Electricity is just as dangerous as they are a blessing. While electricity gives us light, warmth, comfort, and entertainment, it also threatens our families and home.
A single faulty wire can cause massive damage to our property, start a fire and even cause death. Thus regular testing and inspection of your electrical outlets are not only highly recommended, but in our humble opinion, it’s an essential task you should never postpone.
It’s a good idea to have these checks regularly and ensure all your outlets are safe and there won’t be any damage to your home or appliances and no injuries to your loved ones who use them.
To make this whole essential process easier, we created a step-by-step guide on how to make sure your electrical system is safe to use.
The first step in testing your home’s electrical outlets is to inspect the breaker panel. The breaker panel, also known as the consumer unit, houses the circuit breakers or fuses that protect your electrical system from overload and short circuits.
Resetting the breaker or replacing the fuse may solve the issue, but if it occurs frequently, the problem may be deeper, and your best course of action would be to call a professional to take a look.
However, a blown fuse and tripped breakers are not the only things you should look at. Inspect the panel for rust, corrosion or signs of rodents or other pests. Try flipping the switches off and on to check if they work properly.
After all, their main function is to automatically shut off if a surge of electricity enters the system. If the switch is stuck, this will be a problem.
If you are going to clean or change panels on the breaker panel, you might want to consult with a licensed electrician first. In any case, make sure to cut off your home’s electricity before you go ahead and play with the panel.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets are designed to protect against electric shocks in areas prone to water exposure, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor locations. These outlets can be easily identified by their “Test” and “reset” buttons.
To check your GFCI outlet, just press the “test” button. This should cut off all power to the outlet and is usually accompanied by a snapping sound.
Next, check if the power to the outlet is truly cut off by plugging in a relatively cheap appliance (like a lamp). If the power has been cut off and the connected device is not working, then your GFCI is OK.
The last step is pressing the Reset button, which will restore the electrical output to the outlet. If the GFCI outlet fails to trip or reset, it may be faulty and should be replaced by a qualified electrician.
The next step requires you to check all the standard electrical outlets in your home. Depending on how many you have in your home, this may take a while, but it’s essential, as they may cause the most serious damage.
To check them yourself, you need to prepare a voltage tester or a multimeter.
- Turn off the power to the outlet you are inspecting by switching off the corresponding breaker in the breaker panel.
- Insert the test device into the outlet’s slots or touch the multimeter probes to the outlet’s hot and neutral terminals. The device should indicate the presence of voltage.
- Repeat the testing for all the electrical outlets in your home, both indoors and outdoors.
Checking your electrical outlets is definitely not hard, but it takes time, so be patient and go thoroughly through every single outlet inside and outside the house. Do not assume that if the majority work, every single one works.
Just like anything else, electrical outlets can wear out over time. So, it’s a good idea to always stay on top of the outlet’s physical condition as much as their performance.
Unstable and broken electrical outlets can be extremely dangerous, especially if you have small children or pets, as they will certainly be curious enough to check what’s behind the outlet.
So, to check the outlets, you only need to inspect them for cracks and broken components.
Furthermore, ensure the outlets are securely mounted on the wall and not wobbling. Loose outlets may indicate improper installation or wear over time.
Finally, Check for any discolouration or scorch marks around the outlets, which could be signs of overheating or electrical problems.
While changing a damaged outlet or tightening it to the wall may be easy, if there is an overheating problem, you should call a professional electrician in Brunswick, GA (or elsewhere) as soon as possible. A professional electrician can inspect the electrical system thoroughly to pinpoint the source of the overheating accurately. This can help prevent potential electrical hazards and ensure the safety of your home.
Exposed electrical wires are a general no-no, although many basements and attics do actually have them. So, if you are not going to go the extra mile and cover them up, you need to check their integrity, at least.
As rodents love chewing on these, make sure to seal them with electrical tape. If you see a frayed, damaged or chewed-through wire, don’t rush to touch them. Cut off the electrical output to this part of the house before you touch them.
If you have little to no experience with such stuff, it’s a good idea to call an electrician to sort this out.
The next step is to check all extension cords. They are often the most dangerous electrical outlets in your home.
So inspect the extension cords for any signs of damage, such as frayed wires, exposed conductors, or broken plugs. Damaged cords should be replaced to avoid electrical hazards.
Moreover, ensure that you are not overloading the extension cords by plugging in too many devices. Overloading can lead to overheating and pose a fire risk. Finally, make sure that the extension cords are used in suitable environments.
For example, some extension cords are designed for indoor use only and should not be used outdoors or in wet areas.
If there is any problem with an extension cord, you don’t need an electrician for this one. Just buy a new extension cord and be done with it.
The final step is to test the voltage of your outlets. This can provide valuable information about the quality of the electrical supply in your home.
For example, if you notice your appliances working irregularly when plugged into a particular outlet, it’s a good idea to test it. Use a multimeter or a voltmeter to check if the outlet provides 230V. If there is a problem, your best bet is to call a professional.
Calling an electrician to your home is a wise decision, and there’s no bad time to do it.
Even if you prefer delegating tasks, reaching out to a reputable professional from platforms like https://www.pm247.co.uk/services/ is a good idea. They not only expedite the entire check but also possess the expertise to fix small problems on the spot.
Moreover, you shouldn’t wait for your home or appliances to face serious issues before contacting an electrician. Taking a proactive approach by calling them as a preventative measure is far better than waiting for a problem to arise.
Regularly testing and inspecting your home’s electrical outlets is crucial for ensuring the safety of your household. By following our simple steps, you can identify potential electrical hazards and take the necessary steps to mitigate them.
However, always remember that electrical work can be dangerous, and if you are unsure or encounter complex issues, it is best to seek the assistance of a qualified electrician. Prioritising electrical outlet safety will provide you with peace of mind and a secure environment for you and your loved ones.