Potential Electrical Hazards That Can Occur During a Home Remodel
When you remodel your home, some common electrical mistakes could result in an electrical fire if you aren’t careful. Although recent statistics published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show that electrical fires account for 9 percent of home structure fires nationwide, they account for 16 percent of home fire deaths.
Since your home has a complex electrical system that puts you at risk, it helps to know what kinds of problems can occur during a remodel that requires electrical work. To prevent these risks, don’t do any electrical work yourself if you aren’t completely sure how to do so safely-call a qualified electrician instead.
Electrical Circuit Overload
Too many outlets and light receptacles on a single circuit can overload the circuit if you exceed the amp requirements. When more amperage of current flows through a wire than it is designed to handle, the circuit trips and shuts off the electrical current.
Excessive current flowing through wires can also cause a short circuit when the circuit doesn’t have enough capacity to handle the electrical load. Wires can overheat and cause a fire.
An overloaded circuit breaker can be a safety hazard as well. When a wire isn’t connected to the right size circuit breaker, both the wire and breaker can heat up and lead to an electrical fire.
During a remodel, it may be necessary to add another circuit to the electric panel box when adding more electrical receptacles. It’s also important for all the connections under circuit breaker terminals in the panel box to be tight to prevent a circuit from heating up and tripping the breaker.
Damaged Conducting Wires
A safe electrical connection requires removing the outer layer of plastic sheathing without damaging the insulation or conducting wires underneath. Proper wire stripping prevents a short or break in the electrical circuit.
Although you need enough wire to strip and make the proper connections without having to stretch the wire, stripping too much wire can create a potential fire hazard. Tightly packed wires can cause overheating and shorts. When hot conductors make contact with each other, sparks may fly creating a hazardous situation.
Staples or clips that are fastened too tight when securing wire to studs or beams can damage the metal conductors inside the wire. However, loose electrical cables that aren’t securely fastened to framing studs can move inside the wall and can get damaged. Sharp bends in electrical cables near a staple or clip can also cause problems by affecting the flow of current through the wires and cause overheating.
Recessed Electrical Boxes
The face of an electrical outlet box should be flush with the face of the wall stud to which it is attached before drywall or wall paneling are installed. But if the box is too far back in the wall, the outlet or switch may not sit firmly on the box.
The use of a rectangular receptacle shim or an extension ring of appropriate thickness brings the outlet forward so that it can be screwed firmly when mounted into the electrical box. That way, the receptacle won’t move and cause a safety hazard.
Wrong Wire Connections
Although it’s a common mistake, electrical problems can occur when a wire is connected to the wrong terminal. In fact, any wiring that isn’t installed correctly is a safety hazard. Therefore, live current wires and ground wires must be connected to the proper terminal screws to ensure safety.
The neutral wire-which is part of the live circuit-connects to the silver terminal. The live wire connects to the brass screw on the back of an outlet and the ground wire to the green screw that is usually located at the top or bottom of the outlet. It seems simple enough, but it doesn’t always happen.
Receptacles that are warm to the touch, or a burning odor coming from an electrical outlet or switch, can signal a wiring problem or even the start of an electrical fire. A popping sound may be a sign of a loose wire somewhere in the circuit.
If you suspect that your home has an electrical problem during or following a recent remodel, contact the expert electricians at Chadwick Electric Services. We’ll be happy to identify the problem and fix it.