Electrical Issues New Homeowners Should Know About

18 May 2016
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Are you a new homeowner? Did you have an electrician come out to inspect your wiring before you bought the home? If you didn't have an actual electrician inspect your home, there's a chance that your general home inspector may have missed some issues when walking through the home. Here are some signs that you may need to have your home checked out by a certified electrician:

Knob and tube wiring: If your home was built or wired for electricity in the late 19th or early 20th century, it may still contain vestiges of knob & tube wiring. Due to its age, knob and tube wiring typically used cloth insulation to cover the wires. Although some of the cloth may still be intact, it may also be crumbling or starting to crumble

Because of this and other safety concerns, a home insurance policy generally won't knowingly cover a home that still has knob and tube wiring. If there is an electrical fire and it turns out that your home, knowingly or unknowingly, had knob & tube wiring remnants, your insurance company is likely to refuse to cover the damages.

A certified electrician can provide electrical repair as necessary, removing the knob & tube wiring whenever possible. If the wiring is inaccessible, your electrician can provide written certification to your insurance company that the wiring has been completely disconnected from the mains and is no longer in use.

Improperly wired generator: If you live in an area that gets frequent blizzards or is otherwise in need of using a generator at least once a year, there's a good chance that the previous homeowners bought a generator to be used with the house, and they may have left it when they sold the house to you.

Unfortunately, generators can be expensive, so those same homeowners may not have wanted to spend the extra money on having an electrician wire it to the house correctly. If the generator is connected to the house by a cord that has a plug on both ends, otherwise known as a suicide cord, then it was never properly installed. This little bit of electrical repair can sometimes be almost as expensive as the generator itself, but you'll no longer have to worry about the electrical safety of your home when you start up the generator.

Flickering lights: This is a problem that can be difficult to detect unless you've been living in the home for a while. The most common cause of a flickering light is a bulb that hasn't been screwed in all the way. Slight vibrations, such as those caused by a person walking across the floor, can cause the light bulb to jiggle slightly and flicker. But if the light bulb is tight in the socket, there is a more serious problem at work.

The extent of the electrical repair needed will depend on whether the fixture itself is at fault or if it is a problem at the circuit breaker. Whatever the exact cause, a flickering light that is not caused by a loose bulb is almost certainly the sign of a potentially hazardous short circuit that could result in a fire. Because of this, it's best to get it fixed as soon as possible.