If you own a home, especially one of those older Calgary houses, then you don’t need an electrician to tell you that some electrical problems are bound to crop up. And if your wiring isn’t up to snuff, not only are you and your family in danger of getting a shock, you could also lose your home to a preventable house fire.
Here are the most common home wiring problems and what you can do to solve them.
1. Not enough power outlets
Otherwise known as too many power bars and extension cords.
Solution: For a quick fix, use 14-guage or thicker extension cords. Better yet, have more outlets installed. Residential electricians in Calgary recommend roughly one outlet for every 1.8 metres (six feet) of wall.
2. Aluminum wiring
Houses and fixtures wired in the 1960s and 70s may have this instead of copper wire. Aluminum corrodes easily and is a fire hazard.
Solution: Have retrofit wire nuts installed with copper piece on receptacles, switches and fixtures.
Putting high-wattage light bulbs in fixtures not suited for them can cause the wires in your fixtures to melt.
Solution: Use 60-watt bulbs or lower.
4. Tripping the circuit breaker
This happens when your electric panel is too old to handle modern-day wattage needs.
Solution: You’ll need to add a subpanel or have the whole panel replaced by an electrician.
5. Two-prong outlets
These ungrounded outlets are dangerous if you attempt a do-it-yourself three-prong modification.
Solution: For your family’s safety, have new, modern grounded outlets installed by an expert.
6. Plug prongs and outlet are hot
The outlet’s wires are not screwed down properly, or the plug is frayed and not making good contact.
Solution: Try plugging the cord into a different outlet to see if it works. If it does, then the problem is with the outlet. Have it wired properly by an electrician.
7. No GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters)
These are designed to prevent electrocution in the bathroom or kitchen.
Solution: Have GFCIs installed in rooms with wet areas, or on your main electrical panel.
8. Exposed wires
Previous home owners may have tinkered with the wiring and left it exposed to moisture and the risk of being jostled.
Solution: Have all exposed wires verified and covered by your electrician.
9. Strange “electric” smell
A “hot” wire smell coming from an outlet or switch could indicate a serious fire hazard.
Solution: Call your electrician immediately to have the receptacle and wiring checked.
10. Lights flickering
If this happens when it’s windy outside, it may be that the wires entering your house from the power lines outdoors are frayed.
Solution: Frayed wiring is a fire hazard and should be replaced as soon as possible.
fix your old wiring
If you’re looking for an electrician in the Calgary area to check and see if your wiring is dangerous, contact Sons of Electric. We’ll do a free in-home assessment and tell you what it’ll take to make things safe for you and your family.