Faulty electrical outlets are a major cause of home fires. At least 25,000 electrical fires each year can be attributed to bad electrical outlets, causing over $1 billion in damage. Routine maintenance on electrical outlets can drastically reduce the risk of electrical fires in your home, making the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” never more true.
Electrical outlet maintenance prevents malfunctions that can lead to costly repairs in the future. Follow these five tips to be sure that your oft-overlooked outlets stay in perfect working order.
Frequently test outlets
Make a standing appointment with yourself on a monthly basis to test each electrical outlet in your home for safety. Inexpensive outlet testers can be purchased at any home hardware store. The testers look like a three-prong plug and have indicator lights on each prong. As you plug the tester into each outlet, the lights indicate any problems with the individual outlet. Catching a problem early drastically reduces the chances of a fire or the development of a larger electrical problem later on.
Replace old wiring
Once damaged and worn wiring has been discovered, immediately replace it. This process is typically very simple, and you may be able to change your outlets’ wiring on your own. If you have more complicated problems or a lot of outlets, a qualified professional electrician can safely perform the work.
Don’t skimp on parts
There are many instances where it is preferable to purchase an inexpensive product knock-off, but replacement parts for your electrical outlets is not a place to scrimp. Choose parts that are certified by a recognized safety certification institution, like Underwriters Laboratories. The extensive testing that these parts undergo can provide reassurance that they are completely safe.
Never repair your wiring
If the problem with your wiring is more serious than normal wear, it is imperative to turn the project over to a professional electrician. You should never try to repair your own wiring if you don’t have experience. The majority of home electrical fires are caused by wiring that has been incorrectly repaired or installed by novices, so it’s safer and likely more cost-effective to consult a professional.
Maintain every electrical outlet
When performing routine maintenance on electrical outlets, don’t forget to check those that are outdoors, in basements or hidden in the attic. These out of the way places are easy to forget about, but they can still create a lot of damage. Create an inventory of your home’s outlets and check them frequently for issues.
Monthly maintenance can help you prevent serious electrical issues down the road, and perhaps most importantly, fires. Of course, in the event of actual danger call a professional. A warranty from American Home Shield can help make sure your problems get fixed quickly and affordably.
Post Author: andyc.