It’s the start of a new year. And, you know what that means. It’s time to make some resolutions and set some goals to improve some aspects of your life. While resolutions are usually about something like quitting smoking or dieting, you could also think about some goals for your home, maybe even some electrical maintenance goals. How about investing a little effort into making sure that all of the electrical components of your home are in tip-top shape?
One of the leading causes of fires in the home is because of an electrical malfunction. It could be a wiring issue, a faulty appliance, or even something that you’re doing, unwittingly creating a hazard. While a smoke alarm will alert you and your family to a fire, it won’t save your home or your possessions from the devastation.
One of the best ways to prevent a fire caused by your electrical system is to have a preventative maintenance program set up. A professional electrician can put a scheduled plan together based on the particular components of your home. Here are just some of the things an electrician can do for you to help you achieve your electrical maintenance goals year, and make your home safer for you and your family.
If you have a smoke detector that runs on batteries, you are already in the habit of checking it every so often to make sure that the batteries are still good. But, if you think about it, you’re putting an awful lot of trust in a battery and a test button. You could consider having your smoke detector hard-wired to your electricity, so there’s no chance of a battery dying without you being aware of it. A skilled electrician can easily install one, as well as keeping tabs on its condition during an annual electrical inspection.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The same would apply to carbon monoxide detectors. You could improve their reliability by having them installed instead of running on a battery or a plug.
Of course, you’d have a ceiling fan installed by a certified electrician. But, once it’s up there, it actually takes quite a bit of abuse. The constant motion of the fan can cause screws to loosen, and can sometimes affect the integrity of the wiring. Faulty wiring anywhere in your home isn’t something that you want to take chances with. Having them on your preventative maintenance program would keep them operating safely.
Switches and Outlets
The maintenance of the wiring inside of your walls should only be done by a professional electrician. Over time, the wires and circuits can become compromised, either from age or some other factor. You’ll usually notice flickering lights, or lights dimming on their own. The same thing can happen with your electric wall outlets. Some switches and outlets may even stop functioning altogether. An annual maintenance check will test each of these areas and make sure there aren’t any fire hazards.
Those same wires behind your walls and ceilings are connected to your overhead lights. They would also be checked during a routine maintenance program to make sure that they are operating safely and efficiently. Your electrician can even give you some useful recommendations of energy-saving bulbs for your fixtures, as well as suggestions for dimmers and other gadgets that can save you money on your utility bills.
If you have a back-up generator for your home, you’ll definitely want it included on your maintenance program. Hopefully, it doesn’t have to kick on very often. But, you certainly want it to be ready and able to handle your home’s electrical needs when the time comes. An electrician will perform all of the necessary tests on the generator, and its access points, to make sure it is ready to go in case of an emergency with your home’s power supply.
Your electrician can also check out all of the wiring and connection points for the various appliances in your home. Some appliances are plugged into outlets, and some, like stove-tops, ovens, and dishwashers are hard-wired to your main electrical panel. As with anything, over time, those wires and terminals can get frayed and corroded. Having them inspected, and repaired or cleaned, will extend the life of the appliance and make it safer for your home.
Another common cause for house fires is having too many things plugged into outlets, or even worse, overloading extension cords. Designed for short term use only, extension cords can overheat and catch fire if there are too many things plugged into them or in the event of a power surge. And, outlets are only designed to conduct a certain amount of electricity safely.
A surge protector will protect your outlets, and anything that is plugged into them, in the event of a sudden surge of electricity from your power company. They will also reduce the risk of fire hazards caused by overloading outlets or using extension cords. You can either have one with several points of access that is plugged into the electric outlet. Or, you can have a whole-house surge protector, which is installed at the meter or in the main electric panel, and will control the surge before it gets a chance to enter your home. A professional electrician will be able to easily advise you of the best surge protector for your home, as well as include its maintenance in the scheduled routine.
Main Electrical Panel
This in one area that you only want a qualified electrician to touch. It controls all of the electricity that flows through your home. It’s composed of a combination of breakers, fuses, wires, conduits, and circuits that will need some maintenance occasionally. Being proactive and having your main electrical panel included in your yearly preventative maintenance schedule can avoid an electrical emergency when you least expect it.
Your home may have a sub panel in addition to the main electrical panel. It’s basically a smaller version of the main panel, with many of the same components, and only controls certain areas in your home. It would also be included in your yearly proactive routine.
Home Security Systems
If your home has a home security system, some of the parts and sensors will be located outdoors. Even though the wiring is designed to withstand the elements, the factors of both time and abuse can cause the wiring to suffer, creating a potential hazard. This is just another aspect of your home’s electrical system that could be included in your maintenance program.
Other Home Components
The major mechanicals of your home like your furnace, air conditioner, and water softener all have a connection point where the electricity is attached. Inspecting these access sites could also be a part you your preventative maintenance plan, giving you more confidence in their continued performance.
Achieving your electrical maintenance goals for this year is easy, as long as you have a proactive plan in place. The biggest advantage of any preventative maintenance program is the peace of mind it will give you, because you’re fully knowledgeable about every aspect of your home’s performance. Not only are you making sure that the life of every component in your home is maximized, but you are also making sure that your home is a safe environment for you and your family.