It’s a homeowner’s worst nightmare. You flip on a light switch and nothing happens. You check an outlet, also no power. Finally, you head to the breaker box to see if anything needs to be reset. If that doesn’t work, then you’re calling an electrician and spending the rest of the day in the dark ages until your power is back up and running.
Do you know what’s more frustrating? When the electrician arrives and points out a simple code violation, that if corrected, would’ve saved you the hassle of making a phone call. It’s important, especially if you live in an older home, to be aware of common electrical code violations. Down the road, an inspection can save you from a hefty repair bill or even better, save your home and family from an electrical fire. Here, we’ve illustrated a few common electrical code violations to look for in your home.
New Lights and Old Wiring Don’t Mix
Back in the day, houses weren’t constructed to handle today’s modern, high wattage light fixtures and bulbs. When you put a high-powered bulb in a fixture that’s only able to handle 60 watts, you’re putting yourself in a dangerous situation. Higher wattage light bulbs create a lot of heat. Over time, that heat can melt the light socket and the insulation around the wires. Without proper insulation and a melted light socket, a fire can spark at any moment. In fact, this is one of the most common causes of electrical fires. It’s also one of the easiest to prevent. Make sure you inspect the light fixture to determine the maximum wattage bulb allowed. When in doubt, always choose a less powerful bulb.
Beware of Knob and Tube Wiring
Anyone who’s familiar with home renovation television shows will spot this electrical issue right away. It’s one of the most common budget-destroying home renovation finds next to asbestos or load bearing beams. Knob and tube was the first type of electrical wiring used in homes built before the 1940’s. We’ve learned a lot since then, and by today’s standards, knob and tube wiring is extremely unsafe. What makes knob and tube wiring so scary is that there’s no ground wire to protect your house from surges and other faults. Instead, the wiring could spark and set your whole house ablaze. If you’re down in your basement and notice old ceramic knob and tube wiring, it’s time to give your house an upgrade before you lose everything you own in a house fire.
Recessed Lighting Deserves a Second Look
Recessed lighting can give rooms a clean, modern look. It can also be a dangerous fire hazard if not installed properly. To be safe, non-IC-rated lights need to be at least three inches away from insulation. If not, the lights can overheat. Non-IC-rated recessed lights can produce a lot of heat, enough heat to ignite insulation that’s too close. If you’re unsure of the type of recessed lighting you have, it’s important that you have a professional to inspect the light and insulation to make sure you’re not at risk of sparking a house fire.
Look Out for Illegal Splicing
This electrical issue might be a bit more difficult for the average homeowner to identify without the help of an expert. Electricians use a splice to connect two or more wires together. In order to be up to code and safe, electricians need to run the wires into a junction box, make a splice with wire nuts and cover the junction box with a cover plate. Oftentimes, DIY homeowners think they can do their own electrical work. Not only is an illegal splice a dangerous fire hazard, but it can be a sign that there are more serious electrical issues in the house. If you suspect an illegal splice in your house, it’s a clear sign you’ll need a more thorough inspection.
Overcrowding Wires Happens Too Often
Sometimes, DIY-ers and inexperienced electricians get lazy. When roughing in electrical wiring, they try to run too many wires through a ⅞ hole. The maximum number of wires allowed through a ⅞ hole is three. When an electrician runs too many wires through a hole, they run the risk of burning. Burning occurs when wires rub together and the insulation wears down. With exposed wiring behind your wall, without you knowing, you run the risk of a fire sparking at any time.
Do You Think You Have An Electrical Emergency?
Have you noticed lights flickering in your home? Outlets not working? Maybe you’ve noticed one of the issues we pointed out on this list. If you think you have an electrical emergency on your hands, give Althoff Industries a call at 815-455-7000 to schedule an appointment today.
This information is provided as a general guideline. Althoff Industries does not assume any liability resulting from the provided information.