When it comes to your home electrical system, safety always comes first. Even a small problem can result in an electrical shock or a fire hazard. As a homeowner, it's a good idea to know how to do a basic electrical system inspection, as completing one each year helps ensure the safety of everyone in your home. The following are a few of the things you should be checking.
Your circuit box
The circuit or breaker box controls the electrical pathways for everything in your home – all wires go through this box. Most homes have a single box, although in some cases, there may be a separate box that just holds the circuit for the dryer or the HVAC system.
When inspecting the box, make sure all the switches are in good condition and that they stay fully switched on. There should also be a main switch that can be used to turn off all electricity to the home. Further, verify that every switch is labeled with what it controls. Preferably, the switches should also follow an intuitive order – for example, if there are two switches for a room, they should be next to each other. Issues with the breaker box, such as a breaker that keeps tripping or a box that isn't labeled, require a call to an electrician to rectify the problem.
The electrical outlets for issues. There are a couple of ways to do this. The simplest is just to plug a light into each outlet to make sure they are working properly. A better option is to invest in an inexpensive electrical meter. You can then use it to check each outlet to make sure that they are working and providing a steady amount of electricity.
If the electricity being delivered surges, there is either a problem with the outlet or with the main electrical coming into the home. Sometimes it's as simple as a loose ground wire in the outlet. It's best to get the source verified and repaired, as a surge can cause shock, result in fire, or damage items plugged into the outlet.
Aging system indicators
Look for signs that your system may be out of date or may not contain the necessary safety features. A common issue here is that outlets in kitchens, bathrooms, or other wet areas aren't equipped with a safety interrupter. These are built-in switches on the outlets that trip and turn it off if moisture is detected. You can then press the switch to reactivate the outlet once danger has passed.
Another sign of an aging system is minor system failures. An electrical system should work every time, not just most of the time. A light switch that sometimes fails or a fixture that flickers may indicate old wiring that is beginning to go out or deteriorate, which means it needs a replacement.
For more help, contact an electrician such as Chadwick Electric Services.