When it comes to the behind-the-scenes elements that make your home what it is, few things are as crucial and complex as your home wiring system. In addition to providing every room in your house with an ample source of power, your electrical system needs to be balanced, maintained, and treated with respect in order to stay functional and safe. Here are two things your residential electrician needs you to understand about your home's electrical system and what might happen if you go rogue.
1. Labels Aren't Suggestions
Nothing can throw off your interior décor vibe like a few bright white or red labels, which is why many homeowners decide to remove the electrical warning labels that come connected to lamps, electronics, and appliances. Unfortunately, these warnings aren't suggestions. Instead, they are vital instructions that can keep you and your appliance safe from harm. Here are a few examples of instructions you might find and why you should never remove warning labels.
- Extension Cords: Most extension cords have warnings that dictate how many appliances can be plugged into the device, how much wattage the extension cord can handle, and whether or not the cord is rated for indoor or outdoor use. Ignoring these warnings could overheat the extension cord and damage any device plugged into the cord.
- Light Bulbs: Oftentimes, people choose to brighten up a room by swapping a low-wattage light bulb for a brighter, higher-wattage version. However, lamps and lighting fixtures are only designed to carry so much current, and replacing standard bulbs for higher wattages could cause your lamp to overheat. Because light bulbs can also generate heat, replacing your light bulb with a non-recommended variety could also burn the wiring that powers your light or melt the bottom of the bulb and cause a fire.
- Crucial Item Information: Many electrical outlets, switches, and control panels are carefully labeled with crucial item information. For example, GFCI outlets, which are outlets designed to shut down when too much current is flowing, might be labeled with a bright red "GFCI" sticker to help homeowners and maintenance personnel alike identify them quickly. Never remove labels or paint over them to hide this crucial information.
When it comes to electrical safety, make sure that you always read and understand electrical labels, wattage limits, and item-handling requirements. If the device that you are using doesn't have electrical labeling, check with the manufacturer or a professional electrician to make sure that you are using the device properly. This might seem like overkill, but it could help you to stay safe.
2. DIY Electrical Repairs Aren't a Good Idea
If you have a free weekend and a penchant for home repairs, you might feel like rolling up your sleeves and taking a crack at repairing that broken light switch, outlet, or home appliance. Unfortunately, electrical repairs are one of those things that can be incredibly dangerous if you don't know what you are doing.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that there are over 70 deaths each year due to electrocutions, and a staggering 360,900 residential fires are reported annually. Electricity is powerful, and it only takes a single mistake to kill you, leave you with debilitating burns, or start your house on fire. To top this off, doing any electrical work in your home incorrectly could leave you with building-code violations and fines from your city. Some homeowners insurance companies won't even cover house fires if they are tied to electrical work that wasn't permitted.
To stay on the safe side, always hire a professional electrical contractor if you need to have work done on your home. In addition to having the skills and equipment to do the job, electricians who work on homes day in and day out can usually complete the work much faster than you would be able to.
By keeping electrical safety in mind and hiring a professional electrician, such as one from Sun Coast Electric & Networking Inc, to handle your repairs, you can keep your home and your family safe.