Your home could be keeping secrets from you – dangerous secrets.
Each year, electrical problems cause 26,100 home fires and $1 billion in damage, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. The majority of those electrical fires resulting from “fixed wiring” are like faulty outlets and old wiring.
But these problems often go unnoticed by homeowners for years because they are hidden within the walls of their home.
So how can you tell if your home is keeping a dangerous electrical secret from you? You could change career paths and become a licensed electrician. Or you can make a few observations in your home.
If your home has one or more of the following characteristics, it could be a sign of a larger problem and you should have a professional electrician come take a look.
If your home has old electrical outlets with only two slots, it is a sign of outdated electrical wiring.
The third prong in an outlet or electrical plug is the ground. It is the safety mechanism that prevents electric shocks and electrocution (as well as home fires).
Even if there are only a few outlets with two prongs in your home, you should have it looked at. A previous homeowner may have just switched out the outlets without rewiring your home, which could be very dangerous.
This old method of wiring homes for electricity was popular before the 1940’s. It got its name because it consists of a ceramic insulating knob passing through a tube within the joists of the house.
Peak in your attic, basement, or crawlspace to see if your home has this outdated method of home wiring. If you find it, have an electrician inspect your home’s electrical work.
Knob and tube wiring are dangerous because it can cause a fire if it touches insulation. It is also not grounded and usually designed for lower electric loads than today’s electronics need.
While having a fuse box alone is not a cause for concern, it may mean that your home was built with old electrical standards and could have one of the above problems, as well.
Today, most new homes are built with circuit breakers rather than fuse boxes. Both perform the same function – they shut off electricity to the circuit if too much power is drawn, preventing overheating and the electrical fires overheating can cause.
If you have a fuse box, you do not need to change it to a circuit breaker out of safety concerns, as long as you follow a few guidelines when replacing a fuse:
Looking for these three items in your home will help you uncover your home’s electrical secrets. Of course, for complete peace-of-mind you may want to consider having a professional electrician inspect your home’s electrical system.
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