September Electrical Safety Tips

Older homes – those 40+ years old – dominate St. Louis area housing stock. They are also more susceptible to fires and other hazards caused by aging electrical infrastructure. If you live in an older home, be aware of the following and as always contact a licensed electrical contractor to inspect and repair issues:

·         Electrical consumption has increased 70 percent over the past 25 years. Older electrical infrastructure was not designed to handle the load of today’s modern home appliances and technology. In addition, it is not always suitable for optimal energy efficiency.  A licensed electrical contractor can provide recommendations and install electrical upgrades to meet load requirements and deliver greater energy efficiency.

·         Flickering lights, switches that feel warm to the touch or buzzing switches can be a sign of a hidden electrical hazard.

Using unlicensed and unskilled so-called "handymen" can result in innumerable electrical hazards.

·         Knob-and-tube wiring was commonly installed in homes built before 1940. It may still comply with code, depending on the jurisdiction, but it has no grounding wire and connections are not terminated in a junction box.  The wire sheathing can decay after many decades of use.  The Electrical Connection recommends that knob-and-tube wiring be replaced with modern wiring that meets up-to-date electrical code requirements.

·         Aluminum wiring was introduced to homes in North America in the mid-1960s as a cost-efficient alternative to copper wiring.  Be aware that aluminum is softer and if wrenched into junction boxes and switches can be more easily damaged. It also tends to expand and contract with heat as it conducts electricity causing the wiring to become loose at connections.  It is not code compliant in all jurisdictions and should never be integrated with copper wiring.  Homeowners need to be aware that insurance companies charge higher rates in homes with aluminum wiring.

The Electrical Connection has the region’s largest searchable data base of licensed commercial and residential electrical contractors and skilled electricians.