Your electrician may be the most important person in your life that you never think about. They keep the lights on, power our homes and businesses, and make sure we’re safe from electrical hazards. But there’s a lot more to being an electrician than just flipping switches. Though they may seem to work miracles when they visit your home or office, electricians are actually highly trained professionals who have studied electrical theory and safety for many years. Here are just a few things your electrician wants you to know:
1. Pay Attention to Warning signs
There is a reason why your electrician is always telling you to be on the lookout for potential electrical problems. It’s because electrical hazards can often be hidden, and by the time you see them, it may be too late. If you notice any flickering lights, sparks, or burning smells, don’t ignore them. These could be signs of a serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately by a trained professional.
2. Understand GFCI outlets
GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets are designed to protect you from electrical shocks. They work by constantly monitoring the current flowing through the circuit and immediately shutting off power if they detect a leak in the current. GFCI outlets are required in all wet areas of your home, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. If you don’t have GFCI outlets in these areas, be sure to ask your electrician about installing them.
3. Overhead power lines are dangerous
One of the most common mistakes people make is assuming that overhead power lines are safe to touch. But even if the power is off, these lines can still be electrically charged and dangerous. So, always assume that any overhead power line is live and stay well clear of it. If you see a downed power line, do not approach it or try to move it yourself. Call your local utility company right away so they can send a trained professional to deal with the situation.
4. Avoid DIY
While it’s always great to save money by doing things yourself, there are some tasks that are best left to the professionals. When it comes to electrical work, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and hire an electrician. Trying to do your own electrical work can not only be dangerous, but it can also void your home insurance policy. So, unless you’re a trained professional, leave the electrical work to the experts.
5. White isn’t always neutral, and black isn’t always live
One of the most common misconceptions about electricity is that white wires are always neutral, and black wires are always live. But this isn’t always the case. In some instances, white wires may be used as hot wires, and black wires may be used as neutral wires. The only way to be sure is to test the wires with a circuit tester before doing any work.
6. Be careful with anything low voltage
Just because the voltage is low doesn’t mean it can’t be dangerous. In fact, many electrical injuries and fatalities occur each year from low-voltage shock. So, even if you’re just working with 120-volt circuits, always exercise caution and follow all safety guidelines.
7. Only wear properly-made protective gear
If you’re going to be working with electricity, it’s important to wear the proper protective gear. This includes rubber gloves, non-conductive shoes, and a face shield. But it’s important to make sure that this gear is properly made and rated for electrical work. Otherwise, it won’t do much to protect you from electrical hazards.
8. Installing a three-slot receptacle requires a ground wire
If you’re trying to install a three-slot receptacle in your home, you must have a ground wire. This wire provides a path for electrical current in the event of a short circuit or other problem. Without a ground wire, the circuit will have nowhere to go but through you. So, if you’re not sure whether or not your circuit has a ground wire, be sure to ask your electrician.
9. Size matters when it comes to electrical wires
When it comes to electrical wires, size does matter. That’s because the diameter of the wire determines how much current it can safely carry. If a wire is too small for the current flowing through it, it could overheat and start a fire. So, be sure to use the proper size wire for your application.
10. Install tamper-resistant receptacles
If you have young children in your home, you should definitely consider installing tamper-resistant receptacles. These special outlets have spring-loaded shutters that prevent objects from being inserted into the sockets. This can help to prevent electrical shocks and fires. So, if safety is a concern, be sure to ask your electrician about tamper-resistant receptacles.
These are just a few of the things your electrician wants you to know. By following these tips, you can help to keep your home safe from electrical hazards. And if you ever have any questions or concerns about your electrical system, be sure to contact a licensed electrician. They’ll be happy to answer any of your questions and help keep your home safe