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The electrical code that sets the standards for emergency electricians like us, equipment manufacturers, and other related electrical industry suppliers changes from time to time. It applies all over the country, including here in Wilmington, NC. That means that, over time, your home gets behind the times as far as the state of the art in electrical safety is concerned. Sometimes, the problems covered by the changes, unfixed, might lead to an emergency visit from an electrician. Why not catch up in a few areas? Here are some possibilities.
Outdated Circuit Breakers
Scenario number one: the equipment at the heart of your home electrical system is out-of-date. The circuit breakers are outdated or, perhaps, they aren’t even circuit breakers at all but old-fashioned glass fuses with cartridge fuses protecting your appliances. If so, hopefully nobody has been using an old trick to bypass the fuse out of convenience. If they have, you might not even have a fuse guarding that circuit. Your emergency electrician, finding that, would definitely be glad he or she caught the problem. There is also a certain brand of circuit breaker panel installed between 1950 and 1990 that has a higher risk of malfunction. The median home age here in Wilmington, NC is 33, so you see the issue. In either case, an emergency electrician visit would be the best possible outcome of the problem. Overloads on your circuits are supposed to cause a shutdown, and when that protection fails, there could be trouble.
In the past, when the price of copper rose significantly as it has recently, the idea went around that aluminum wire would be a decent substitute. If used properly, installed correctly, and so forth. It doesn’t conduct as well as copper, so the wire has to be a bit different and the connections at each junction, switch, outlet, and light fixture have to be correct. If not, things can get warm. Warmth that might not cause big problems right away, but can cause the connection to expand and contract over time, possibly working loose. Eventually, the connection’s not so good and there’s more heat, and hopefully that’s when the emergency electrician comes to investigate a funny smell, or is working on another problem and notices aluminum wire. Once you know, you can discuss your options.
Higher Demand for Power
We love our electrical equipment these days. Our outlets are often full, leading to extension cords and power strips, and at the end of those might be a variety of equipment such as high-powered AV amplifiers for your home theater, your giant projection TV, and so forth. Hair dryers are joined with other handy gadgets in drawing considerable power, and nobody’s looking at the labels and adding up the amps or watts to see if the circuit’s getting to capacity. It’s hard to tell, anyway, there are some devices that draw nearly the whole circuit’s rated power by themselves, and often they’re unsuspected. They could be powerful electronics, or just an air conditioner plugged into the circuit that you never think about. As long as it works, right? What if the protection in the basement is old fuses or circuit breakers as we mentioned? Instead of an emergency electrician call, we can offer you an electrical inspection and perhaps run a few more circuits to places where you need it, like the kitchen and family room.
Outdated Electrical Components
Switches, light fixtures, and especially power outlets are all evolving. In your home, they’re also aging. The combination means that your risks are growing. You may have a light switch from decades ago that arcs and sparks when you flip it, maybe only once in a while but that’s not a good thing. Light fixtures, especially ones that have the bulb pointing downward from them, handle a bit of heat with expansion, contraction, and insulating material decay resulting. If you’ve had plumbing leaks, you may actually have a bit more corrosion in the light fixtures than you knew. Outlets, you can see the changes over time if you visit other homes built at different times.
There are plenty of homes that still have two-blade sockets with no ground connection. If you see grounded-style outlets, they may have been added as a DIY project without an actual code-worthy ground wire being run. Have you seen those outlets installed upside down? Ask us about what that is. It’s common in hospitals. If you have children, especially curious ones, the latest outlet style takes their curiosity into account. It won’t let you shove a metal object into one side unless there’s another one as well. Two blades of a plug must arrive in the each side at the same time. Ask your emergency electrician about updating your outlets.
These days, the likelihood of power surges has increased. If you have an air compressor in the garage or an old-school washing machine, as it cycles on and off you’ve probably seen the lights flicker. That’s not good for modern electronics, and computers are expensive, TVs are too, and you don’t want to think about what happens if the gaming system fails, right? In addition to a power strip with surge protection, there’s a whole-house solution that our emergency electrician can install for you, providing surge protection for every piece of sensitive equipment you own, no matter where it’s plugged in.
The biggest surge protection is, of course, lighting protection. Your emergency electrician can install lightning arrestors on a whole-house basis, to help keep anything but a direct strike from coming down the line and sending you off to the electronics store for gadget replacements.
Mister Sparky has Expert Emergency Electricians Available 24/7
Give us a call if you’ve got a concern that needs quick attention in the area, or just have us come out by appointment and replace your ancient power technology with updated equipment. Call us at 910-319-1583.