DIY Home Electrical Inspection
With the plethora of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) online videos and house makeover television shows, more and more homeowners attempt to fix problems lurking within their four walls themselves. This current trend leads new homeowners to purchase a ‘diamond in the rough’ with the belief they can save money by doing upgrades themselves.
A new home is an exciting life event but also one of the most stressful. When looking at a potential home purchase, you look at the most apparent cosmetic flaws; however, it is essential to make sure the home is wired correctly. Problemed wires, plugs, and outlets aren’t as noticeable, and from experience, are the most costly and unexpected of new home challenges.
If you are searching for a new home, here are telltale signs of common electrical problems that will help you identify faulty wiring.
Electrical outlets should not have cracked plastic housing. They should also have a ground; otherwise, they present a potential fire hazard. Grounded outlets have a third prong (hole,) which acts to discharge electricity safely to ground. Without a properly grounded outlet the fastest path to ground is typically through whoever is holding the device, which at the least can give you a nasty shock but can also be fatal.
Although older homes appeal to some homebuyers’ appreciation for antiques, older housing means older wiring from an electrician’s standpoint. Old wiring is likely to be heavily weathered and can be dangerous since it doesn’t follow current safety practice parameters. Plugging modern electrical appliances into sockets connected to older wiring pose possible risks.
Knob-and-Tube wiring fell out of fashion in the 1930s and is considered an obsolete and unsafe method of wiring residential properties. As these wires age, both the metal of the wire and insulation deteriorate, creating fire hazards throughout the entire home. The original intended electrical load that knob and tube wiring supported was exponentially less than it is present day. Knob-and-tube wiring does not typically support grounding, presenting the significant risk of electrical shock.
Aluminum wiring was typically used in the 1960s and 70s but may still exist in newer homes. They do not present a safety hazard when properly installed. The dangers arise when the wires age and deteriorate. Since aluminum expands more than copper, the constant heating and cooling force these wires out of their connecting screws, leading to short circuits and the risk of an electrical fire.
Electrical panels, often referred to as the breaker box, are the heart of a home’s electrical system. Every electrical appliance in your home gets its power distributed through the electrical panel. Newer homes need 100-amp or 200-amp installations to support modern appliances. If the breaker box has fuses instead of circuit breakers, that is a signal to upgrade.
Look, smell and listen. Are lights flickering? Do you hear a humming throughout? Is there a burning or bleach-like scent?
Flickering lights may be due to a breaker box with insufficient amperage, however, it can also indicate any number of unsafe electrical practices of the original wiring. It depends upon if the flickering is isolate to one room or is present in multiple rooms.
Electrical outlets can reveal underlying problems. Buzzing and burnt or bleach odors suggest bad or damaged wiring. You should also make sure there are Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) installed. If not, the building is not up to code!
A 20-minute video or a six-week renovation encapsulated into a one-hour show may present upgrading as a simple task. It cannot replace the skill of a licensed professional. Having an electrical contractor assess the safety of switches, outlets, and wiring of your new home before you sign on the dotted line can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. An electrician can trace the source of the possible safety issue and provide trusted guidance on how to fix them.
Having an onsite electrical evaluation and update provides many benefits:
Provides confidence that your house will not catch fire due to a power surge or misplaced wire
Ensures safer and more secure circuitry
Raises your property value
Prevents potential long-term problems
Protects you from life-threatening harm
CW Elecrtical Services Inc. provide a full range of electrical services for both residential and commercial, interior and exterior spaces. Contact them today to evaluate your electrical needs. Call (412) 766-1446 for a free estimate or contact us here for a 24/7 vitual consultation!