Virtually everyone in the United States relies on electricity in one way or another. Electricity runs our heating and air; it has a lot to do with our plumbing and cooking systems. The fact is that without electricity, most of us wouldn’t know what to do. But certainly, you shouldn’t take your electricity for granted. Just because you have electrical wiring doesn’t mean that it’s running correctly, or that it’s running safely for that matter. Electrical problems are annoying — but their issue is far greater than just that of inconvenience. Electrical problems can lead to everything from house fires to a lack of badly-needed resources. People can end up paying a lot in property damage in the best case scenario; but in the worst case scenario, they can lead to serious injury or even death. Below, we’ll look into some of the problems improperly installed or damaged electrical wiring can present, and what a good electrician can do to prevent further issues and repair damage. Electrical wiring repairs are hard work, but with an electrician at work, very doable. You just need to be vigilant and aware, and quick to report any problems.
Electrical Wiring: The Basics
Before getting into the electrical problems that can arise due to damage or faulty wiring, let’s look into the basics behind electrical wiring. If you have electrical wiring in your home, it is probably 12-gauge or 14-gauge. Most of the time, electrical wiring works without problems. However, the older a home gets, the more worn down its electrical wiring gets, and the more likely electrical problems are. There are obvious signs that will lead people to call electricians for help — but regular inspections can also prevent issues from rising in the first place. Ideally, residential electrical repairs should be done before the problems become so great that they present outward signs. If a home is 10 years older and has undergone major renovations or had new appliances added, it should be inspected. However, if a home is 40 years or older, it should have its electrical wiring inspected even if it hasn’t undergone any renovations or changes. Still, you should know when to call an electrician for out of the ordinary reasons. Any strange sparking should be cause for concern, as should smoke and strange “hot spots” in walls. Should your lights flicker with no particular reason, or should your appliances lose power or shows strange signs of losing power.
Fault Wiring: The Risks
There are many risks surrounding faulty wiring. Of course, there is the risk of the problems getting out of hand, requiring expensive replacements and fixes. But those pale in comparison to the physical threats electrical problems can present to homeowners. Electrical fires are true risks to anyone living in a home with electrical wiring — which, again, includes virtually every American. 2011 alone saw 47,700 home fires resulting from electrical failures or malfunctions. In fact, half of all non-confined residential house fires involved electrical failure or malfunction, with some kind of electrical distribution or lighting equipment involved in the ignition. It’s said that wiring and related equipment accounted for 63% of these fires, followed by lamps, light fixtures, and light bulbs at 26%, cords and plugs at 11%, and transformers and power supplies at 6%.
Electrical Problems: Preventing Them
Of course, there are many ways in which people can prevent electrical fires. One, as we’ve discussed before, involves being vigilant and calling electricians whenever necessary. Fires aren’t the only concern, of course — electrocutions can also be major problems. Over two-thirds of these can be prevented through the installation of ground fault circuit interrupters. Ways of preventing electrical fires include installing arc-fault circuit interrupters on bedroom circuits, smoke detectors in all bedrooms and hallways within 15 feet of bedrooms, and smoke detectors on every level of the house. If you take these measures, you can be reasonably confident of your safety.
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