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Electricity is so integrated with modern life in Myrtle Beach, SC, and almost everywhere across the United States, that many of us barely think about it. Unfortunately, we think about it immediately when our home’s electrical services are interrupted. Some power outages are caused by storms and other types of inclement weather. We can also run into trouble with the electrical infrastructure in our homes. Controlling the weather is impossible, but we can keep wiring, outlets, and other aspects of a home’s electrical system in good shape.
Professional electrical services are a key aspect of home maintenance. An electrical inspection is an evaluation of the electrical system throughout the entire home. It’s always a good idea to have an electrical inspection before buying a new home. Inspections should also be done during the planning stage of home renovations. However, you can request an inspection at any time just to make sure your home’s electrical system is safe and efficient. An inspection may be especially beneficial if you haven’t had any professional electrical services in recent years.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, estimates that approximately 51,000 electrical fires and almost 500 deaths occur each year. These fires also cause nearly 1,400 injuries and $1.3 billion in property damage annually, and electrical distribution is the third most common cause of residential structure fires. Arcing faults alone may trigger an average of 28,000 house fires per year, and electrical receptacles are implicated in approximately 5,300 fires. The risk posed by potential electrical fires is the most significant reason to request professional electrical services and inspections on a regular basis.
Seemingly minor problems may be much more serious than they first appear. Faulty wiring can exist anywhere within a home, but most wiring isn’t visible. Wires are concealed within walls and outlets or installed in isolated areas, such as attics or basements. We have to watch for warning signs of possible problems and hire electricians to provide electrical services that help keep our homes safe because most of us can’t see the wiring in our homes and wouldn’t know what to do with it anyway.
Hazards of Older Homes
Structures built more than 30 to 40 years ago, may need to be completely rewired. Wiring wears out after decades of continuous use, and electrical systems in older homes in Myrtle Beach, SC, weren’t designed with modern electricity usage in mind. Many households use much more electricity than an average household 40 years ago.
Aluminum wiring was sometimes used in construction during the 1950s to 1970s because it was cheaper than copper. Unfortunately, aluminum wiring is much softer than copper and more susceptible to damage, sparks, and short circuits. Corroded copper retains conductivity, but degraded aluminum doesn’t. Aluminum expands and contracts according to temperature, which creates gaps and loose connections. All of this taken together means aluminum wiring is much more at risk of electrical fires than copper.
Knob and Tube Wiring
Knob and tube wiring uses porcelain knobs to attach wires to structures and pass through walls. This type of wiring was mostly used until the 1940s, but it may be present in some homes constructed in the 1950s to 1970s as well. It is still present in many old homes, and knob and tube wiring can be very dangerous to use with modern appliances.
There are plenty of signs to watch out for that could indicate your home has aluminum wiring or other wiring issues that need fixing. Lights dimming or flickering for no noticeable reason and warm or discolored light switches could indicate a problem. Smoke or sparks while plugging devices into an outlet are a bad sign, as are frequent tripped breakers and blown fuses. These problems may seem annoying, but it’s very important to get electrical services right away because all of these issues could present a threat to your home and family.
The main problem with old wiring is that modern precautions and hazards we’re aware of now were not so well known in past decades. Wiring in older homes lacks moisture resistance and ground wires, which means bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms could be at greater risk.
Past Renovations and Other Risk Factors
Sometimes older homes with renovations can be a problem too. Many people chose not to hire professional electrical services when adding on to their homes. This may have resulted in a mess of improvised wiring that may be hazardous and interfere with functions in the rest of the home.
Other risks may be present in older homes too. Cloth insulation was used to cover wires in the 1950s. Wires for appliances were installed with a cloth sleeve. The brittle, dry cloth should be removed immediately after discovery because it can easily catch fire with a simple spark.
Some warning signs apply to all homes regardless of age. Discolored or stained outlets may be a sign of power surges. Rodents may damage wires and increase the risk of an electrical fire. Outdated electrical panels are a hazard. Hiring professionals to provide electrical services is the safest and most efficient way to address these issues.
Building codes can seem like a needless hassle, which is why some people chose to ignore them and do their own renovations in the past. However, building codes exist to keep our homes safe. It isn’t easy for people with no training or experience to make sense of codes related to electricity, but your local electrician in Myrtle Beach, SC, can handle this for you.
If you need professional electrical services to bring your home up to code, you may want to start with the most critical areas first. Kitchens and bathrooms are prime locations because moisture can damage wires, outlets, appliances, and other electrical devices. Damaged electronics pose a risk of electrocution. Kitchens are a site of heavy electric use due to the large number of appliances, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, garbage disposals, microwaves, coffee pots, and other gadgets used to prepare and store food and beverages.
Contact Mister Sparky of Myrtle Beach to explore their wide range of electrical services. Schedule an inspection or routine maintenance from experienced electricians. Emergency services are also available to address potential hazards quickly.