Don't be the Cause of Electrical Hazards in Your Home?

Home Inspector with HouseProbe Inspections LLC

    Don't be the cause of electrical hazards in your home. As a home inspector I am always amazed at the things I see when doing inspections and I admire the homeowner who wants to make improvements to their home. However, electrical wiring installation and repair is one area that the do it yourselfer or weekend warrior should leave to the professionals.

    Too often I see improperly installed outlets, switches, exposed connections that are not in a junction box or the junction box cover is missing, knockouts missing in panel boxes leaving exposed wiring, undersized wiring, double tapped circuit breakers, improperly installed GFCI's or no GFCI's where needed, reversed polarity, improperly installed fixtures. The list goes on and on. Many of these issues are caused by the home owner when doing renovations. I recommend spending a little extra money and hire a licensed qualified electrical contractor to do these chores. Yes, you can buy everything you need at your local big box store, but do you really know how to install it properly?

    Electricity is so essential to our daily lives, just ask anyone who lost power fro days and weeks during the recent hurricanes and storms. We take our electrical power for granted and we forget that it has the potential to cause great harm. Every year in America, electrical fires kill approximately 500 people and injure another 2500 due to improper installation or maintenance. Many more are killed or injured in accidents involving electrical shock or electrocution.

Here are some things to remember about electrical safety:

- Never use anything but the proper fuse or circuit breaker to protect a circuit. Richmond Virginia Home Inspector
- Find and correct overloaded circuits.
- Never place extension cords under rugs. 
- Outlets near water should be GFI-type outlets.
- Don't allow trees near power lines to be climbed.
- Keep ladders, kites, equipment and anything else away from overhead power lines.




- Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring. Midlothian Virginia Home Inspector
- Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately.
- Use electrical extension cords wisely and don't overload them.
- Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters; pay special care to electrical appliances in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Don't allow children to play with or around electrical appliances like space heaters, irons and hair dryers.
- Keep clothes, curtains and other potentially combustible items at least three feet from all heaters.
- If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Never overload extension cords or wall sockets. Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker. Use safety closures to "child-proof" electrical outlets
- Check your electrical tools regularly for signs of wear. If the cords are frayed or cracked, replace them. Replace any tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out or gives off smoke or sparks. 


Don't be the Cause of Electrical Hazards in Your Home

David DiRienzo is a Richmond, Virginia home inspector serving Petersburg, Hopewell, Chesterfield, Midlothian, Henrico, Mechanicsville, Ashland, Farmville, Blackstone, Emporia and South Hill    


Comments (3)

Diane Grady
Endless Summer Realty - Saint Augustine, FL

Great tips to put in your home buyers booklet! I agree with you. Always hire a professional. Electricity is not a do it yourself job!

Oct 23, 2011 03:22 AM
Howard and Susan Meyers
The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore - Winnetka, IL

David...Thanks for the great tips that everyone can benefit from.

Oct 23, 2011 03:23 AM
Joe Strada


Thanks for an excellent article and tips! As a licensed electrician, I see exactly what you see when I go to fix appliances in customer's homes. Electrical accidents can be costly and jeopardize your family's life or property in case of a fire. Many people don' realize the dangerous associated with electrical installations, and feel that they can do  themselves.  They don’t think when they do simple things like run extension cords, plug multiple appliances into one outlet and even have tamper resistant outlets if small children are around. It is better like you mentioned in your article to contact a licensed electrician to install your electrical wires and check your homes to make sure that all appliances and outlets are installed properly. In addition, people should protect electrical outles by installing arc-fault

 circuit interrupters.












Sep 25, 2013 12:18 AM