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Homeowner's annual electrical checklist. DIY safety inspection

Keep your home and family safe and comfortable.

Remember, the possibility of a fire in any single defective fixture, cord, box or panel is extremely low. But if there is a hundred of such miniscule flaws out there, then they would increase the probability of ignition by at least hundred-fold.

As a homeowner, are you willing to invest four hours a year to keep your home and family safe and comfortable?
Of course I am!

But where do I begin? There's too many things to do. I just need a little push to get started because I have never done this before ...

Well, you can start right now with things requiring little or no effort like reading this post. It's a quick and easy move in the right direction for a newbie!

Electrical systems are associated with injuries, fires, and deaths in homes and buildings. You can spot some issues and hazards before a problem occurs.

This is a guide for those that are new to DIY prevention and elimination of multiple safety concerns. Pick a day when you are least busy and could take on something like this. While preparing yourself for that day starting right now.

Begin with inspecting visual and accessible parts, items, and wires in the property using the following checklist.

1) Bulbs.

Always use bulbs with the correct rating, avoid excessive wattage.

Today light fixtures, based on their ability to dissipate heat, have a maximum wattage label or printing posted on every socket. Over the wattage limit bulbs produce higher temperatures. The excessive heat decreases bulb's life span, damages the socket and its wiring. An overheated light bulb can ignite a lamp shade. Wires with burning insulation lead to a short circuit and fire hazard in the light fixture, switch or dimmer, and the entire length of that particular line all the way to the panel.

So take a look at every socket MAX W stamp or marking and replace all bulbs exceeding that rating.

2) Lights.

Deteriorated, old, damaged, corroded, melted, broken fixtures and/or those with missing or loose parts shall be repaired or replaced. The same applies to table and floor lamps, their cords and wires.

A minor defect could lead to a major trouble.

Examine hardware that fastens the light to the electrical box. If the screws or fittings are loose, tighten them.

Sagging ceiling box or light fixture is both the fire and falling down hazard. Canopy is the metal part that covers electrical box from below. It should be firmly installed close to the ceiling, leaving no gaps. The outlet box above should also be properly supported and firmly fastened to the structure. If it moves or is not strong enough, then it must be tightened or replaced. Light fixture body or its canopy and the outlet box above should form a tightly closed enclosure, so that the sparks cannot jump out and ignite surrounding materials.

Approved and correct splicing methods and wire nuts should be used to make a proper connection. A seemingly simple task, it could become a huge problem if it's not done properly, especially with stranded and aluminum conductors. Subtle details make a huge difference between right and wrong, safe and hazardous connections. Browse the internet and make sure you're getting the code complying information on splicing your particular set of wires.

Pay attention to the dangers posed by:
  • over-twisted wire or cord inside hanging light fixture chain near the ceiling
  • arcing, buzzing, crackling, humming noise, hissing or sizzling sound
  • something is acting unpredictably or performing erratically
  • smell, traces of smoke, melting, burning, discoloration
  • flickering, random on and off behaviour of lights
  • hot to touch dimmer, any overheated items
  • missing ceiling & wall outlet cover plates
There are specific rules for above the shower and bathtub wet location fixtures. Low ceiling luminaire should have a safety cage or wire guard protecting it from mechanical injury. Such caged, strong, damage-resistant, lower wattage and temperature fixtures should be installed in pantries, closets, and storage rooms. A minimum clearance of 6" between the luminaire and the nearest storage item or point should be maintained.

Outdoor, exterior, decorative, landscape, wet or damp location and pool lights and devices should be specifically approved and marked for such use. Their circuits must be GFCI protected.

LEDs are ideal for many home applications.

LED lights are:
  • stronger and much more resistant to breakage
  • more efficient, consume less energy, cut lighting bills
  • much cooler and safer, reducing the risk of combustion and fire
  • longer lasting, delivering considerable savings on maintenance & replacement costs
An experienced and licensed electrician is your best bet for a safer home. Yet, you can inspect, check and verify the above points all by yourself.

(647) 932 5666
please call from 7am to 7pm
Weekdays, weekends & evenings

NO calls after 7pm please

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