We received this very informative article written by Tom Gillece of Gillece Services, and hope you pay attention to this and other posts that have warned us about possible electrical hazards in our homes. pb

A licensed electrician can conduct a thorough electrical inspection of your home to look for possible hazards, signs of damage, proper electrical capacity, and more, to ensure the safety and efficiency of electricity throughout your home. An electrical inspection is important especially in older homes and in cases where the electrical capacity is not great enough to meet the demands of a home’s electrical needs. Having your home inspected and inspecting what you can on your own, as well as taking steps to avoid possible electrical danger, can help to prevent potential electrical damage and fire.

While you may not be a professional, licensed electrician, there are still some basic signs you can look for and rules to follow when it comes to electrical security in your home. Detecting red flags ahead of time and utilizing your electrical connections appropriately can help you to keep your home safe and functioning properly.

What to look for:

Outlets and Switches:

Are your outlets or switches hot to the touch? Or do you notice a tear-shaped dark mark forming above an outlet? If so, you will want to stop immediate use of either. High heat and discoloration could indicate a serious problem with internal electrical wiring. Unplug anything in the outlet and turn off the coordinating switch. Outlet and switch cover plates, as well, should not be cracked or broken, as this could lead to exposed wiring. A professional electrician can fix or replace wall plates in addition to upgrading outlets, if suitable, from two-prong to three-prong outlets.

Power Cords and Power Strips:

Electrical cords need ventilation so that they don’t overheat. This means that cords around your home should not be placed under rugs or on furniture, nor nailed or stapled onto walls. Nails, staples, etc. can damage cords. Extension cords may be a good solution for extending electrical use, but only on a temporary basis. If your home is in need of more outlets or electrical capacity, consult with an electrician to address these problems for a permanent solution that is safer and more sufficient. Power strips fall under the same situation; they only provide more access to one source of electricity rather than increasing the power supply. So there is still a risk of a power surge or shortage occurring, which can lead to damage or fire.

Light Bulbs and Appliances:

Light bulbs and appliances should be used according to directed instructions and with proper size and operation in mind. Light bulbs should not exceed the unit’s wattage requirements in which they are being used. Bulbs should also be firmly screwed into place as loose bulbs can overheat. Other appliances that consistently blow a fuse or cause an electrical shock should be replaced as well as unplugged and turned off if in operation.

For further electrical protection and fire prevention, consider these solutions:

  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter:

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) automatically turns off power to a circuit when any problem or difference in electrical flow is detected. They prevent possible deadly shock that can occur from contact with a leakage current. GFCI’s are recommended for rooms with high water usage such as the bathroom or kitchen, and they should be tested monthly to ensure their operation.

  • Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:

Each of these detectors is highly important in any home to alert occupants of impending danger. Smoke alarms are recommended to be installed in every bedroom and on every level of a home. It is best if they are all connected so that when one sounds, they all sound. They should be tested monthly and replaced typically every ten years, though sometimes sooner. Carbon monoxide detectors are designed to sound before life-threatening levels of carbon monoxide are reached in a home. They are recommended to be placed in hallways outside of bedrooms or in each of a home’s sleeping areas.

A professional electrician can inspect your home in all areas to address your concerns, provide options and solutions, or to reassure you of your home’s safe electrical condition. Upgrades may be necessary where more electrical capacity is needed or if electrical sources are damaged, outdated, or otherwise unsafe. Both a professional and personal evaluation of your home can help to prevent electrical damage and fire and to keep your home’s electricity secured and sufficient for ongoing use.

Gillece Services has been in business for over 30 years. They’re Pittsburgh’s one-stop-shop for Pittsburgh Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electrical, Indoor Air Quality, Water Quality, and Waterproofing services.

Find out more at http://www.gillece.com