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The electrical system in your home is one of the most important things to maintain regularly. The potential for short circuiting, blackouts, and fire hazards, it’s not only important for your general wellbeing, but for the immediate safety of your family. There are a number of problems you can identify on your own before calling professional electrical contractors.
Missing GFCI’s and How to Protect Your Kitchen/Bathroom
For the parts of your home with plumbing, or other access to water, inspecting your outlets for ground fault circuit interrupters can save you and your appliances. A GCFI is designed to turn off power to the outlet in the presence of moisture, without this feature, water will cause the circuit and connected appliances to short circuit, potentially shocking whoever is holding them at the time. Even in the presence of moisture, they still represent a fire hazard as well, so they should be installed by electrical contractors as soon as possible. They can be installed either directly on the outlets, or on the panel of your main breaker, which can be less expensive if you don’t use many appliances in your kitchen or bathroom.
Wiring Made Out of Aluminum
When Myrtle Beach, SC homes in the 1960’s were being built, a lot of costs were cut in the form of the plumbing, foundation, and electrical system of the home. In this case, aluminum, a cheaper alternative for copper, was installed throughout the home. Because aluminum and copper corrode in the presence of each other, the aluminum wiring in your home can corrode, causing electrical arcs and breaks in wires, as well as causing copper to corrode causing them to stop providing power, or causing batteries to leak. Having electrical contractors replace them with copper wiring is really important, but in the short term, having a contractor go throughout your home and check for current damage may be the most inexpensive alternative.
Two Pronged Electrical Outlets
With newer Myrtle Beach, SC homes being built with safety in mind, electrical outlets are installed with grounding (the third prong on an electrical outlet in this case.) Without this grounding, instead of tripping a circuit breaker, electric appliances may be damaged, or shock you in the case of a power surge. Finding the two-pronged outlets in your home, and having electrical contractors install properly grounded outlets can protect your home and your family.
Not Enough Outlets
While the usage of home appliances on the rise, it’s not unusual to use ten or more electronics at a time in the same room. Because older homes weren’t built with comprehensive electrical usage throughout the home, older buildings were designed with up to two appliances in mind for the main living and cooking areas of the home, much less the bathroom or bedrooms. If you’re a homeowner who uses a number of power strips or too many extension cords, your home is in danger of fires breaking out or your electronics damaging themselves. In this case, hiring electrical contractors to expand the wiring of your home and allow for more appliances to be used throughout the home can help prevent sudden electrical fires.
Improperly Sized Electrical Paneling
Similar to the number of outlets on older homes, buildings in the 60’s and 70’s were built to accommodate few appliances. Because this helped save money, construction firms got away with building homes with panels that handled 200 amps. In modern Myrtle Beach, SC homes, all the appliances in the home together can require anywhere up to 600 amps. To compensate for this, before selling a home, sellers may have single pole breakers be replaced with double breakers, which can overload your home’s wiring, and become a safety issue. Not only can this cause electrical fires in your home, if you ever decide to sell your home, overworked electrical panels will prevent that when an inspector comes out to look at your home, as they’re against fire code. Electrical contractors can do two things in this case. Either install a subpanel with several extra slots, in the event you don’t use too many appliances, or replace the breaker with a larger model that holds up to modern standards.
Old Light Fixtures
With older, incandescent light bulbs designed with lower wattage, light fixtures from the 70’s were designed to accommodate them. Because of rapid innovation however, modern light bulbs are more efficient than ever, requiring a higher wattage relative to older bulbs. When a modern bulb is screwed into an outdated fixture, the bulb tries to draw out too much power, potentially melting the socket, or the insulation around the fixture’s wires which can cause an electrical fire around any dry wood. Electrical contractors can replace the older fixtures with modern day, higher wattage ones, in the short term though, using lower watt, incandescent bulbs can prevent this fire hazard.
Stabbed Back Wires
For both older and newer homes, the wiring done in the outlets may have a tendency to be stabbed through the outlet, instead of screwed on. By screwing on the wires, you prevent neutral and powered wires in an outlet from touching, by pushing them through small holes in the back, they not only have the tendency to become undone and cease powering the outlet, but they can cause the two wires to create constant sparks, which can cause electrical fires in the walls of your home. Having electrical contractors redo these outlets is an important step to keeping your home and family safe.
Quick Diagnosis of Potential Electrical Problems
Though there are a variety of problems that can plague a Myrtle Beach, SC resident’s home wiring or electrical appliances, there are a number of other simple indicators for faulty wiring. If you see any of the following, it’s time to contact Mister Sparky your electrical contractors.
- Frequently needing to reset a breaker
- Wiring is at least 30 years old
- Outlet sparks
- Unidentifiable burning smell
- Discolored switches or outlets
- Lights dim or flicker