People face hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage due to electrical system failure in their homes every year. What’s worse is that not only does it cost money, but it also costs a lot of people their lives. Especially if you have young children in your house, a faulty electrical system can be a serious problem. Even a single problem in the entire electrical system could compromise the safety of your home.
A short circuit or a bad bit of wiring in one part of your home can impact the electrical supply of the entire house. Moreover, any appliances that are plugged into the electricity supply when something goes wrong can also be severely damaged. While there are a number of electrical protection solutions available, the best option is to address the electrical system itself. Here are some useful tips that will help in ensuring your electrical appliances work the way they should.
Main Panel Inspection
The heart of the electrical system in your home is the main control panel. This is that box in the basement or out in the garage that contains numerous breakers. These breakers are responsible for the electricity supply to different parts of your home. Start by checking the condition of these breakers and ensure they are working as they should. There shouldn’t be any rust on them, there shouldn’t be signs of rodent activity, and the panel board itself should be tightly sealed. Before testing, unplug any major appliances and let everyone know that you are going to be turning the lights on and off. Then, one by one, check all the breakers to make sure they are working as they should be and that they are in good condition.
One thing that people often don’t look into is the wiring. While it won’t be possible to inspect the wire within the walls and other sealed places, you can check all the exposed wiring. If you are having new lights or any new electrical equipment installed by a local electrician, ask them to have a look at the existing wiring when they get to that part. Since the wires are continuously exposed to the elements, it is not uncommon for them to break, chip, get burnt, and be subject to general wear and tear. As the plastic coating on the outside of the wire starts to dry out and harden, it becomes more prone to problems. If the socket is in great condition but the wiring is damaged, this will still create problems.
If you have electrical appliances that are out in the garden or you have sockets that are in areas where they could be exposed to water, then you should use GFCI-certified sockets for these things. GFCI sockets have an in-built breaker that can automatically stop the electricity supply to that socket if it detects that there is a problem in the electrical connection. This can save you a lot of money, but it will only work if the socket itself is in good condition. You can easily check this by manually trying to trigger the socket to turn off. There will be a little button on that socket and when that button is pressed it should stop the electricity supply. Plug any small appliance and run it and then press the button. The appliance should power off. If it doesn’t, that socket might need to be changed. If you have any outdoor power outlets, even if they have a cover on them, you should still upgrade them to GFCI sockets for safety.
With your breaker panel checked the next thing you need to evaluate is the health of the individual sockets in your home. The easiest way to do this is to get a block tester, also known as a cube. This device will plug directly into the socket and, through a series of lights, will let you know what the issue is or if the socket is working as it should be. These devices are quite inexpensive and will easily last you a long time. If the device does show some errors, it is recommended that you don’t try and open the socket by yourself, unless you know what you are doing. Sockets have a high voltage and they are connected to a complicated electrical system, so it’s best to get a professional to help you out here.
In many cases, the performance of the appliance will tell you a lot about what is going on with the electrical system. For instance, if you have flickering lights or a fan that isn’t running at the right speed, you probably have a voltage-related problem. It’s also important to check the physical condition of the sockets and other electrical connections in your home. With wear and tear, these devices will show signs of decreased performance, and this could lead to problems with your electrical appliances.
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