (arc-fault circuit interrupters). AFCI’s are relatively new devices that can prevent one of the leading causes of fires: arc faults. An AGFI is a circuit breaker that breaks the circuit when it detects an electric arc in the circuit. Canadian Electrical Code requires AFCI breakers for circuits feeding most residential outlets. Does your home have them?
5. Not enough electrical branch circuits and outlets. Electricity use is rising in most Canadian homes. Make sure your home has enough branches to power new appliances and electronics. And get rid of those extension cords!
4. Fuse or circuit-breaker misuse. Wrong fuses, or by-passed fuses, are dangerous. So are circuit breakers are not set to trigger according to the load capacity of the wiring. Even “modern” circuit breakers don’t last forever. If they’re old, don’t take chances. Get them replaced.
3. Non-grounded or improperly polarized plugs and outlets. Grounding and polarization were introduced are there for a reason and required by the Canadian Electrical Code. Don’t be foolish and try to bypass them.
2. Insufficient wire gauge. Is your electrical wiring able to handle the load put on it? Be safe and upgrade to 10 or 12 gauge wiring.
Now, here it is, the number 1 electrical wiring hazard:
1. Old wiring. This takes a lot of ugly and dangerous forms: bare or frayed wires, crumbling insulation, and faulty switches. Homes over 40 years old are especially vulnerable.
What Can Be Learned From Electrical Hazards?
Even in the absence of telltale signs of faulty wiring, the best way to prevent injury and fore from electrical hazards is to have a professional electrician inspect and — if necessary — install new wiring, new outlets or a new circuit breaker. Doubts about the wiring in your home? Call us at Stapleton Electric. We know the Code, we care about the safety of you and your family, and we’ll make sure your wiring is done right.