Electrical Mistakes That Can Damage Your Household Appliances
An efficient electrical system is an essential convenience in modern homes. However, errors in design or installation can trigger problems that put your household appliances at risk. Understanding the most prevalent circuit issues is the first step to protecting your home. Here are some of the electrical mistakes that you should know.
Faulty or Misaligned Connections
One of the most common causes of circuit problems is a loose connection in the outlet. When the outlet has faulty connections, you may notice a buzzing sound, especially when using heavy-duty electronics.
When the receptacle is buzzing due to loose wires, tightening the screws can eliminate the problem. You have to secure the wiring correctly, or you could trigger electrical faults or damage your equipment.
Using tape or substandard electrical components can make the connection prone to damage. Therefore, when securing the wires, you have to use the correct connectors.
Unsecured connections tend to deteriorate faster, leading to premature appliance malfunction. If you are in doubt, you can call Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning in Kirkland.
Overusing the Extension Cord
An extension cord is one way you can extend your circuit to power multiple appliances. But it is advisable to be cautious of overusing the extension cord as you could overload the circuit.
Additionally, most power strips are not designed to handle large electrical loads from multiple appliances. Always check the power ratings on the back of the extension cord before using it with your household electronics.
Power strips can be dangerous when using them for the appliance that draws more power than the strip’s ratings. For example, it can be risky to plug a space heater in an extension cord with other household appliances. The circuit breaker will trip, but you also risk overloading the circuit.
If you frequently have to reach for the extension cord, you may consider adding more outlets. Power strips are meant for short-term applications with low-rated appliances.
Your electrical system could have other faults that a certified electrician is in the best position to detect and address. You can consult our Kirkland electrical team at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning for quality panel upgrade services.
Varying Wire Grades and Sizes
Another problem that can damage your electrical appliances is having wires of different grades in the circuit. Connecting wires of varying thicknesses can cause overloading and electrical arcs.
Similarly, using a power strip on an old circuit with aluminum wires is another mistake that can be hazardous. Copper and aluminum tend to expand and contract when they are in contact for a significant period. The expansion and contraction may eventually lead to household fires and defective electronics.
If your home has outdated wiring, the best thing to do is to upgrade the circuit. You may have to replace aluminum wires with standard wiring for your home’s safety.
An update of your circuit may also involve replacing the breaker panel. Older panels are unsafe and tend to melt. They can malfunction and prevent the breaker from cutting off electrical power when there is a power surge.
Not Installing Ground Wire for Receptacles
Failing to ground a three-slot receptacle is another mistake that can damage electrical appliances. The ground prevents damage from power surges and overloading. It manages the excess current to the earth instead of frying up your valued equipment.
The earth is a great conductor of electricity. When there are voltage fluctuations, the ground connection can redirect power to protect your equipment. It also prevents electrical shocks and injuries in your home.
You can use a tester to check if the receptacle’s ground connection is working. If there are loose wires, you can fix them by securing the connection.
However, you cannot install a three-prong receptacle on an outdated two-prong outlet. You will have to update the outlet with a ground connection for the safety of your equipment and valuables. Consider consulting our team at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning to prevent electrical hazards in your Kirkland home.
Not Installing AFCI and GFCI Outlets
The National Electrical Code regulations require electrical systems to have AFCI and GFCI receptacles on parts of the circuit. Generally speaking, the purpose of AFCI (Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters) outlets is to prevent electrical fires.
AFCI receptacles can turn off electrical power to the outlet when electrical arcing is high enough to start a fire. The device is integrated into the panel as a form of a specialized circuit breaker. You can install AFCI circuits in the bedroom, kitchen, or laundry room.
A GFCI (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter) receptacle is different from AFCI. Its principal objective is to prevent electrical shocks. A GFCI outlet can detect when current is flowing through an unintended path. When a ground fault is detected, it turns off the power to the outlet.
You will have to install a GFCI outlet in areas like the kitchen or the bathroom. The device can protect outdoor outlets where there is a risk of short circuits from contact with water. You ought to consult a certified electrician if there are places in your home that require AFCI and GFCI outlets.
Attempting to Fix Breaker Panel Problems
Your breaker panel can deteriorate due to installation problems or other external factors. One of the most common issues is when there are multiple cables on a single slot. It usually happens because there are inadequate slots left for additional connections. The best option is to consult a certified electrician for an upgrade.
Nevertheless, you must not attempt to fix the breaker panel when you detect faults. It requires a professional since the risk of burning down the house is high.
A professional has the experience to determine the correct capacity of fuses and breakers. If the wire carrying the electrical load is below the fuse ratings, it can be dangerous for your home and appliances.
Ignoring Symptoms of Electrical Problems
Some of your valued household appliances are at a high risk of failure due to avoidable electrical problems. Therefore, when you notice symptoms of electrical faults, you should address them as soon as possible.
If the circuit breaker is frequently tripping, it is usually a sign of overloading. If you keep overloading the circuit, overheating can break down insulation on wires. Frayed or burnt-out cables can, in turn, trigger a short circuit that could start a fire or damage your appliances.
Pay attention to symptoms of electrical faults, such as flickering lights and buzzing sounds in your home’s outlets. If the panel needs upgrading, only a certified electrician should complete the process. Experienced professionals have a grasp of the local codes and building regulations.
You can avoid electrical problems altogether by scheduling regular inspections. A clean bill of health of your electrical system is critical, especially when upgrading parts of your home. Houses over three decades old should schedule an inspection every few years to prevent electrical faults and hazards.
Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning has been providing top-notch electrical services to residents of Kirkland for more than two decades. Our professional staff can handle projects of all sizes. We can offer quality breaker box wiring, breaker panel upgrades, and generator installation services. When you call us, you can expect our team to be punctual. When we find an issue, we’ll fix the problem quickly and efficiently. Whether you need HVAC or electrical maintenance, installation, or repair services, you can rely on our highly skilled electricians, so give us a call today.