Homes of any age experience electrical problems. You can keep your Portland area home safe from common electrical concerns if you keep an eye out for these problems:
Plugs that fall out of receptacles
Worn contacts that do not hold a plug firmly pose a fire risk and should be replaced as soon as possible. Outlets are not expensive or difficult to replace.
No ground-fault circuit interrupters in wet areas
GFCIs shut off current quickly to prevent electrocution. In bathrooms, kitchens and other wet areas, these receptacles are required in new homes. You can stay safe when you replace older receptacles with GFCIs. They are a little bit more expensive than regular outlets at about $12 apiece.
Check for backstabbed wiring on new receptacles and switches
Allowed on new construction, back-stabbed wiring is not as secure as wires connected to the receptacle with a screw. Usually the only problem is a loose wire that keeps the receptacle from working. However, a fire can start if the hot wire becomes loose. You can remove the outlet cover, pull the wires out, and then secure them with the terminal screws. Make sure the breaker is off before opening the outlet cover.
Over-wired circuit panel
An over-wired panel has more circuits than it is designed to accommodate. The panel should have a label displaying how many circuits it should have. While not necessarily dangerous, it is a code violation. That could be a problem if you sell your home or require an electrical inspection. You can add a subpanel for additional circuits, or install a larger panel altogether if your budget permits.
Use the right light bulb
While it may be tempting to install a high-wattage bulb in a low-watt fixture, it’s dangerous to do so. Light bulb mismatching is a common cause of electrical problems and house fires. Damage to the socket and wiring often go unnoticed until a problem occurs. If the fixture isn’t labeled with its wattage, always use a bulb no larger than 60 watts.
Always seek skilled advice for electrical problems. Roth Heating & Cooling offers Portland area homeowners professional, award-winning service.