These Are the 5 Most Dangerous Electrical Problems in Your Home
Electric systems in modern homes are a great help in making life easy but sometimes they can be dangerous too. Here are some common dangers behind the electric equipment in modern homes.
You may have some dangers lurking in your home regarding your electrical system and not even realize it. Most house fires are caused by a faulty electrical system. Even though we take it for granted that since everything seems to be working fine that we are safe, there could be problems on the horizon.
For instance, even when things seem to be working fine, you could have an electrical surge that damages your appliances if you don't have the proper safeguards in place. Or, your system may be getting overloaded if it is old and you have high electrical demand.
You need to know what the dangers are to be able to accurately figure out what needs to be done to stay safe at home. In this article, we will go over what some of these dangers are.
1 - Old breakers
Your breakers may seem to be fine since they aren't tripping frequently. This doesn't mean that they are fine if you have old circuit breakers, however. If they are from the 1970s then chances are that they actually are not working as intended and you have no idea since they haven't tripped in a long time.
The problem with old breakers is that they sometimes get very hot and the bar that causes them to trip will melt. When this happens it can't break and a surge of electricity is still flowing dangerously.
If your breaker box is old, then you may also have one of the most dangerous breakers out there called a Zinsco. Zinsco breakers were known to melt very easily and not trip which caused a number of injuries until they stopped selling them. Now, there are replacements called Connecticut breakers that are not dangerous.
Check your box to see what kind of breakers you have and if you see the Zinsco brand label then it is time to change them. Even if you don't have those, if the breakers are from the 70s then you need to have them changed. You could take them out and check them, but a melted bar is not easy to see so you may think they are fine when they aren't.
2 - Defective wires
The quality of the wires is going to have a huge impact on how safe your electric system is. Usually, old wires get defective after a period of time, but you could also have wires that came directly from the factory in a defective state.
Over time, there could be exposed bits on the wire that ends up getting corroded and can end up causing a fire. There are several ways that this can happen. If the wire is rubbing against something that removes the coating and exposes the copper wire underneath then this is the most common way for that to happen.
As they age, the insulation of the wires can also get brittle and crack which exposes the raw wire underneath. Not only that, but old wires get hot very easily with the higher demands that are placed on them in a modern house that they weren't designed to handle.
Even old homes have defective wiring due to people often doing their own electrical work back then. Often, they made many mistakes which may only now become apparent as they age.
3 - Too many plugs
Another issue with older homes is the lack of outlets. These houses were designed in a time when people had few electronic appliances and devices. So, there are usually not enough outlets for our modern needs.
This often causes people to put adaptors in the outlets to handle many plugs. Or, they put an extension cord that they then run to an outlet where they plug in a TV, computer and so many other devices.
It is very common for this to cause a fire as the outlet simply cannot handle the demand placed on it because of all of the plugs. As they heat, they can actually start to melt and then cause a surge that starts a fire in the wall behind the outlet.
The best way around this is to call an electrician to add a new outlet or two in the rooms where you have the highest electricity demand. Think of the cost as adding value to your home. If you ever decide to sell it, then having plenty of outlets is an added value and not enough is something buyers shy away from.
4 - Old or damaged appliances
You should upgrade your appliances for no other reason than they are inefficient and cost you more money. Another factor, however, is that they can cause a surge in your electrical system. It is very common for the wiring to get corroded over time. Inside the machine, there is likely some corrosion happening which will seriously affect how it draws a current.
Hopefully, if there is a problem with the appliance that it trips the breaker when you turn it on, but sometimes this doesn't happen. In some cases, the current continues to flow through the appliance and can cause you to get shocked even by touching the appliance itself. It may even be off and still drawing a current making it even more dangerous.
5 - Electric blankets
Though generally safe, an electric blanket can easily get damaged and then become a hazard. They seem so innocent but they can be hiding damage that can cause a fire or even shock you during its use.
One of the main issues with electric blankets is how and where they are stored. If they sit in a humid area then this can cause moisture to get inside the wiring and cause it to malfunction. In a place that's too dry and the insulation over the wires can get brittle and crack.
These issues are exacerbated if you are using an old blanket as the components are further along in life and tend to degrade over time anyway.
These are very important details about the electric wiring and fittings in our houses which often cause damage of a very high degree when the electric fires start from a lose connection having a spark or from the wiring of some faulty appliance.
Some of the gadgets which we use like microwave oven or bathroom geysers or electric heaters or hot plates are high power equipment and draw high electric current when operating. Generally, we use thick mains chords and high ampere electric lines in the house for using them. It so happens that sometimes people in their carelessness use these gadgets from lesser power sockets also and that makes high current to flow from the low current capacity electric wires and they heat up and soon go bad eventually giving way and getting burnt or charred in the process.
In our houses, generally, we will be using and will have two types of electrical lines - one is 5 Ampere line while other is 15 Ampere line. They will have their own circuit breakers in the main distribution board in our house. It is imperative that we must use the appropriate line for our gadgets and do not mix them.
A good circuit breaker is a great electric safety in our houses and we must give attention in having a good quality breaker in our mains board.
Another precaution is that for using the high power appliances, which draw high currents for their operations, we should not extend the connections through extension boards or loose wires as they create additional weak joints which are prone to sparking and lose connections.
Electrical safety in the house requires observing for any lose connections or blackening of wires or switchboards etc which is an indication of heat generated in the vicinity and we should go for repair or replacement of the faulty parts.