4 Smart Questions For Your Electrician

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If you can't remember the last time you had the electrical fixtures, connections and wiring in or around your home inspected, there's no time like the present. Certain problems can easily go undetected for years, only coming to light in the wake of a fire or electrocution. If you'd rather avoid that kind of surprise, here are four questions you'll want to make sure your trusty electrician answers to your satisfaction.

1. "Am I Grounded?"

This question sounds like something a petulant teenager might ask, but the answer is absolutely essential for homeowners to know. Modern electrical sockets have a third hole for a ground prong to connect to a ground wire. The wire diverts excess current to your home's ground rod, allowing the current to return safely to the ground. 

Grounding makes all the difference between a harmless tripped breaker or blown fuse and a devastating house fire or tragic electrocution -- but don't take it for "grounded" that your home is grounded properly. Ask your electrician to:

  • Check copper water lines to make sure they're bonded to grounding wires
  • Confirm that all the power boxes and service panels are thoroughly grounded
  • Test each outlet to see whether that third hole really connects to a ground wire 

2. "How Old (and Safe) Is my Interior Wiring?"

Most homeowners take their property's interior wiring as an invisible give -- a system that "just works" whenever they need power. But electrical wiring doesn't necessarily last forever. Rats or other vermin may chew away some of the outer insulation sheathing, exposing the metal wires and possibly leading to a house fire. Your electrician can check for signs of damage and replace dangerously exposed sections as needed.

Older homes may use wiring that today's builders would no longer consider safe. No matter how scrupulously you've restored the visible portions of your antique home, if the home's wiring features old-fashioned rubber, lead, or fabric insulation, you've still got more restoration work to do. Aluminum wiring, a staple of home building in the 1960s and 1970s, is another potential fire hazard. Ask your electrician whether you should replace your aluminum wires with copper ones.

3. "Do My Overhead Wires Need Help?"

Have you ever given much thought to those thick electrical cables that carry hundreds or thousands of volts from the city's generators and transformers to various neighborhoods and homes? These overhead wires can pose a fatal threat if they're not set up and connected properly. Ask your electrician to evaluate:

  • The proximity of the cables to nearby tree limbs, trunks, and branches
  • Damaged or loose-hanging cables
  • Poor or missing insulation at the point where the cable connects to your home

Home electricians may not be able to address these issues -- they're really a matter for the city electrical department -- but they can spot obvious dangers and help you learn what to look for and when you might need to summon the city's aid.

4. "What's Wrong With My Sockets and Plugs?"

If something seems wrong with your electrical sockets, it's usually wise to call an electrician to inspect them. A socket that consistently fails to power your electrical devices may not even be connected to the rest of your electrical system -- an annoying inconvenience, though thankfully not a dangerous one. But if a socket or plug feels hot to the touch or makes sizzling noises, stop using it immediately and have these components checked for damage. 

Ask your electrician the right questions, and you'll end up with a safer home that gives you the electricity you want, where and when you want it. Schedule that overdue inspection today -- who knows what you may discover? You can discover more on what your electrician can do to ensure the safety of your house by following the link in this sentence.

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12 May 2015

Talking About Electrician Services

Hello, my name is Jack Solphina. I am going to use this site to share electrician tools, techniques and services with you all. Electricians really saved the day after I moved into a home with dead outlets and unresponsive fixtures. Turns out, the previous owners placed a number of switched outlets throughout the house without hooking them to an activation knob. As a result, I was unable to use those connection points as the electricity was effectively turned off. My electrician rectified the problem by installing switches and changing some of the outlets. I want to share the techniques used to diagnose and solve electrical problems in a variety of buildings. Thanks for coming by.