Electric Wiring 101

Electric Wiring 101 - Taking the necessary safety precautions and understanding your electric system is crucial—it can help you understand what to look for in your new home, guarantee the approval of home owner’s insurance and provide you with the confidence and know-how to stay safe in an emergency situation.

While all major electrical repairs should be done by a professional electrician, understanding your electrical system is an essential part of buying, owning and selling a home.

Know Your Panels - Knowing how your electric panel functions is an essential safety precaution. Your electric panel is the direct connection point between your home’s wiring and your incoming electric current. Each panel should contain a main shut off (service disconnect), a circuit breaker (overload protection) and wiring. Each part of your panel should be clearly labeled for fast use in any emergency. Having a service disconnect is one of the biggest safety precautions you can take regarding your electric panel.

When analyzing your panel, be wary of oversized fuses or circuit breakers, or multiple circuits connected to a single overload device. These can create an overload hazard—a safe electric panel should have one wire per fuse or circuit breaker.

Learn Your Lines - Service lines bringing electrical current to a home can be run overhead or buried. However, if you have overhead lines, be sure all ladders, poles, outdoor cable dishes or trees are a safe distance away to avoid accidental contact.

Wire it Right - If you have an older home, keep an eye out for knob and tube wiring, a two-wire system that is not congruent with modern, up-to-date appliances and can cause potential safety hazards.

If your circuits contain aluminum wiring, you should get it check by professional who can determine if work or replacement is necessary. Aluminum wiring is no longer typically installed on household circuits due to the common occurrence of faulty connections.

Safety First - If your home is not already equipped with a Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), consider having one installed. GFCIs are personal safety devices installed in high-hazard locations, including exteriors, kitchens and bathrooms.

You may also want to consider installing an Arc-Fault Circuit-Interupter or AFCI in your living or sleeping area. These circuit breakers are meant to detect faulty arcs and significantly reduce your risk for electrical fires.