Knowing the condition of your home’s electrical system components can make all the difference between preventing a dangerous fire and reducing the chance of a power outage. It is recommended that new homeowners enlist the services of an electrician in Los Angeles for an initial inspection of the homes electrical panel, the rating of circuit breakers, and a visual inspection of the electrical wires and power outlets.
Faulty light fixtures, space heating units, kitchen appliance failures, outdated wiring, frayed extension cords, and overloaded electrical outlets and circuit breakers are some of the main causes of electrical fires in homes. Your home needs to have the right type of electrical outlets along with correctly sized circuit breakers to prevent these common causes of residential electrical fires. Here’s a homeowners guide to inspect outlets and breakers.
Electrical Outlet Inspections
- Use an outlet tester to check polarity – The Proper wiring of three prong plugs is essential, as the round hole, short slot, and long slot must all be properly color-code wired for ground, hot, and neutral connections, respectively. Receptacle outlets that are mis-wired may have a reverse polarity, and the potential for electrical shock or overheated wiring is very high.
- Ungrounded outlets – if the home’s wiring is old and has only two wires, then the third grounded wire, which is required on new GFCI outlets, will be missing. Consult with an electrician in Los Angeles to replace old wiring and old outlets, as most modern devices require the third prong and ground wire for safe operation.
- Outdated outlets – are those that do not have the third prong for a ground connection. While many people will use an adapter to convert a 2-wire circuit into a 3-wire connection, it is best to upgrade your home’s outlets to current building code standards. This includes kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and garages, which must have GFCI outlets.
Inspecting Your Home Circuit Breakers
- Circuit breaker overload – if your breakers keep tripping, it is likely that they are overloaded with too many circuits or with a high-power circuit assigned to that breaker. While a breaker that consistently trips is operating safely, it is a sign that there is either a short circuit possibly from an appliance or there are too many circuits on one breaker. An electrician can determine if you need a larger breaker size or if an additional circuit breaker is needed.
- Circuit breaker not working – it is a dangerous situation when a circuit breaker is not working because it can be the direct cause of a house electrical fire. First of all, make sure all your breakers are labeled and each circuit corresponds to the areas listed on the panel door. You can test each breaker by turning off all the circuits – then one-by-one, flip each switch. If a breaker immediately switches off, there may be a problem.
- Damaged breaker panel – finally, inspect your home’s main breaker panel for any damage such as corrosion, water infiltration, rust, or a loose box that may be putting a strain on wiring behind the panel. A bad electrical panel can have circuits that display in the “off” position, but the circuit is actually hot – and vice versa. Always consult with a professional electrician for replacement or repair of damaged breaker panels.
Contact Express Electrical Services for a new homeowner inspection of your electrical system. Your electrical outlets and breakers operate silently and the dangers they present are out of the homeowner’s sight, therefore warning signs of bad electrical components can easily go undetected.