Electrical wiring for your home might seem straight forward, but electricity is never straight forward. It certainly is never simple. However, it is important. It runs your home. It makes your life easy and carefree. Additionally, it can kill. In terms of your home, there are some things you must remember to ensure your safety. However, these same important things can also save you a lot of money and hassle.
If your house is like many other houses, you have outdoor sockets that you can use for extension cords, leaf blowers, or other corded lawn tools. These sockets are typically on your front patio or in your garage. Many homes that have decks also have sockets near the deck. The important thing to note about these sockets is that many of them are equipped with little flaps that open and close. However, these metal flaps might look as if they can protect the socket, but they do not. Water can drip into the outlet, and this moisture could cause a potential fire hazard. Additionally, the moisture could short out a fuse.
These outdoor sockets should have a protective bubble on them. Only by using a protective bubble will your socket meet local building codes and keep you safe.
If you have ever plugged in an appliance to a socket and noticed the wire became warm, you are experiencing firsthand a potential fire hazard in the making. Wires become warm when an appliance draws more energy than the cord can handle. As a result, the cord becomes warm. Manufacturers might use insufficiently protected wiring to save money on their product, but you should return the product immediately. If you keep the appliance, the cord can continually heat up and eventually melt. When this happens, the underlying wire can become exposed, causing a fire hazard.
Sparks when you plug and unplug appliances
Sparks occur when an appliance draws a lot of electricity and is either plugged in or unplugged while the power switch is in the on position. With the power switch in the on position, the appliance is completing the connection, and the electricity jumps from the socket to the prongs. These arcs of electricity can pit and burn the plug as well as the socket. To avoid this, you should always turn the appliance off before plugging it in or unplugging it.
Legally, only qualified electricians are allowed to update electric panels. If your electric panel is outdated, you should find a Brisbane North electrician and have the panel upgraded to current codes. Outdated electric panels are often found in homes built prior to 1990. These panels include the following.
– Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) panels
– Zinsco panels
– split-bus panels
– fuse boxes
These types of panels are not designed to handle modern energy demands. Additionally, the breakers in some of these models do not trip when required. If you have any of these types of panels, you should have an electrician install a one.
Signs of danger
Popping sounds that occur when you plug-in appliances are a sign of moisture or static. Additional signs of faulty wiring or problems in your electric panel include breakers that repeatedly trip. Generally, if a breaker trips over and over, it is a sign that the appliance being plugged in is too powerful for the line in the wall. Consequently, you should have an electrician upgrade the wiring.
Many people attempt to wire appliances themselves. This is a bad idea because non-electricians can get simple things confused. Positive and negative wires are often color-coded, but color-coding is not always standardized. If you end up crossing the wires, the polarities will be wrong, and you can end up blowing your breaker or causing an immediate fire.
Updating your wiring
If you have an old house that contains knob-and-tube wiring, you should have the entire house upgraded to grounded wiring. Knob-and-tube wiring is dangerous because the insulation can degrade. Additionally, electric panels were often limited to 12 circuits. Many people who need additional sockets attempt to splice the wiring into existing circuits. By doing so, you can plug in more appliances, but you risk overloading your system.
Things that can make your life easier and kill you at the same time
If you have a breaker box that trips, you might think that taping it to the on position is an easy fix. However, this solution can end up burning your house to the ground. The reason breakers trip is because a jolt of electricity that is too powerful for the breaker has somehow been introduced to the system. Breakers detect this surge and trip to the off position. Once the breaker is in the off position, the electrical connection is broken, which is why these components are called breakers. If you tape the breaker in the on position, powerful surges cannot be stopped. Consequently, the ongoing power surge can melt wire sheathing and leave the copper wire exposed. If this happens, you are sitting on fire waiting to happen.