Now that summer is in full swing, many homeowners start in on their laundry list of home improvement projects. From adding a deck to enhanced outdoor lighting, homeowners constantly tweak and upgrade their property. Plus, some projects require professionals, while others only need some DIY spirit. Additionally, many projects involve electrical work.
For example, not all contractors provide the same level of work. In general, watch out for the all-in-one handyman for any complicated work. The team at Reader’s Digest shares the difference between the experience needed for a deck vs a fully functional shed.
“If your handyperson says they can “do it all,” watch out; electrical, plumbing and structural fixes require a licensed professional. A sure sign that contractors can be trusted is if they tell you they’re not the best person to do a particular job and recommend someone else instead.”
Electrical work remains dangerous. After all, electricity powers our world and requires the experience and knowledge to harness that energy. Any projects involving electrical work require trained electricians. For example, the experts note the limited number of DIY electrical work around the home.
“Anything beyond changing out a light fixture, light switch or electrical outlet should be done by a licensed electrician. If you are dealing with new construction and want to save a few dollars on labor costs, you can attach outlet, switch, and light boxes to the framing but leave all wiring to the electrician. These electrical boxes should be attached firmly to the framing and you should consult an electrician as to the positioning and location of the boxes.”
As you and your family enjoy spring and summer, please find some common electrical work that improves your property. Plus, these improvements enable you and your family to enhance your enjoyment around the house.
Common Home Electrical Projects
Electrical work requires professionals because of the significant injury risk. Why should you hire an electrician for home projects, even seemingly minor improvements?
“Some home projects just simply need professionals and remain difficult for even experienced amateurs. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, people experience more than 30,000 shock injuries annually, while FEMA tells us that about half of all home fires start from electrical issues.“What does it mean? On one hand, most people are prone to injuries when attempting electrical work on their own. On the other hand, your DIY work might come back to haunt you; it’s very dangerous to live with electrical work done by an amateur.”
Don’t risk additional electrical issues or raise the possibility of starting an electrical fire. Plus, you risk spending excessive amount of money due to electrical damage.
“If you’re clueless about this specific job and have never seen it performed before, don’t risk hurting yourself or wasting thousands of dollars on materials. If the task is beyond your comfort zone, call for electrical service.”
However, rest assured because working with an experienced electrician solves this problem. And, there are some important and great electrical projects that enhance your home!
Upgrade or Add Lighting Fixtures
Adding or upgrading your home with a new electrical fixture provides a great opportunity to show of your sense of style. Depending on your home electrical board and panel, you may not need any professional assistance. For example, swapping out an old fixture with a new fixture offers homeowners with a nice rainy day activity. However, in order to add a new fixture, you may need to upgrade your electrical panel.
Of course, not every room offers sufficient space for lighting fixtures. The solution? Quick lighting fixes that enlighten closets, steps, pantries or any other small area in your home.
Upgrade or Replace Electrical Outlets
Have you recently painted any room in your house? Or made any other decorative changes? If so, then your electrical outlets might not match. Upgrading your outlets and cover plates offers homeowners with another seemingly small project that showcases their style. Although, this electrical work remains a potential DIY project, proceed with caution. For example, ensure the electricity is completely turned off at the breaker. Plus, as with any electrical work, any improper installation potentially leads to injury and/or fire.
Upgrade or Replace the Electrical Panel
Do your appliances suddenly turn off? Tired of resetting tripped circuit breakers?
Electrical panels, and the circuit breakers within them, provide protection to home occupants. Circuit breakers trip for one of two reasons:
- Electrical overload, which occurs when too much power draws on a single circuit.
- Short circuit, which occurs when electrical components, such as wires, accidentally cross or touch.
As a result, and as our homes include more advanced technology, our electrical panels must adapt. Therefore, many homeowners increase their electrical capacity in order to support all of our devices for two main reasons.
- Safety concerns because many homes (particularly, in New England) contain fuse boxes and electrical panels that are 50 years old or older. Unfortunately, these boxes potential provide a fire hazard because as heat builds up, this possibly breaks down components of the wiring, which could lead to a fire.
- Increase the capacity a home electrical system. For example, a new circuit breaker or service panel enables additional capacity throughout your home.
