7 tips for home electrical safety
Don’t get zapped! When it comes to tackling electrical maintenance around the home, the work can be quite shocking. Take a cautious walk down Electric Avenue and follow the current advice of highly rated electricians on Angie's List.
1. Look for the license
It might be tempting to let the tile guy relocate that electrical outlet since he’s got the floor torn up anyway, but unless he’s licensed to do so, it’s not recommended you let him perform electrical work. The slightest mistake when installing or repairing electrical wiring can leave you with the biggest fire hazard.
2. Flip the switch
When working on any electrical project, if the circuit breaker panel is inadequately labeled, turn off the main breaker. “A homeowner should never work on live circuits,” says electrician John Calhoun of Indianapolis.
3. Wire it right
Depending on your home, any remodeling project may require an upgrade in the electrical wiring — a job best left to the electrical experts. “A mistake like mixing up the different wire gauges with the wrong circuits can burn your house down before the breaker even knows to trip itself off,” says Sid Hager, owner of Progressive Electric Inc. in Largo, Fla.
4. Keep your cool
If you get the surge to hang a ceiling fan, make sure you support it with a UL-listed fan box and bar hanger. “I assemble every bit of a ceiling fan on the ground and then raise it to the bracket so there’s no strain [on the wires],” Hager says.
5. Set the time
Install digital timers this spring to your outdoor fixtures to adjust when they turn on. “It saves money on the electric bill,” says Leonard DeGrace, owner of Temlan Electric Services in Charlotte, N.C.
6. Get a lifesaving interruption
Install a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) if you have an electrical outlet near a potential moisture source in places like the kitchen, bathroom or outdoors. The GFCI will protect both you and the outlet from getting jolted.
7. Avoid a meltdown
If an electrical wire looks tarnished or melted in your electrical panel, it’s probably due to a loose connection, Hager says. “I’d recommend calling a licensed electrician to fix the wiring.”