The electrical system is one of the most important parts of your home. Almost all of your other appliances rely on it to function, including your climate control systems and your water heater. A malfunctioning electrical system can cause all kinds of problems in other parts of the home. Aside from the inconvenience of possibly losing access to various functioning appliances, though, there is the added issue of safety. Electrical problems can present a serious threat to the health and safety of those in the home. You should consider taking the following steps to make your home’s electrical system as safe as possible.
GFCI and AFCI Outlets
One major threat that electrical issues pose is that of electrocution. This often happens when there’s a short circuit that exposes a person to the current. House fires are another common threat caused by the electrical current traveling in ways that it isn’t supposed to. One great way to prevent these horrible things from happening is to install GFCI or AFCI outlets throughout your home.
A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet is one that monitors the current flowing through it at all times. If the current suddenly begins to flow in a way that it shouldn’t (like into a person) the GFCI outlet will activate and cut off all current flowing through it. This is done so quickly that it happens before a harmful amount of electricity is transmitted.
An AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet is similar to a GFCI, but protects against house fires by monitoring electrical flow in the system itself. If the outlet detects anything malfunctioning in the circuit, it will break the circuit to prevent further risk. These outlets are incredibly useful for preventing a lot of the threats that electrical malfunctions can cause.
Electrical Panel Upgrades
The electrical panel is an important safety feature for any home’s electrical system. Though it’s a sturdy part, it’s important to recognize that even circuit breakers are not invulnerable. They should be checked at least once every year or two, and replaced every 30-40 years. If you live in a home with a very old circuit breaker, you should have a professional electrician look at it to determine whether or not it needs to be replaced.
If you happen to live in an area that is prone to power failure, it might be a good idea to have a generator of some kind installed in your home. Not only will having a backup generator make your home more convenient to live in while the power is out, but it will also make things safer by keeping the lights on. Stumbling around in the dark is not something you should be doing if you can avoid it. For those that have sensitive medical equipment or other important machinery, a generator might be a matter of life and death. So, consider having one as a backup, just in case.