Electrical issues can happen in any home, or building no matter what the age. Familiarizing yourself with the most common issues, can possibly prevent a fire. Electricity is not something that should be handled without skill and knowledge. If you come across any of these issues, call a local electrician in Richardson. This will help ensure the safety of the people, and structure.
Wiring buried underground that is not meant for the use of burial. Rigid conduit is a wiring that is approved for this use. If the wrong wire is used, and accidentally hit while digging, you may receive a dangerous shock. If your shovel hits conduit, this will make you aware there is wiring underground.
No wire nuts or junction box used where at least two wires come together. A wire junction is where at least two wires meet. The requirement for these junctions, is to be wired nutted. After nutted they are to be closed into a junction box that is approved. Any place a wire comes to a stop, should have this done. Wires that are no longer used should be nutted and enclosed, as well. Something can be connected years from now to bring that wire alive, and pose a danger. A certified electrician can do this work for you, to keep on the safe side.
Extension cords can pose a danger. Even though some people use them to place something permanently, this is not what they were meant for. The use for them is meant to be temporary. Some people use these cords for garage door openers, lighting, etc. Request electrician services, if permanent power is needed where no receptacle is. They can install a new one.
Receptacles that are not grounded are hazardous. Structures that were built prior to 1960, did not have the 3 prong receptacle. Only 2 prong receptacles were installed before then. Since the round pin in a receptacle with 3 prongs, is the grounding conductor, 2 prong receptacles are not grounded. The grounding conductor is important, it gives electricity a place that is safe to go if lightning strikes, or an appliance fails to operate properly. Some people will make the mistake when replacing the 2 prong with a 3 prong receptacle, without replacing and grounding the wire. So in reality, the 3 prong is working the same as the 2 prong, by not being grounded. This should be remedied, as soon as possible. You will be able to find a licensed electrician in Richardson, willing and able to fix your receptacles.
Older homes that were built prior to 1950, used knob and tube wiring. Conductors are separated in this type of wiring. The later wiring is, insulated conductors that are wrapped around sheathed cables. If the wiring is the knob and tube, electrical services are definitely needed. A master electrician should evaluate the knob and tube wiring, closely. With the amount of electrical usage utilized today, this wiring is inadequate because of capacity lack and age. Fires and arcing are common with this wiring, due to the brittleness. Safety standards of today, are not met with this type of wiring. Many structures with knob and tube wiring, have the junctions taped or soldered together. If looking for insurance, this wiring is not allowed by some of the companies that sell it. For reasons of fire safety, replacement of this wiring is recommended.
Receptacles that are wired improperly, is another common issue found. These electrical receptacles have specific terminals, where specific wires should be at. Polarized receptacles, have one blade that is longer than the other, along with a round pin. Plugs that are polarized, only fit in this receptacle in one direction. If these receptacles are installed correctly, the small blade has the hot wire (black). The neutral or grounded wire (white), is attached to the longer blade. Connected to the bare wire (grounding), is the round pin. If these wires are reversed, a shock hazard will exist. A circuit tester can be purchased to test these receptacles, at hardware stores. Repair of these receptacles should be done by a certified electrician. Use of these receptacles should is not wise, until they are repaired properly.
Clamps or wire bushings that are missing, can pose a shock hazard. A metal appliance, metal junction box, etc., that have wire entering it, are required to be have clamps. This is to protect the wires from abrasion, or damage caused mechanically. For instance, garbage disposals vibrate, and could cut slowly through the wire insulation. When the live conductors are reached, is when a shock hazard becomes an issue. With the clamps in place on the wires, the junction box or chassis can not reach them.
Receptacles that are installed over electric baseboard heaters, pose a great fire risk. It is forbidden to have electric baseboard heaters under receptacles, instructions for the heater has this stated in them. The reason being, cords that are plugged in can hang down onto the heater. This may melt the wire insulation, and present a hazard for fire or shock. There are guidelines that need to be followed for the installation of electric baseboard heaters.
Double lugged or double tapped circuit breakers, are a risk for fire or arcing. Normally, circuit breakers can safely support only one wire. Double tapped refers to having more than one wire connected in the location, where the main breaker and service cable connects. These wires often lack protection for over-current. This may lead to overheating, and then fire. Double lugging is mainly similar, but refers to the circuit breakers individualized branches. Only connect one wire, when there is only one screw to support it. If connecting more than what is accepted, this can lead to loose wires, or the circuit overdrawn. This causes arcing and fires, as well. Seek electrician services, to help with your circuit breakers to avoid a fire.
As you can see, there are many issues that are common when it comes to your electrical system. These issues should be dealt with by a certified electrician, and not attempted by an amateur.