If you've recently purchased a home, it can take time to work out all of the smaller quirks and nuances of the property. Every house has seen some level of do-it-yourself repairs by the previous owner, and while you hope they were done right, you're sure to find some things that aren't quite up to your standards. One area you don't want to wait to discover problems in is your electrical wiring. Here are a few things you should check as you're settling in to determine if you need any kind of electrical repair in the house.
Test All Of The Outlets
Especially if you're buying an older home, you need to be attentive to the safety of the electrical outlets. Since older homes were wired with 2-wire outlets that were only 2-slot receptacles, there was no ground connection on the outlets. Unfortunately, even if you have the grounded outlets, which are the ones with the small round hole included, you can't be sure they're properly wired without testing them.
Many homeowners installed the new 3-piece outlets without running the ground wire, because running that wire yourself can be extremely difficult. That results in what appears to be a grounded outlet, but there's no actual ground there. This can lead to electric shocks, short circuits, and potential fire hazards in your wiring. Test each outlet with a plug tester to be sure that they are properly grounded. If they aren't, have them rewired by an electrician.
The other thing you should test in your outlets is the polarity. It's not uncommon for homeowners to install an outlet themselves and reverse the polarity on the wiring. Test the voltage between the wider slot on the outlet and the ground. It should reflect no voltage reading at all if it's wired properly. If you see any voltage reading, you should have the outlets rewired. This is important, because the polarity of the outlet controls when power is fed to things that are plugged in, and if it's not working correctly, you'll have a hot outlet when you shouldn't, which can put you at risk of electrical damage or shock.
Inspect The Exposed Wiring
Take time to walk through the whole house, including the basement and the attic, to look at all of the exposed wiring. There should not be any visible, exposed, unprotected wiring splices. If there are areas where you can actually see the wires that were connected together, you should contact an electrician to install a small safety box over that section or to correct the splice to keep it safe. Exposed wiring like that can arc, causing an electrical fire.
You should also be sure that all of the wiring is properly installed and in good condition. Any signs of wear on the wires should be addressed before they lead to exposed wires and the risk of electrical shorts.
Examine The Circuit Breaker Panel
Your circuit breaker panel should be clean, organized, and not overloaded with wires. The panel is made with a specific circuit capacity, and it should be wired within those limitations. If you open the circuit breaker panel and you see a mess of wires in the front that you have to push back inside the panel when you close the door, that's a sign that it's overloaded. You should talk with your electrician about rewiring the circuit and installing a second breaker panel to ease the demand on the circuits.
The more you understand about your home's electrical system, the safer your home will be. With these tips, you can ensure that your wiring is secure and your home is protected from serious electrical problems. For more information, contact companies like Narducci Electric.