If you are a homeowner, you will eventually encounter a situation where the expertise of an electrician is needed. A licensed electrician is invaluable for those tougher jobs. However, not all jobs are complicated and some can even be fixed without professional help. Electricians understand those less complicated electrical issues may become a weekend DIY project; thus, they feel there are a few tips every homeowner should be aware of.
Extension Cords Should Not Beget More Extension Cords
With the Christmas holidays coming up, one can’t help but think about sparkling lights and festive displays. And for those who love movies the holidays are made that much more enjoyable by the classic film ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’. Clark Griswold – the main character – takes much delight in his outdoor light display that consists of no less than “250 strands of lights, 100 individual bulbs per strand, for a grand total of 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights!” Of course when Clark plugs in the one extension cord, nothing happens! It’s a holiday hazard at its best. The issue is that Clark plugged all the strands into each other creating an electrical nightmare! Tip #1 is therefore, do not overload extension cords or allow them to run through water or snow on the ground. Pay attention to the cautions and rating on your extension cord before plugging anything into it.
Pay Attention To The Warning Signs
Not all electrical problems are equal; thus, there are some warning signs that you should watch
for more than others. If the circuits in your home sometimes malfunction and operate too hot, there is a risk of fire. Anytime extreme heat is present, it is an indication that something is seriously wrong. Furthermore, when a breaker keeps turning off, it is proof that there is an electrical short which needs to be taken care of immediately. Lastly, if you smell burning in the air, consider this a huge red flag. All power entering your home should be turned off immediately at your electrical service panel and an electrician should be called.
The Color Coding Of Your Wiring Isn’t Always Accurate
There is perhaps nothing worse when it comes to electricity than to open an electrical panel only to see the absence of labels or mislabeling. Imagine going to eat at a southern buffet restaurant. If the okra is mistakenly labeled as butter beans there isn’t that much of a problem. But when it comes to electricity, if you trust that a white wire is always neutral while a green is ground and a black is “hot,” then you are at risk of doing substandard work or getting yourself hurt. Follow your electricians advice and practice and test each wire to verify its purpose.
Check For Ground
If you purchase a new television and realize the plug has three prongs but your outlet has two prongs, it is likely that you will simply turn off the breaker delivering power to the outlet, and then swap out the two prong for a three prong. Sounds simple enough. Before you do though, you need to make sure that your wiring includes a grounding wire. If the little hole of the outlet is not grounded it can damage the television or even cause an electrical shock!
Don’t Force A Circuit Breaker
You have the microwave running. During that time you realize you need to toast something as well. Both are plugged into the same outlet. You turn on the toaster and within seconds the breaker trips. It is frustrating, yes, but it is a big signal that there is a problem inside your panel box. Do not, under any circumstances, tape a circuit breaker down to stop it from turning off. If your breaker is turning off, it is doing so to protect you. Immediately find the problem and fix it or call your electrician to do it for you.
You don’t always need an electrician. There are a number of electrical issues you can fix yourself. These five tips will help you do them more efficiently and safely. Whether you are lighting up the December sky or moving from HDTV to 4K, your electrician wants you to know that if you follow these tips you’ll likely be safer and feel more accomplished.