Electrical Services

Electrical outlet diagramMaintaining your home’s electrical system in good repair is vital for your safety. Although your home’s electrical system can be complicated, you need to recognize its warning signs, such as: fuses or breakers that pop frequently, singe marks around outlets, repetitive loss of power to a certain appliance, loose grip on electrical plugs, worn electrical cords. Ignoring warning signs can place you and your home in danger from fire. To be safe, use the following check list.

Checklist for the Electrical System:

ELECTRICAL CORDS. Electrical extension cords should not be used on a permanent basis because they don’t meet housing code requirements and can overheat. Electrical cords can become damaged and unsafe if they run under furniture or carpets, or if they have been attached to walls with staples or nails; these need to be replaced immediately. Damaged electrical cords, especially those that are frayed or cracked, may cause shock or fire.

It is preferable to plug electrical appliances and devices directly into an outlet: have additional outlets installed by a licensed electrician or use a grounded outlet adapter (which is also called an outlet or power strip). Three-prong plugs include a grounding feature. Never remove the third prong for use in a 2-hole outlet. A temporary solution for 2-hole outlets is to use an adapter, but a better perma¬nent solution is to have an electrician install a properly grounded outlet. Finally, keep cords out of the flow of traffic in your home because they may cause someone to trip.

OUTLETS AND SWITCHES. All outlets and switches should have cover plates because exposed wiring presents a shock hazard. Warm or hot outlets, switches, or appliances which cause slight tingling when touched indicate unsafe wiring. Unplug cords and appliances, do not use switches, and contact an electrician as soon as possible.

CIRCUIT BREAKERS/FUSES. If too many appliances are plugged into a single outlet, you may blow a fuse or breaker. A blown fuse or breaker tells you that something is wrong. Try plugging some appliances into a different outlet that’s not on the same circuit. When you replace a fuse, be certain that correct size fuses are used because replacing with a larger size fuse is a fire danger.

GROUND FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTER (GFCI). If an appliance falls into water, the (correctly functioning) GFCI outlet will automatically cut off power and thereby eliminate the danger of electrocution. Unplug appliances when not in use, and install GFCI’s in your kitchen and bathroom outlets to protect yourself. An electrician should do the installation of these GFCI outlets. GFCI’s need to be tested monthly; plug a lamp into the GFCI outlet then press the “TEST” button.

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