3 Clues That You Need Residential Electrical Services

Posted on: 25 September 2015

Sometimes responsible home ownership involves some detective work. You have to develop a fine eye, ear and nose for those tiny but telling signs of trouble lurking within your home and on your property—before those little symptoms give way to major (and expensive) disasters. This holds true for your electrical system as well. Here are three signs of electrical issues that need your Sherlock Holmes-like attention and suggest you need to call in professionals.

1. Worrisome Wiring

Fine old homes can be chic, beautiful, and uniquely comforting to live in. But they can also be a hazard to your family's health if they sport outmoded electrical wiring. The average homeowner might flip all the light switches and feel satisfied that the wiring is adequate to the task.

What are you likely to see through your electrical sleuth's magnifying glass? For one thing, homes built in the 1950s or earlier may feature wiring encased in less-than stable materials such as black rubber or even fabric. If your home dates from the 1960s or 1970s, it may have aluminum wiring instead of copper wiring. This isn't technically against code, but it's still unsafe because aluminum is prone to corrosion, leading to loose connection and fires. Your electrician may be able to cap these wires with special corrosion-proof connectors. 

2. Missing Ground Connection

The ground can hold a wealth of subtle clues pointing to criminal activity—but in the electrical world, it's the lack of ground that's critical. Ground refers to the process of rerouting excess electrical current through a safety device called a ground rod, which carries harmlessly into the earth beneath the home.

The third prong in a three-prong electrical connector grounds devices by connecting them with a ground wire that leads to the ground rod. But if you purchase an antique home, you might see wall panels with only two holes instead of three. This is a clear sign that those panels aren't properly grounded. Don't snip the third prong off your device to make it fit; get the panel updated instead.

Even if your home has three-hole electrical sockets everywhere, you can't always assume that the ground wire inside the socket is actually connected. Make sure all the necessary grounding is in place before you start using a wall panel for the first time, or before you buy a new home. Ask your residential electrical services provider to check the ground wiring around any copper plumbing lines or service panels as well.

3. Perilous Power Lines

Don't get so wrapped up in examining every corner of your home's interior that you forget to check its exterior for potential electrical dangers. It's easy to forget about the ubiquitous power lines that feed high-voltage electricity to all the homes on your block, including your own. But these thick ropes of electrical cable can develop problems over time, especially when they're subjected to regular storms and high winds. A power line can start to dangle pretty low before area residents notice it. But a loosened, damaged or downed power line cause cause electrocution, so it pays to sharpen your situational awareness of such problems. 

You should also pay attention to the power lines' termination points. Three wires typically connect the end of the power line to the house. One of these, the neutral wire, may not have insulation around it, but the other two must—otherwise you've got a potential fire on your hands. Trees and other structures in your yard that veer too close to the power line can become conductors of lethal amounts of electricity. Your electrical contractor can't actually fix your exterior power lines, because that's the job of the city. But you can always ask the contractor whether your power lines appear to pose a threat to your well being. 

For more tips or assistance, visit resources like http://aaaeinc.com/.