As a result, consider replacing an old electrical panel or upgrading if your family constantly trips the circuit breaker. Additionally, older panels (in particular those made with glass fuses) remain prone to tripping and pose a potential fire hazard. A professional electrician will provide advice on whether an upgrade or replacement is required.
Take Advantage of Home Automation
Perhaps the most discussed advantage of home automation remains the ability to control your home temperature. Yet, home automation does much, much more. For example, home automation helps control various essentials like the use of electricity, heat and air conditioning. Plus, automation potentially offers homeowners with extra savings:
“People with home automation see home insurance savings of 20% (on average) or $1,154 a year.”
As a result, automation remains useful for your entire HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system. Experts advise homeowners to incorporate the following items into their home automation system.
- Use of a Smart Thermostat
- Set Up “Away” Alerts
- Ensure Mobile Control
- Get a Home Energy Checkup
Home automation lets your electrical system (and related energy costs) work smarter – not harder. Many automation or smart products, rely integrate into the electrical and/or HVAC system. Therefore, for any projects beyond swapping out a thermostat, experts recommend electricians complete any required electrical wiring related to any connected home product installation.
Add or Repair Ceiling Fans
During the spring and summer, high temperatures really heat up many homes. As a result, many homeowners look into ceiling fans, which help control electrical costs. Although we think about ceiling fans, there are various types of fans that require electrical work, such as wiring.
- Ceiling fans help move air around a room, which cools down people in the room. However, ceiling fans do not cool down rooms, so turn off the fan when not in the room.
- Bathroom fans help remove moisture from bathrooms, which helps reduce the temperature. In addition, removing moisture help prevent mold from growing as well.
- Attic fans mainly remove hot air and moisture from the attic. Attic fans require professional installation because it requires cutting a hole in the roof and mandates proper sealing, which stops water from entering your home.
Install Home Generators
Power outages remain in the Northeast due to extreme weather conditions, electrical overloads and other unforeseen causes. As a result, consider installing a home generator, which provides peace of mind during potential summer lightning storms and winter Nor’ Easters. In general, a professionally-installed home generator provides significant benefits.
- Typically, whole-house generators run on natural gas or propane, which means virtually unlimited power and no smell of gasoline.
- Whole-house generators that include an automatic “turn on” and “shut off” option offer a hassle free source of power. These generators integrate with the public power supply, which disables and (later) re-enables the electrical grid.
- Provides years of faithful service with a simple annual tune-up.
Each and every home requires different electrical needs. Therefore, rely on an electrician to review and determine the type of generator appropriate for your household and needs. For example, different types of generators offer different services, such as full power to your home. Conversely, certain generators offer partial power, which keeps major appliances running such as the hot water heater, stove or refrigerator running.
Installing a home generator requires a professional. Electricians are highly trained and wear protective clothing that prevent injury such as electrocution, electrical arcs and fire.
Electrical Inspections & Comprehensive Wiring Review
Interestingly, many experts and homeowners recommend and rely on routine maintenance. However, these annual tune-ups typically involve the HVAC system, which ensures proper heating and cooling during the winter and summer. Yet, most homeowners never conduct an electrical review of their home. In particular, older homes rely on previous versions of the electrical code. As Buildings Media notes, the NEC changes from time to time, so an electrical inspection makes sense to protect your family.
“The National Electrical Code® (NEC) is the nationally recognized electrical-safety standard. The wide majority of building-inspection authorities at state and local levels adopted the NEC. Work with licensed electrical contractors or and contractor’s employees, in the jurisdiction of your project. This means that the contractor fully understands and complies with the NEC and inspects the work under the standard, resulting in a safe installation. Reliability means knowing that the installed electrical systems continue their performance for a long period of time and as designed. Make sure the people who install your electrical work are adequately trained to.”
In addition, a whole-house wiring inspection emphasizes a safety review of your home. For example, inadequate or outdated electrical wiring means a potential fire hazard. Therefore, a professional electrical inspection all of the wiring in your home once a year helps prevent problems and provides peace of mind.
