While some violations require sums of money to update or repair, others are simple issues that can be corrected quickly and easily. Beginning with some of the simplest ones, here are a few things to watch for and correct as soon as possible.
1. MISSING ELECTRICAL BOX COVERS: This looks harmless enough, and more than likely, someone laid the cover to the side and simply forgot to put it back on. However, since this violation falls under the safety category, it will get you cited. Keep a few extra covers in the utility closet and replace any that you notice.
2. USING THE WRONG COVER ON OUTDOOR RECEPTACLES: For many years, the covers with two gasketed receptacle covers for individual use were common. Today, we are supposed to install bubble covers, which allow an entire connection between cord and receptacle to be protected. If you see the old style receptacle, simply replace them to get ahead of the game.
3. TAKE THE TIME TO UPGRADE YOUR RECEPTACLES TO TAMPER RESISTANT VERSIONS. These new receptacles stop children from sticking things into them.
4. BE SURE YOU HAVE PROPER CLEARANCES AROUND YOUR PANELS. If you have that garage fridge sitting in front of your panels, move it. Panels require a workspace in front of them. Be sure it is 30 inches wide, 80 inches tall, and 36 inches deep.
5. SELECT THE CORRECT CIRCUIT BREAKERS. Know the difference between a standard breaker, an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter, and a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. If your system is grandfathered in, any changes at all can make updating the whole panel a requirement. Even if that hasn’t happened, be sure you purchase what you need. The purpose of a standard circuit breaker is simply to protect the house wiring from an overloading amperage, which could start a fire. It is not designed to protect people. Arc Faults are designed to be used throughout the home, and will catch issues such as pinched cords. Ground Faults are to be used in damp or wet areas, such as kitchens, baths, garages, basements and crawl spaces, and outdoors. Many local codes are now requiring Arc Faults in new construction, and some are also mandating that they be installed when an existing breaker is replaced.
6. IN NEW CONSTRUCTION AND UPGRADES, look for neutrals in all switch boxes. While it may not be needed immediately, the trend toward electronic switches has led the initiative to put neutrals in all switch boxes for future use. Be sure that the correct number of receptacles are installed. There should be one every six feet to eliminate the need for extension cords. Look for proper grounding and bonding. New recommendations allow the use of rebar in foundations to be used for grounding, as this provides a great way to ground a home. Bonding ties all the metals in the house through connective wires. This keeps you from getting shocked on water pipes or by touching appliances, which is common in older homes.
While these issues are some of the most customary, you see that many are simple fixes. If you are unsure of these items and considering a complete home inspection to help you understand the state of your electrical supply, give Professional Electric a call today. We can bring any issues to your attention and help you get them resolved quickly and efficiently. Your safety is our priority.
Visit us online at www.ProfessionalElectric.biz and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter! We are available 24/7 for emergency services. Mobile, Alabama: (251) 473-5788 Baldwin County: (251) 929-8957.
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