Electrical Safety Tips for Older Homes

Electricity has become such a standard part of our daily lives that it is often taken for granted, but electrical failures are a leading cause of home fires every year. Homes with aging electrical systems are at increased risk for electrical fires. It’s important to note that all electrical work in your home should be performed by a licensed electrician in accordance with local and national codes. Follow these safety tips to identify and prevent electrical hazards.

Reasons to Get an Electrical Inspection

  • Your home is 40 years old or older
  • You purchase a previously owned home
  • Your home has undergone a major renovation
  • You have added major new appliances in the last 10 years

Warning Signs

  • Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers;
  • A tingling feeling or slight shock when you touch an appliance
  • Outlets and/or switches that are warm or make crackling, sizzling, or buzzing noises
  • Flickering or dimming lights.

Circuit Breakers and Outlets

  • Consider having your circuit breakers replaced with arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs), which provide enhanced electrical fire protection by detecting dangerous arcing conditions.
  • Make sure all electrical panel circuits are properly labeled. Always replace fuses or circuit breakers with the correct size and amperage.
  • Use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI)-protected outlets in areas where electricity is near a water source, like in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Every month use the TEST buttons to check that GFCIs, AFCIs, and smoke alarms are working properly.
  • Routinely check cords, outlets, switches, and appliances for signs of damage. Do not use damaged electrical devices.
  • Do not overload outlets with too many devices or appliances.

Cords, Plugs, and Lights

  • Do not use extension cords on a permanent basis, and never use them with major appliances.
  • Never run electrical cords under rugs or carpets.
  • Do not pinch cords under furniture or in windows/doors.
  • Always use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture

If you are concerned about your home’s electrical safety or are interested in having peace-of-mind that your electrical system is safe. We would be happy to provide you with a comprehensive electrical safety inspection. Please give us a call