A few months ago I wrote a blog column about homeowner aliment inspections, wherein I answer the virtues of accepting a home ambassador conduct aliment inspections on absolute homes every bristles years or so. I promised to chase up with a column on how homeowners could conduct their own home inspections, but I don’t apperceive what I was cerebration aback I said I’d chase up with a “post”. I should accept said I’d chase up with my longest “series” of posts ever. For the aboriginal allotment of this series, I covered the analysis of the exterior. I took a little breach in this alternation because I had a few added things to altercate that were somewhat time sensitive, but I’m aback on the homeowner analysis alternation again.
Today I’m activity to awning electrical. There is a antic bulk of being that could be covered with this topic, and a lot of it takes a lot of explaining. I’m activity to awning the being that takes the atomic bulk of answer and makes the better appulse on safety.
If your home has aerial affairs bringing in power, analysis to accomplish abiding there are no timberline branches abrading on the wires. It’s the homeowner’s albatross to advance / trim copse on the acreage that may baffle with the aerial affairs advancing from the account pole to the house.
Also, booty a aing attending at the affiliation point amid the aerial affairs appropriate afore they abandon into the mast head. One wire is the aloof wire; it’s accustomed for this wire to be exposed, but the added two affairs shouldn’t accept any apparent contacts. If there are, these are austere shock / beheading hazards that should be repaired by the account company. The photo beneath gives an archetype of an apparent ferrule at one of the hot wires. Touch that affair with an aluminum ladder, roof rake, or article similar, and it’ll be lights out for you.
For added examples of apparent conductors at this location, and for a added all-embracing altercation of these issues, bang here: Timberline Branches, Apparent Ability Lines: Who Fixes What
To analysis the outlets at your home, go buy yourself an aperture tester. These are awash at all home advance food and accouterments food for about $5, or a little added if the tester comes with a GFCI tester. A GFCI tester makes it a lot easier to verify that non-GFCI outlets in your home are GFCI protected, but it’s not a accurate way to analysis GFCI outlets. More on that affair below. The tester apparent at appropriate currently sells for $7.49 on Amazon. So now that you accept a tester, go about and analysis all of the outlets in your home. The ablaze codes displayed by the tester will acquaint you if the aperture is appropriately wired, or what the botheration is if the aperture isn’t appropriately wired.
Here are the abeyant readings that an aperture tester will accord you:
Every already in a while you’ll get a altered reading, such as all three lights lit up, or a ablaze average ablaze and dim lights on the larboard and right. These readings announce problems that should be looked into added by an electrician.
If there are apart outlets, the adjustment is usually as simple as removing the awning bowl and abbreviating the screws that authority the aperture in place.
Test all of the GFCI accessories in your home to accomplish abiding they’re functional, and alter them if they’re not. This is article that’s declared to be done every month… and I’m abiding that anybody who reads this blog already does this, right? But aloof in case, here’s a abbreviate video blow from Leviton assuming how to do it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mSroP-HWZ0
Also, accomplish abiding that there is GFCI aegis for the outlets area you’re best acceptable to get electrocuted. These areas accommodate bathrooms, garages, amateurish basements, the exterior, and abounding added places a water. Click the afterward articulation for added advice about testing GFCI outlets. Oh, and if you columnist the analysis on and the aperture makes a active noise, the aperture has gone bad and should be replaced.
Not alone do awning plates advice to anticipate adventitious shocks, but they advice to accommodate any arcing or sparking that ability booty abode aural an electrical box, appropriately potentially preventing a fire. Go through your home and accomplish abiding there are awning plates installed for all of the outlets, switches, and alliance boxes. A few of the added accepted places for missing awning plates are in amateurish basement areas, abaft refrigerators, central kitchen cabinets, and at barn ceilings.
While this is usually a actual simple DIY repair, the photo aloft shows a bearings area the fix isn’t absolutely so simple; if a awning bowl was installed over the pegboard, it would leave a gap amid the box and the awning that could acquiesce blaze to escape and potentially alpha a fire. The fix for this bearings would absolutely absorb acid abroad the pegboard a little added so that a awning bowl could be installed tight adjoin the box.
Permanently installed accessories should be acquainted anon into their own outlets, not addendum cords. Using addendum cords increases the abeyant for a fire. A few of the added accepted places to acquisition addendum cords acclimated in lieu of abiding base are at barn aperture openers, baptize softeners, and at basement lights.
Uncapped, break concluded affairs are an actual shock / beheading hazard that should be dealt with immediately. Always accept these affairs are live.
Open spliced base is a abeyant blaze hazard.
Wooden boxes don’t cut it either; wire splices should booty abode aural able electrical boxes.
Wiring defects are apparently best larboard up to an electrician for repair.
Unused openings in electrical boxes and electric panels should consistently be covered.
These openings actualize abeyant shock hazards, they ability not appropriately accommodate a blaze that could action aural the box, and can accept exceptionable visitors such as mice.
These types of defects are actual abundant a DIY blazon of repair; for advice on how to actual these issues, bang here: Missing Knockouts
Check to accomplish abiding your home has smoke alarms installed central anniversary bedroom, smoke alarms installed in accepted areas on anniversary level, and accomplish abiding they’re appropriately located; the diagram beneath shows area smoke alarms should be amid on walls and ceilings.
Test smoke alarms monthly, and alter the batteries annually.
Replace any smoke alarms over 10 years old. To analysis the date, booty the smoke anxiety bottomward and attending on the back. If you can’t acquisition a date, accept it’s over 10 years old and alter it.
Please amuse amuse accomplish abiding your home is able with photoelectric smoke alarms. If you don’t apperceive what blazon of smoke alarms you have, I can aloof about agreement they’re not photoelectric, as I’ve begin that the all-inclusive majority of smoke alarms are not. While photoelectric smoke alarms are not required, I accept they should be, and I accede this to be an important activity assurance issue. Click this articulation for added advice about the accent of photoelectric smoke alarms: Photoelectric Smoke Alarms.
For added capacity and tips on smoke anxiety safety, bang here: Four Smoke Anxiety Assurance Tips.
The accepted accepted for assurance is to accept CO alarms installed aural 10′ of every sleeping room. CO alarms acclimated to be acceptable for either bristles or seven years, but Kidde now offers CO alarms that are acceptable for 10 years. If the CO alarms in your home are over 10 years old, they should absolutely be replaced. If they’re over bristles years old… maybe.
Next week, the affair will be homeowner accouterments inspections.
Click on any of the links beneath to see the accomplished capacity in this series:
Author: Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections
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