“Overtime, electrical wirings would start to deteriorate and fray around the edges. When this happens, there’s a chance that homeowners would “brush” these wirings and get electrocuted or perhaps trigger an uncontrollable fire. The goal of an inspection would be to detect these problems before they occur and replace wiring for safety.”
Electrical Inspection Benefits
Still have questions about electrical inspections or not sure if your home requires a professional review? To help, our expert electricians, outlined some key indicators.
- If your home has undergone a renovation or if you’ve added new appliances.
- If your home was previously owned.
- Your lights flicker or dim more than occasionally.
- If your circuit breakers or fuses trip or blow often.
- Outlets and light switch faceplates are discolored from heat or are hot to the touch.
- Extension cords and multiple power strips in permanent use around your home.
- Incorrect labels on the electrical panels or unsecure labels on mounting surfaces.
- Rust, corrosion or water exposure in electrical panel.
- Invisible ground rod.
Although many home improvements can wait until a more convenient time, electrical work requires prompt review and inspection. An electrical issue presents an immediate danger to you and your family.
For more, learn about the benefits of an inspection and related electrical work.
Detect Faulty Wiring
Faulty wiring in your home is no laughing matter.
In fact, faulty wiring is one of the five most common causes of electrical fires. The good news is there are some warning signs that potentially indicate faulty wiring, such as:
- Dimming or flickering lights.
- Frequent blown circuit breakers or fuse.
- Charred or darkened outlets and switches.
- Hot ceiling fixtures.
- Light switches and outlets that emit shocks.
Finally, if you smell burning, then address this immediately because it indicates a very serious wiring issue that’s quite serious.
An electrical inspection identifies the warning signs, but also, provides some guidance on avoiding future issues. For example, some of our actions potentially cause these electrical issues. Some of these actions include:
- Reliance on multiple extension cords.
- Too few outlets, relying on multiple extension cords and power strips.
- No ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) particularly in areas such as the kitchen and bathroom.
- Frayed wiring.
- Damaged or bent electrical plugs.
- Ungrounded receptacles.
- Uncovered junction boxes.
Additionally, by detecting faulty wiring early, you can avoid devastating fires. Plus, avoid the inconvenience of flickering lights and inconsistent electrical performance.
Inspect and/or Add GFCIs
GFCI protect people from severe or fatal electric shocks.
Ground fault circuit interrupters (or GFCI) are electrical safety devices that trip electrical circuits when they detect ground faults or leakage currents. Ground fault protection integrates into GFCI receptacles and GFCI circuit breakers for installation into an electrical system. In particular, ground fault protection is important for circuit outlets in areas where electrical equipment is near water (such as bathroom or kitchen sinks).
Undoubtedly, GFCIs have played a key role in reducing electrocutions and greater use of GFCIs would help mitigate thousands of electrical burns and shock injuries that continue to occur in homes every year. Since their incorporation into the NEC in 1971, GFCIs saved thousands of lives and reduced home electrocutions by 50%!
- GFCI’s shut off electric power in the event of a ground fault within 1/40 of a second.
- 26% of respondents who tested GFCI receptacles discovered one that was not working.
- In the United States, arcing faults cause about 30,000 home fires each year, resulting in hundreds of deaths and injuries and more than $862 million in property damage.
Update Garage Wiring
As noted, the NEC changes from time to time. As a result, recent changes in the NEC mean garage outlets require GFCI installations. In particular, as we spend more time outside, we potentially use our garages as work spaces or additional storage. Ensure your safety by keeping your outdoor outlets up to code.
The Importance of Professional Electrical Work
Many homeowners remain tempted to work on all home projects, including electrical work. For those with the required training and experience, a DIY aptitude helps contain costs and provides immense satisfaction for a job well done. However, for those without the proper skill set, any home project turns into a nightmare. In particular, electrical work presents some unique challenges due to working with electricity.
The safety, energy efficiency and management of the electricity usage in your home depends on having an experienced electrician to diagnose issues, repair problems, and install or upgrade your services.
For any electrical work or inspections, please find the right professional that meets your needs.
We think it’s SolvIt because we employ Connecticut’s best electricians and provide professional electrical installations and repairs along with our excellent customer service. SolvIt is here to fulfill your emergency electric needs 24/7. For any questions or electrical needs, contact us today!