If you live in an older home, you may have several areas that are unsafe due to outdated electrical components. Ungrounded electrical outlets and light switches put you and your family at risk of getting a shock. Many of these items can be updated in a couple of hours with a few simple tools. Others require the help of an electrical maintenance handyman to make sure the devices are installed safely. Here are some of the electrical items in your home to consider upgrading before a family members gets hurt.
Ungrounded Electrical Outlets
This is the most common problem in older homes. Two-prong electrical outlets were installed in homes before the safety of grounded three-prong outlets was understood. Any two-prong outlets in your home need to be replaced with grounded three-prong outlets. Replacing the outlet takes only a few minutes and is an easy DIY homeowner project, if you're comfortable working with electricity. If not, then have an electrical contractor replace them for you. This is the quickest way to make your home electrical system safer.
Electrical Outlets in Damp Areas
Another hazard to address are electrical outlets near areas that can get wet, such as a kitchen or bathroom sink and in your laundry room. Even if the outlet is already a three-prong grounded outlet, they should be replaced with ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. These outlets cut the power off to the outlet should something damp be plugged into it. For example, if someone plugs a hair dryer into a GFCI outlet when the bathroom is still humid from someone taking a shower, the outlet will shut off the power before the person holding onto the dryer gets a shock.
The electrical systems in older homes were put in place before people became reliant on many electrical devices running simultaneously. The circuit panel in your home may have been set up based on the location of the outlets and not on the anticipated load on them. For example, in an older home, if the microwave in the kitchen is running and the TV in the living room is on, someone plugging in a hair dryer in the bathroom may cause the breaker to overload and trip off. This problem needs to be fixed by having an electrician run an additional line from the bathroom to a new circuit breaker in the electrical panel.
These updates to your home's electrical system are important, because you don't know when someone will get hurt by overloading an outlet or using an electrical appliance in a wet environment. For more information, talk to a professional like Kunselman Electric, Inc.