There are several common electrical wiring problems that plague many homes. Some may go unnoticed for years without a proper electrical inspection, but there are some issues you can tackle head-on to prevent a possible catastrophe. Pay close attention to five of the most dangerous electrical wiring problems below.
Bulb Wattage Too High
Overlamping is a term used to refer to the scenario when a light fixture contains a bulb with a higher wattage than the fixture is designed to support. This is a definite electrical code violation, on top of being a high risk for danger. Bulbs with higher wattage can easily melt or scorch the socket and insulation of the fixture wires, increasing the chance of an arc, which is a common cause for electrical fires. This damage is irreversible, so always be sure to stay within the wattage limit listed on light fixtures. In the case that a wattage isn’t listed, it’s best to stick with 60 watts or lower.
Flickering Lights When Windy
Overhead cables from power lines typically enter your home via an outdoor fitting called a weatherhead. Weatherheads protect important wiring from the elements, but are sometimes susceptible to issues. If the wiring has become frayed in any way, there will be short whenever the cable moves – even slightly. Frayed wiring is a serious problem and can lead to electrical fires if not tended to swiftly. So even if this type of situation isn’t technically an electrical code violation, it’s important to alert your local utility company. They may be able to replace your weatherhead for free.
Missing GFCI Outlets
Your home should already be equipped with multiple ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI), and if it isn’t, it’s time to change that. Risk of electrocution greatly increases in areas where water is present: bathrooms, kitchens, basements, garages, outdoors. A GFCI should take the place of a generic outlet within 4 feet of any sink. These help by disrupting the electrical currents that cause deadly shock in as little as 4 milliseconds. It’s fairly common to take the DIY route for this fix, but you would be wise to consult with a certified electrician before taking on the task.
Old Aluminum Wiring
If your house was built in the 60s or 70s, and hasn’t had an electrical remodel, it’s possible that aluminum wiring is still running through your walls. This was a cheaper alternative to copper back in the day, but is no longer considered safe – at all. Aluminum wiring corrodes when connect to copper, resulting in loose connections. Another scenario capable of arching and starting a fire. Although a few cheap fixes exist, your best bet for a permanent solution is to have a Mister Sparky professional take a look and handle any wiring changes that may be needed.
Receptacle Can’t Hold Plug
Few things are more dangerous (and annoying) than an outlet that can’t hold a plug. When the contacts inside a receptacle can no longer grip a plug’s prongs firmly, the outlet should not be used and be replaced as soon as possible. Loose contacts are vulnerable to sparking and igniting dust or wood inside the wall. Make it a habit to regularly check all of the receptacles in your home by gently wiggling the plug to test how secure it is. Replacing worn out outlets isn’t difficult, but if you’re cautious about doing so, Mister Sparky is here to help.
Mister Sparky is here to help with any questions or concerns you might have about your home’s electrical system. If you need wiring work done, we’re only a call away. Reach us at (713) 428-2120 or schedule an appointment online today!
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