In todays day of electricity-hungry gadgets, lighting and appliances, the strain on your electrical panel may be a hazard to your home. Some signs of strain may be obvious—a need for extension cords, power strips, or multi plugs—or lurking unseen behind walls, ceilings, and cover plates.
Some wiring problems are just inconveniences. But others can pose serious fire or electrocution hazards. If you’re looking to buy a new home or if you’ve never had your wiring inspected, it’s a good idea to hire a licensed electrician to give your home a thorough going-over. A proper inspection will look at the insulation on the wires, corrosion or other issues in the service panel, and look to see if a previous owner did anything unsafe.
Don’t be alarmed if the inspection turns up code violations. Each time the electrical code is revised, old wiring is “grandfathered,” on the assumption it was installed correctly. The code only requires you to update wiring in rooms being gut-renovated. An example of a grandfathered code would be Fuse boxes. These are less common now than breaker panels, but they work just fine under normal circumstances. Over use of the fuses can cause the wires to overheat, damaging their protective insulation and increasing the risk of fire. Once the insulation has been damaged, the danger remains even if the offending fuse is replaced with one that’s the proper amperage. To fix it, the old circuit must be rewired.
If you have had your home electrical panel inspected, it is a good idea to get a follow-up inspection every five years to keep your family safe.