13 Electrical Safety Issues

Top 13
Electrical Safety Issues
Found in Older Homes
Top 13
Electrical Safety Issues
Found in Older Homes



1. Outlet Wiring (Backstabbed Wires)

Outlet Wiring

Outlet Wiring

Newer switches and receptacles allow wires to be pushed in (we call this backstabbing) instead of the more secure method of Pig-tailing. This practice was designed to save time and lower building costs. Over time wires and springs can come loose, causing failure and fire risk.

Code Violation? No

Danger Level: Low-High.

The risks vary. At a minimum, loose wires can cause failure. In the worst case, they can start a fire.

How to Reduce Risks: Have a qualified electrician check for backstabbed connections by removing a switch or receptacle from the outlet box. We recommended that backstabbed outlets be replaced. Pig-tailing the wires as shown is the preferred method for a permanent solution.




2. Outlets/Switches

Outlets/Switches

Discolored outlets or switches could be an indication of an issue (especially if you have smoke stains). In addition, plugs should sit firmly in the receptacles. If plugs are loose and fall out easily they can cause an electrical arc, which can cause house fires and increase the risk of electrical shock. Light switches should operate smoothly. Sticky switches are an indication of issues that need to be addressed.

Danger Level: High!

The risks vary. At a minimum, loose wires can cause failure. In the worst case, they can start a fire.

How to Reduce Risks: Have a qualified electrician replace old, worn receptacles and switches.




3. Too Few Outlets

Too Few Outlets

Discolored outlets or switches could be an indication of an issue (especially if you have smoke stains). In addition, plugs should sit firmly in the receptacles. If plugs are loose and fall out easily they can cause an electrical arc, which can cause house fires and increase the risk of electrical shock. Light switches should operate smoothly. Sticky switches are an indication of issues that need to be addressed.

Code Violation?

Not for older homes. However, for new construction and remodels codes now require receptacles within 4 feet of a doorway and every twelve feet thereafter.

Danger Level: Low-High. Danger level varies depending on what types of extension cords and power strips you are using and how many items you are plugging into them. Undersized extension cords (16-gage or smaller) can overheat and ignite a fire if the loads are too heavy.

How to Reduce Risks:Hire a qualified electrician to add more outlets where needed and for convenience.




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