Much like a person, an electrical system needs to be taken care of. It needs yearly check-ups, daily care, a healthy diet, and everyday grooming. Also, like a person, the better care you take of your electrical system, the longer and better the quality of life.
Electrical repair can be costly. Over time an electrical system is subject to wear and tear. However, there are certain maintenance steps you can take to prolong the life of your system, help you catch the small issues before they become large problems, and ultimately cut down the cost of future repairs.
Being vigilant about electrical maintenance can help your system run better for longer.
Here’s what you can do to spiff up your electrical system so that it runs optimally:
Get an Inspection
It’s always a good idea to get an electrical inspection every year. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your wiring or if a bad storm did some damage to your system, it’s important to take a look at what’s going on under the hood. Just because it’s working, doesn’t mean it’s working well. Inspections catch the small issues before they become big problems.
Get a Panel Rejuvenation
When an electrical panel is malfunctioning or not working at its best, you may not need a whole system replacement. You might just need a panel rejuvenation. Panels may need to be updated to NEC codes, wires may need to be replaced or reattached, or require a fresh connection – repairs that don’t require a full panel replacement.
Check Your Outlets with a Multimeter
A multimeter is a handy tool that allows you to measure voltage and current. It can help you diagnose problems with circuits, check switches, and test batteries. Multimeters go a long way in providing a homeowner with peace of mind by letting them know what a simple fix might be or when it’s time to call an electrician.
A simple way to lengthen the life of your appliances is to clean them regularly. Dusting electronics weekly helps to prevent buildup that can damage or clog your electronics and devices. Dust and dirt can block certain electronic devices from cooling themselves, causing overheating which leads to short circuits or arcing.
Read this: The Best Way to Clean Your Appliances
Switch to Energy-saving Devices
Switch to energy-saving devices or see if you can add smart home technology to lower your energy usage and utility bill. You can save 10 percent or more by switching to energy-saving devices.
You can also turn off any appliances and devices that aren’t in use. Some products are energy vampires and still continue to use energy even when they’re switched off. The worst offenders are high-tech gadgets like cell phone chargers, TVs, gaming consoles, and computers. Many of these devices have a standby mode. But stand-by doesn’t mean off, and these devices can continue to use unnecessary energy.
Check Cords and Wires
Replace damaged or frayed wires. Over time, wires and cords can become worn out, and internal wiring can become exposed. This is a major hazard and could lead to a fire if not addressed.
Make sure electrical cords are not running across doorways or carpets. If you’re having a problem with finding a place to plug in all your devices, it may be time to add outlets to your home.
Add USB Outlets.
Are you using too many extension cords? This means you might need more outlets to accommodate the number of electronics and devices you are powering. Adding outlets with USB portals can allow you to charge your smartphone, tablet, or computer without having to use a plug receptacle. Typically, these types of electronics use a smaller amount of current to charge, and plugging them directly into a USB outlet can charge them up to 40 percent faster.
Read this article: Adding USB Outlets Can Untangle Your Life
Upgrade to Energy-efficient LED Bulbs
Whether you’re tired of having to change out your lightbulbs or if you want to decrease your utility bill, LED bulbs can go a long way in saving power for your home. Compared to incandescent bulbs, LED lights use 25 o 80 percent less electricity and can last up to 25 times longer. However, keep in mind, LED lights are more expensive.
Install a Whole-House Surge Protector
Power surges are inconvenient and dangerous. Over-using high-energy appliances at the same time and an act of nature, like lightning, are two of the biggest causes of power surges. Not only will a surge leave you in the literal dark, but it can shorten the lifespan of your electronic devices AND, worst-case scenario, cause a fire. Whole house protection can keep your appliances and devices working longer, reduce wasted energy, and help prevent the power from going out whatever the weather.
Whole-home surge protection is also essential in protecting your smart home devices and appliances.
Learn more by watching our video: Protect Your Smart Home with Whole Home Surge Protection
Make sure your breakers are GFCI-protected
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are one of the most common and effective forms of electrical safety. GFCI breakers automatically shut down outlets when there is an issue with the circuit, typically when the current going “in or out” of the electrical panel does not measure the same. When the GFCI mechanism is triggered, the outlet or circuit won’t work until the issue is resolved. This goes a long way in preventing fire or injury.
Upgrade Your Home to 220 Volt Service
Most homes run on a 220-volt electrical system. Not every appliance has the same voltage standard. For example, dryers, ovens, hot water heaters use more voltage than computers, televisions, and other electronics –220-volts compared to 110 volts. That’s why it’s important to have an electrical system that supports 220-volt circuits as well as 110-volt circuits. Your local electrician can easily set this up for you.
Learn More: How to Upgrade Your Home to a 220 Volt Service
Childproof your power outlets.
Even if your electrical system is running perfectly, it could still present a danger to children (who don’t know any better) and pets. Be sure when you’re maintaining your electrical system that you add secure safety settings wherever possible.
Make sure to install Tamper Resistant Receptacles (TRRs) on all outlets. TRRs are a cheap and effective way to prevent children from sticking objects and body parts into an open or unused socket. TRRs come with built-in safety shutters that block anything from being inserted into the receptacle.
If you’ve got pets who like to chew, like bunnies, hamsters, or puppies, cover your wires and cords with plastic sleeves or flex tubing. This will protect your devices and your fur-baby from an electrical shock.
Check Your Light Switches
Be cognizant of flickering lights or lights that don’t switch on right away. After years of use, it could be time to replace your switch. If your light switch or switch plate feels hot, this could be a sign of a more serious problem like excessive voltage in the switch or issues with the wiring in the walls.
Like a person, your electrical system needs to be treated with care. It needs proper maintenance and repair work to keep it running smoothly and safely. Our experts at Mister Sparky are experienced professionals who will be able to answer your questions and assist you with all your electrical system needs. It’s important not to wait! A minor issue could turn into a big problem overnight.
For more information on electrical inspections or if you’re experiencing a problem, contact your local Mister Sparky today!