Professional Inspections and Corrective Measures
Here are some areas of home electrical systems that require professional inspection.
[ ] The bonded grounding system of the main electrical service. Grounding makes the system work safely and it can help prevent electrocution in homes that have three prong grounding-type outlets. The round hole accepts the grounding prong for appliance plugs and other devices.
[ ] Smoke Detectors. Upgrade to interconnected hard wired smoke detectors with battery back-up power. The important feature is that when one goes off, they all go off, and that will alert everyone.
[ ] Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
Older homes may not have grounding-type outlets. If that's the case, the old two-hole outlets can be replaced with a device is known as a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter or GFCI which provides the best protection against electrocution. The GFCI does not need grounding but still provides a superior job of stopping electrical shock. Electrocution protection is especially important in the case of appliances with metal parts in rooms such as laundry, kitchen or bathrooms where water is used and the danger of shock is great.
[ ] In older homes with original electrical systems all fixtures and wiring lead back to a fuse box or circuit breaker panel. In some fuse boxes, there may be too many circuits connected to one fuse. Older fuse boxes may have corroded connections, unplugged holes or missing panel doors. Your electrician can install a new electrical panel that uses circuit breakers with more circuits available for large appliances such as a clothes dryer, electric range or an air conditioner.
[ ] The added advantage of a built-in surge suppressor would helps protect appliances against lightning or power surges.
[ ] Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI)
Let’s look at the newly developed electrical safety features of the arc fault circuit interrupter, or AFCI. Whereas GFCI’s can protect you from electrocution, an AFCI can protect you from a deadly electrical fire. Arc faults occur when electricity jumps from wire to wire, and can happen when wires or fixtures are damaged or have deteriorated over time. These arcs generate high temperatures which can ignite nearby combustible materials such as wood, paper or home furnishings. The AFCI, which can be installed in place of a conventional circuit breaker, minimizes this risk by detecting these faults as they occur, cutting the power to the circuit, and removing the heat source that can lead to a fire.
Where to Begin to be Safer:
If you can't afford to improve your electrical system all at once, do it in stages.
[ ] Fix the most dangerous problems first. Look into a home improvement loan to spread out the cost over time.
Last but not least:
Ask your insurance agent if your safety improvements qualify you for a reduction in premiums.
Taking care of your electrical system will make your home a safer place to live.
Remember, electrical systems in your house won't last forever. They need to be maintained just like your car, your furnace, your roof or your chimney.
It's well worth the effort to have a professional check your home electrical system for safety. It will provide you with a feeling of safety.