7 Electrical Safety Check
Electrical safety is a priority among many homeowners. Do an electrical safety check at least once a year. You do not need to hire an electrician to do a quick inspection of the household and determine if there are problems. Even with basic knowledge, you can complete the check yourself. Keep on reading and we’ll talk about some of the things you will need to inspect.
1. Check the Electric Panel
The breaker box or the electric panel is one of the first things that you should check. Most boxes will have a sticker label, which contains the date it was last checked. This is a good idea to help you monitor when the next regular inspection should be. Make sure that there is at least three feet of clean space around the box. Also, there should be a battery-operated emergency light nearby, which will help you do a quick inspection in case of an outage. Open the panel door and look for signs of damage, such as rodent infestation. Flip the circuit, making sure that they are working. There should be no sparks. If there is any corroded component, contact an electrician and have it changed as soon as possible.
2. Test the GFCI
One of the most important household outlets is the GFCI. It is found in places where there is water or moisture, such as the kitchen, toilet, and basement. It is smart enough to interrupt the electrical supply when a hazard has been detected. Testing the GFCI is easy. There is a built-in test button, so all that you will need to do is to press such. When you press it, all of the appliances plugged should be turned off. If they are still powered on, then this means that the GFCI is not working and a replacement may be warranted. If the latter is the case, then you will need an electrician.
3. Check the Exposed Wire
There are many wires visible within your home, so take the time to inspect them annually. You don’t need to take off the ceiling or tear down walls. You only have to see those that are exposed. It is easy to tell if they are damaged. From discoloration to cracks, pay attention to their visual appearance. If there is any sign of chewing, chances are, it is a result of rodent activity. Consider pest control as a solution. Changing damaged wires is also a must to minimize the hazards.
4. Inspect the Outlets
Take the time to check both the interior and exterior outlets. If they have not been changed in a long time, now may be the perfect opportunity for a replacement. Pay attention to the ones installed outdoors since they are more prone to wear. They should have working covers, which will protect from water and other elements that can compromise performance and safety. It should also have GFCI for the highest level of protection. If the outlets have cracks or dents, it is best to replace them.
5. Test the Outlets
It is not enough that you do a visual inspection of the outlet. Beyond the cover of the receptacle, there may be problems that are not easily visible to the naked eye. With this, you will benefit from investing in a cube or block tester. This is a handy device that you need to plug in an outlet, and in an instant, it lets you know if there is any problem that warrants immediate attention. There are indicator lights, which will show the problem. It is an affordable and useful tool that should be present in your toolbox.
6. Do a Voltage Test
This is another easy test that you can do with the use of a small and affordable device. Even if you are not an electrician, consider investing in a voltmeter or multimeter. This will let you check the power that a specific outlet supplies. If the outlet is 120-volt, then the readings should be anywhere from 110 to 130. If it is outside that range, then you might need to work with a licensed electrician to fix the problem. Do not attempt to open the outlet and fix things yourself, especially if you do not have the right tools!
7. Use Your Senses
In the things mentioned above, you are mostly using your eyes as you complete the inspection. However, you need to use your other senses as well. For instance, use your sense of touch to check excessive heat. Lightly touch the outlets and switches. If you feel that it is too hot, then this can be an early indication of a serious problem. Also, use your sense of smell. If there is a foul odor, such as a burnt smell near the outlets, take this s a sign of a problem. Meanwhile, when using your sense of hearing, listen to any cackling or popping sound, which can also mean an electrical problem. Lastly, and obviously, you do not have to use your sense of taste in an electrical check!
Once a year, find the time to do a quick electrical safety check in your household. As mentioned above, it does not have to be complicated. Even without being an electrician, you can complete a basic inspection. With small and affordable tools, you can have peace of mind knowing that your electrical system is in check. If there are problems, make sure to contact the right person immediately.
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