Every home will need electrical services in one way or another. But, regardless of how much you try, something will go wrong with your home’s electrical system. Whether it’s adding a light fixture or run rough electric for addition, there are quite a few things you need to know quite a few factors to keep track of to get things done.
At Electrical Supply Depot, we specialize in providing high-quality electrical supplies near you at affordable rates. So we know all about the warning signs you need to keep in mind, and we thought we should let you know all about them. So without further delay, let’s check out the electrical warnings you shouldn’t ignore!
Never Ignore The Signs
Every professional you meet will tell you never to ignore the warning signs that might indicate problems in your electrical system. It can be anything from a popping noise from an outlet, a light switch that runs extremely hot, to a breaker that won’t reset when you have an electrical issue. You have to remember to take signs like this into account as they can lead to big electrical problems. However, as long as you don’t let the issues fester and become an increasing hazard, you won’t find it hard to resolve the problems.
One of the most common services that electricians perform is usually related to a failure in a bathroom circuit. The law states that all outlets within 6 feet of a water source are required to be protected by a ground fault circuit interrupt (GFCI). GFCIs are essential safety devices that cut off power if a circuit is losing amperage, and that’s one of the reasons GFCIs are most commonly seen in bathrooms and exterior outlets.
You have to remember that a single GFCI device protects everything else “downstream” on that circuit. You have to keep in mind that bathrooms are often not on an isolated circuit, so that can result in the triggered GFCI killing the power to outlets and lights that may seem unrelated.
Now, you may find it confusing even because sometimes the GFCI is installed at the electrical breaker box itself. So the reason it’s one of the most common services is because it’s common for outdoor circuits and in homes where multiple bathrooms are on a single circuit. So checking the GFCI is an essential part of troubleshooting dead outlets.
Overhead Power Lines Are Live
You have to remember that power lines aren’t usually insulated. So when you see live birds or squirrels on power lines, they don’t complete the circuit by touching the ground or offering the current an easier path than following the cable itself.
Most power lines you see are only weather coated at best without any insulation other than spacers at utility poles. The reason it’s not an issue so high above the ground. However, it does become an issue when the lines fall or a worker comes into contact with them while trimming a tree. But the lines that can be touched from a rooftop or tree are insulated due to their proximity to humans.
However, you have to remember that the insulation degrades over time, and eventually, it will crumble and reveal the bare wire. So always approach overhead lines knowing that they are potentially fatal objects and are best left to a licensed electrician or utility worker.
Know Your Limits
We all love DIYs, and it’s the perfect way to learn about your home and hone your skills and self-reliance. However, you have to know the boundaries and limitations of your skills. For example, if you are new to electrical DIY, a good rule of thumb is to only work on electrical components outside of the wall.
Once you develop your skills as an amateur electrician, you can move on to more advanced work like fishing cable and adding outlets but make sure your local building department allows it. The problem usually arises when DIY enthusiasts who have more enthusiasm than experience take up an electrical project and leave their less than perfect work behind a layer of drywall.
Black & White Doesn’t Always Mean The Same Thing
Now, this may be contradicting best practices. Still, your electrician has ample experience to know that a home’s electrical system is extensive, complicated, and may have been worked on by dozens of different people. Many may be without being adequately trained or following code.
So when you open up an electrical outlet, you may find a bewildering bird’s nest of wires, electrical tape, and wire nuts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t work on it; however, it does mean you have to be very careful and not make assumptions. Also, make sure to use a non-contact voltage tester to verify that a line is dead before working on it.
Low Voltages Too Can Be Dangerous
We won’t tell you that a low-voltage system is as dangerous as working on your electrical breaker box. However, it would be best if you still take basic precautions. You have to treat low-voltage wiring as if it were standard and start picking up best practices. Once you begin to do that, you will see it pay off when working in higher voltage situations.
Every electrical professional will warn you that it’s not the voltage that is harmful, but the current and even low-voltage wiring can draw a higher than safe current. The most common hazard related to low voltage wiring is when a mild shock surprises the installer and causes them to fall from a ladder or step stool.
