Electrical Safety Inventory for Your New Home - Part 2
Last week in Part 1 of our new home electrical safety inventory, most of our focus was on the inside of the house. This time, we're moving outside to discover the possible electrical needs and also providing some tips on safety provisions.
As you look around, both indoors and out, you're going to want to make sure there are GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) outlets in your bathrooms, kitchen, garage, unfinished basement, outdoors, and anywhere else there is a sink or is near water. Test and reset each one every month.
Check to find out how many amps you have running on the service panel. A 200-amp service will mean you can run several large appliances at once. A 100-amp service means you will have to be careful; if you’re using your oven and the water heater, you’ll be pushing your service if you use the toaster, vacuum, dehumidifier, or any other energy-hungry appliance. Take a moment to locate the main power shutoff switch and show everyone in the family where that and the main water shutoff are located.
If the home was built between 1965 and 1970 (up to 1977), it may have aluminum wiring from the service panel to the outlets and switches. Aluminum wiring is a known hazard.
The next thing to consider is what (and who!) you’re moving into your new home; If you have a large family, or if they enjoy a considerable number of electrical appliances, computers, televisions, and video games, consider upgrading to a 200-amp service (Cost: between $800-$1200). Also, if you aren’t going to sell that deep freeze, need an outlet for the Christmas tree lights, or power for your Prius, this is the time to install them.
Don’t forget to check the smoke detectors, CO2 detectors, and make sure you have a working A-B-C fire extinguisher. The C-rating indicates that the fire extinguisher is acceptable for use in an electrical fire. Make sure that every family member, including older children, understand how to shut off the main breaker to the house, know where the fire extinguisher is, and understand how to operate it.
Do you have a baby or toddler? Count the number of outlets to buy outlet covers.
Let’s go outside. Check out the lighting situation. Are there enough lights in the right places so family and guests won’t stumble around in the dark? What about security lighting? Is there a security system? Is it in good working order? Are there GFCI outlets for the outdoor holiday lights and the electric lawnmower? Don't forget the automatic watering system clock!
One security option you may consider is a motion-activated security doorbell, such as the Ring.
Now that you’ve examined the electrical safety of your home check your list to see what needs attention it's time to take action. Find a licensed, bonded, insured electrician who lives in the area and specializes in residential work. You’ve just invested in an asset, and for the long run, you want your asset to increase in value. Poor-quality work, inadequate power, and safety issues will all cause your asset to depreciate or even burn to the ground.
Your list might not have anything noteworthy, and therefore, you may not need an electrician now, but you may want to find one anyway. If a situation arises, you want to be able to pick up your phone and call someone you already know and trust, instead of trying to research after you smell something electrical burning or see sparks.
If you need a fast, affordable electrician for your Phoenix-area home or business, call RSB Electrical at 480-485-4284