How to Address and Avoid Electrical Hazards at Home
Your home may be your castle, but even the coziest castles can harbor scary secrets — especially when it comes to your electrical system. Wires, circuit breakers, outlets, plugs -- are you sure everything is safe and up to code?
WATCH: Ensure Home Electrical Wiring System Safety
Some possible electrical dangers to be aware of:
- Wires not properly grounded: All home wiring should have a wired connection to the ground. An electrical current always seeks the path of least resistance to the ground, and grounding provides a safe access route in the event of a product failure. An ungrounded circuit may allow current to stray from this intended path, increasing the risk of electric shock and serious injury.
- Aluminum wiring: It's been illegal in most applications since 1978, but aluminum wiring -- cheaper than copper -- was popular in the early '70s. Unlike copper, aluminum is soft and malleable, can get overheated easily and poses a potential fire hazard.
- Older homes or homes with remodeled additions: If your home ever underwent a do-it-yourself remodeling, or if the work was performed by a contractor who didn't secure the right permits or follow proper codes, you may be at risk. Ask a licensed electrician to perform a safety inspection and address any hazards.
- The wrong size circuit breakers: Circuit breakers are safety devices, designed to trip -- or turn off the power to a particular item or outlet -- if too much electricity is flowing through a particular wire. Danger can result if there's a mismatch between the size of the circuit breaker and the size of any wire.
Don't Wait to Fix Electrical Hazards
Don't take unnecessary chances. Call in a licensed electrician to make an inspection or repairs:
- If you suspect your house might have aluminum wiring, have a professional electrician investigate – this is not a DIY job
- If your home has been remodeled in the past, and you don't know the history of the renovation
- If a particular outlet is not functioning or functions intermittently
- If an appliance or switch gives you an electric shock
- If your lights dim when the AC or another appliance comes on -- a sign something is drawing too much current
- If you experience a burning smell or lights flickering in your home
- If you repeatedly trip circuit breakers
Direct Energy offers an easy, cost-effective way to give your family an extra measure of protection against electrical costs and possible calamities. Browse our home electrical protection plans or call us at 1-888-733-1683 for more information.
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