Whether you have just moved into your new home or are considering a renovation, it’s important to keep up with electrical code requirements. You might now know it but there are standards to comply with even when you simply install ceiling fans. Adhering to these standards will ensure that your house is safe and will increase its resale value.
It’s also important to stay informed about NEC changes. For example, GFCI breakers are required in bathrooms, kitchens and outdoors.
1. Exposed or Improper Splices
Exposed or improper splices can be a sign of a serious electrical code violation. They can also be a fire hazard.
Splices are the connection point where two wires are joined together. These connections are essential for a wire to function properly, so you should make sure they’re done correctly.
Wire splicing is a basic skill that should be learned by all home improvement enthusiasts, no matter the size of their project. The proper technique will help your DIY electrical repair projects go smoothly and safely.
The type of splice you use can also make a difference in how long the electrical connections last. For example, a butt splice relies on a mechanical clamp to secure the wires together, whereas twist-on wire connectors require a spring to press the wires together.
To splice two wires, start by stripping off about 1 an inch of insulation from each end. This will give you enough room for the connectors to grip the wires without cutting into them.
For splicing three or more wires, you can cut the ends of each pigtail so they don’t line up directly opposite each other. This will prevent them from failing when they’re wrapped with insulating tape later on.
Another good way to splice two wires is to crimp them together using a special wire connector. This type of splice will reduce the fire hazard associated with aluminum electrical wiring.
2. Extension Cords
Extension cords are a common tool that many homeowners use when they don’t have enough outlets for their equipment. But they can also lead to serious injuries, such as electric burns to the mouth and hands, if not used properly.
An extension cord is an insulated electrical wire that has a plug on one end and one or more power outlets on the other. They are sold in a variety of lengths, thicknesses and service duties. The type of cord you choose depends on the size and number of appliances it will be used with, as well as your home’s specific requirements.
The gauge, or size, of the cord’s wires is a key factor in how much power it can carry (called “current,” or “amps”) and how hot the wires get. A higher-gauge wire can carry more current, but it will also heat up more quickly.
Similarly, the voltage drop of an extension cord affects how much power it can deliver. The longer the cord is, the more power it will lose through the resistance of its wires.
It’s essential to make sure that all cords have the proper polarity (hot/neutral) and grounding. This is necessary to protect consumers from a dangerous buildup of electricity and electrocution.
Another safety concern with extension cords is damage to the insulation sheathing. Animals chew on and remove the insulation, which can lead to arcing of the wires or a short circuit. Additionally, continual use of the cord can cause the insulation to deteriorate, which presents a shock hazard and fire hazard. To prevent this, routine inspection of extension cords is important. This includes checking the maximum amperage capacity of the cords, ensuring that they are in good condition and that the shortest cords are being used for each intended purpose.
3. Illegal Line Splices
Illegal line splices are one of the most common electrical code violations found in homes across the nation. They are often done when adding a light fixture or outlet, reconnecting wires, or connecting an old wire to a new one.
While these splices are generally harmless, they can also be dangerous if they’re not performed correctly. They can result in overloaded circuits, increased safety risks, and even house fires!
Splicing should only be done by a professional electrician, and it should always occur inside of a junction box. This is to reduce the risk of fires and other hazards that could occur if these splices were not done correctly.
It’s a common misconception that splicing wires is easy, or that it can be done by anyone. However, splicing is actually a tricky task that requires precise measurements and correct equipment.
If you’ve noticed your home’s wiring has illegal splices, it’s time to take action. Call the electrical experts at Farryn Electric to schedule an inspection and correct these splices so you can avoid serious hazards in your home.
The best way to fix an illegal splice is to install a junction box and run all of the wires through it. Then, a professional electrician can make the splice using wire nuts and install a cover plate over the box to keep it safe from the elements. The best part is that your house won’t burn down in the process! Contact us today to schedule an appointment! We look forward to helping you keep your family safe! The most important thing is to stop living by the rule of thumb that “what you don’t see won’t hurt you.”
4. Not Enough Receptacles
Electrical codes are there to keep your home safe and ensure that you don’t end up in a house fire. Whether you’ve just bought a new home or you’re remodeling an older property, it’s important to be aware of the most common electrical code violations and how to fix them.
One of the most basic fixes is to make sure that you have enough outlets in each room. Generally, you’ll need one outlet for every six feet of linear wall space. If you don’t have enough, you could find yourself tripping over your appliance cords and running up large bills when you need to call an electrician.
Another simple fix involves making sure that you have tamper resistant (TR) receptacles. These receptacles have spring-loaded coverings that prevent children from inserting objects into the receptacle’s contact slots.
If your electrical receptacles aren’t tamper resistant, they could easily become a fire hazard. Tamper resistant receptacles also protect people from electrical shocks.
A GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter, is required in all bathrooms, kitchens, garages and crawl spaces. These receptacles shut off the power to the device if something goes wrong or someone gets shocked, protecting them from injury.
This is an easy fix for many homeowners, and it should not be overlooked. If you’re not sure where to start, have a professional electrician take a look at your receptacles. It will save you money in the long run and will help your family stay safer.
5. Circuit Breakers
Circuit breakers perform the important function of detecting excess current and preventing damage to wiring, appliances, and home systems. There are three basic types of breakers: standard circuit, arc fault, and ground fault.
A circuit breaker contains fixed and moving electrical contacts (called electrodes) that come into contact under the pressure of a spring to open or close an electrical circuit when it detects a fault. When a short circuit occurs, the electrical contacts open, creating an electrical arc between them. This arc is a potential fire hazard because it can create conductive ionized gases, molten metal, and vaporized metal.
These arcs can cause serious injury or death and should never be allowed to occur. Thankfully, circuit breakers have been designed with many features that help to prevent and extinguish this type of arc.
When a circuit breaker trips, it will automatically turn off all power to the device being tripped. This helps to prevent overheating and injuries or deaths from a faulty circuit breaker.
One of the most common causes of a tripped breaker is an overloaded circuit. This happens when there are too many devices on a single circuit, and they’re all using more power than the circuit can safely carry. Things like blenders, coffee grinders, hair dryers, and space heaters are all examples of devices that tend to be overloaded.
If the breaker keeps tripping, redistribute all of the appliances on that particular circuit more evenly between other circuits in the house to avoid overloading it. Then, check the breaker again to ensure it hasn’t tripped again after you’ve done this.
If you’re not sure what’s wrong with your circuit breaker, or don’t know how to fix it, you should call an electrician. They’ll be able to tell you if it’s safe to work on and can help you get it fixed quickly.