Knowing when to call an electrician is the better part of DIY. There are things that the amateur should not try, and fixing or replacing the home electrical and wiring system is one of those. Even though many homeowners seem convinced that they are genetically gifted with expertise in fixing electrical problems, they actually make things worse. For homeowners, one of the best steps you can take for the safety of your home and family is finding a qualified electrician in your neighborhood, before there are any problems. Regular inspections and maintenance can ensure that there will not be any problems.
Home safety depends in large part on electrical systems
Faulty, old or corroded electrical wiring is frequently the cause of home fires. In 2011, as many as 47,700 home structure fires recorded by U.S. fire departments were traced to some kind of electrical failure or malfunction. Between 2007 and 2011, almost half or 48% of all non-confined home structure fires in the U.S. due to electrical failure or malfunction were caused by a fault in the electrical distribution or lighting equipment. Of these, the largest number or 63% were due to wiring and related equipment; 20% were due to lamps, light fixtures, and light bulbs; 11% were caused by cords and plugs and 6% were due to transformers and power supplies.
Clearly, the safety of your home depends to a large extent on the proper functioning of the electrical system.
Steps to improve your home safety
Maintaining a home’s electrical system in functioning and safe condition is a complicated task, and should be entrusted to a qualified professional. Electrical wiring should be inspected regularly. Finding a qualified electrician to carry out the inspections and any necessary repairs is an important step you can take to ensure the safety of your home.
Regular inspection, timely repairs done by professionals, and installing safety features like ground circuit interrupters and smoke detectors can all add up to a safer house. Experts recommend taking the following safety steps:
- According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), if your home is 40 years or older, you should have it inspected to identify potential hazards. Any problems should be fixed immediately.
- For homes that are 10 years or older, experts recommend inspections when any major renovations are carried out or when new appliances are installed in the house.
- According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, installing ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) can improve home safety by preventing more than two-thirds of the 300 cases of electrocution that happen in homes each year.
- Adding arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) on bedroom circuits, installing smoke detectors in every bedroom and hallways can improve the safety of your home. There should be a smoke detector on every level.
Finding a qualified electrician
Electrical repairs should always be done by qualified professionals. In the whole of the U.S., there are 583,500 electricians. But they’re busy people and it can be difficult to find one when you have an urgent problem. For a homeowner, it’s always good to establish a comfortable working relationship with a residential electric contractor who is familiar with your house and it’s electric system. Not only does this save time in case of emergencies, it may prevent emergencies from happening altogether.