You also have to keep in mind the importance of securing connections. Remember that one spark from a poorly secured low-voltage connection can ignite combustible materials just as easily as that from a 110v junction. Avoiding the hazard is quite simple and often only requires you to do the job right. Just don’t do something as foolish as storing your oily rags next to a low-voltage device.
Vampire Draws Are Real
Yes, they aren’t an urban legend vampire draws are very real, and they might not suck blood, but they do suck dollars out of your wallet. Keep in mind that devices that have “standby” mode and remote controls always need to maintain a steady stream of power to boot quickly. Plus, charging devices, phone chargers, and laptop chargers draw power even when not plugged into their device. From our experience, we’ve seen that every time an electrician gets called about high energy bills, “vampire” devices are often the first thing they look at as potential culprits.
Need For High-Grade Protective Gear
Everyone knows that rubber is an excellent insulator, and that’s why sometimes DIYers tend to wrap themselves in rubber boots and gloves before tackling electrical issues, which makes them nervous. But the problem with that is that most household rubber isn’t pure, and that’s because manufacturers tend to mix in additives that lower the cost and increase durability, bringing the price down. That’s why we always suggest using actual safety gear when working on electrical systems.
You know how you see on TV shows and movies that an electrical line falls on a car, but the passengers are safe? Well, it is accurate but not because the tires are insulating the vehicle but because the tires are such good conductors that the electricity takes the path of least resistance. It allows the electricity to travel to the ground through the tires and bypassing the interior thoroughly.
Never Install a Three-Slot Receptacle Without a Ground Wire
If you have two-slot outlets, you may want to replace them and install three-slot outlets so you can plug in three-prong plugs. But we recommend you don’t do this unless you’re sure there’s a ground available. Instead, take a tester and see if your outlet is grounded.
The tester will show you whether the outlet is wired correctly or what fault exists through a series of lights. You will find testers at an electrical supply store near you. If you find a three-slot outlet in an ungrounded box, the easiest fix is simply replacing it with a two-slot outlet.
Don’t Tape/Hold Down Circuit Breakers
Every electrical professional you will come across will tell you circuit breakers work because they break the circuit. If your breaker keeps popping, then you should find and fix the problem, but if you hold the breaker down with tape, then the danger will linger on. If you’ve been holding or taping down a circuit breaker, then you should know that it’s a recipe for disaster, and you should avoid doing it at all costs.
Check Out Tamper-Resistant Receptacles
Tamper-resistant receptacles are designed to ensure a kid doesn’t insert anything like a paper clip. It’s a must-have for all locations, indoors and out. These are a great invention and are in the national electric code so make sure you use them.
Outdoor Receptacle Covers Are Important
For outdoor receptacles, flat covers provide protection when it isn’t in use. However, it’s not uncommon for extension cords to be plugged in for extended periods, especially for holiday lights. That’s where in-use or “bubble covers” come in and provide protection. In addition, the national electrical code states that a “wet location” is an area subject to saturation with water or other liquids and unprotected locations exposed to the weather.
So if you think the receptacle will get wet, make sure to use an in-use cover. It would be best if you also remembered the weather-resistant receptacle because the national electrical code requires all 15- and 20-amp receptacles to be rated as weather-resistant and tamper-resistant when installed in both wet and damp locations.
The Best Electrical Supply Store Near You
So there you go, those are the electrical warnings you should heed. As you can see, these are more like cautionary tales than warnings and aren’t intended to scare you away. However, you have to remember that most professionals are eager to encourage homeowners to learn how to do essential electrical work independently.
Whether it’s repairing a cut extension cord or roughing in the electrical for a new addition, you should be able to do the basic electrical repairs yourself. If you heed the warnings, you will be able to do them without a problem. When you are doing electrical repairs, you will need supplies, and that’s where Electrical Supply Depot comes in. We are one of the best electrical supply stores near you.
Our curated list of the best products at affordable rates ensures you get the best deals on your electrical supplies. So if you are looking for high-quality electrical supplies, then feel free to get in touch! Also, if you have any questions about electrical warnings or the national electrical code, drop them in the comments below or hit us up on our socials, and we will answer them for you. And with that being said, that’s about all we have for you today. We will come back with something new for you soon. Until then, see ya!