Here are some tips to keep your home safe:
- It is better to not use extension cords. If you feel you must use one, make sure that it is not frayed or worn; do not run it under a rug or twist it around a nail or hook.
- Never overload a socket. Avoid using “octopus” outlets; outlet extensions that accommodate several plugs are strongly discouraged.
- Do not use light bulb wattage that is too high for the fixture. Look for the label inside each fixture, which tells the maximum wattage.
- Check periodically for loose wall receptacles, warm to touch cover outlet and switch cover plates, loose wires, or loose lighting fixtures. Sparking means that you’ve waited too long.
- Allow air space around the TV to prevent overheating. The same applies to plug-in radios and stereo sets, and to powerful lamps and electric-powered equipment.
- If a circuit breaker trips or a fuse blows frequently, immediately cut down on the number of appliances on that line.
- Be sure all electrical equipment bears the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label.
- In many older homes, the capacity of the wiring system has not kept pace with today’s modern appliances. Overloaded electrical systems invite fire. Watch for these overload signals: dimming lights when an appliance goes on, a shrinking TV picture, slow heating appliances, or fuses blowing frequently. Call a qualified electrician to get expert help.
- Remember, only state licensed electrical contractors and qualified electricians should perform electrical system repairs, modifications and upgrades.
A professional home inspector can evaluate the electrical wiring in the various breaker or fuse panels, as well as inspect the outlets for safe and proper wiring. When safe and accessible, the home inspector checks the electrical system by removing the cover from the electric service panel. Once the wiring is exposed, the home inspector will look for conditions in the panel such as burned wiring or over-fused circuits where the fuse or circuit breaker is too large for the wire size. Improper wiring connections, unsafe openings in the panel, rust, corrosion, and improper homeowner installed wiring are also reported on by a professional inspector. A representative sampling of electrical outlets, when accessible, is checked for open ground and wiring reversal conditions, as well as dead-ended wiring and exposed wiring.
You owe it to every occupant to learn as much as possible about the safety of your home and to make sure you retain a quality, professional home inspector.
President, Jabuka Home Inspections