So, you’ve been living in your home for several years now and even though it is over ten years old, you’ve never run into a problem – and you’ve certainly never heard of anyone you know having an electrical fire or getting electrocuted.
Other than flickering or dimming lights when you turn on the vacuum cleaner, you have experienced nothing remarkably dangerous, right?
Millions of people think this way – they tuck away the thought of addressing the hazards immediately. They know they should and will get to them soon… eventually… just as soon as they… whatever.
Procrastination is very typical amongst us humans, isn’t it? We are not going to do anything until absolutely pressured into it!
We all know though; delaying action rarely helps any situation. Black mold growing in a bathroom or rotting wood on a deck are obvious signs you must act soon. A recurring tooth pain will get worse and will eventually overwhelm any procrastination and/or fear of going to a dentist. A howling baby demands an immediate and effective reaction. Ignoring squeaky brakes in your car can result in a catastrophe if not addressed now.
Of course, the common element of these problems is that you know about them. There is a visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory (it stinks!) or taste aspect of the developing problem and you soon will have no choice, but to act!
Unfortunately, the hazards of old and outdated electrical wiring, outlets, switches, breakers, panels, etc. do not present obvious signs of deterioration. They are invisible since they are most often behind walls or within the devices themselves.
Electrical terminology sometimes describes the events leading up to an electrical failure as ‘faults’ – as in ‘ground faults’ or ‘arc faults.
Ground faults are a result of improper grounding in an electrical system. Since electricity is always trying to go to ground (literally the earth beneath our feet) along the path of least resistance, it may find another wire – or family member – as most convenient for its journey.
This can result in disastrous consequences of fire or electrocution.
An arc fault is what you would commonly know as a short or a spark in a loose or incorrectly wired electrical connection. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how this can lead to fire.
These perilous conditions develop as a result of years of deterioration in all things electrical in your home. It is important to note that these devices, wiring, fixtures, safety features and the methods to install them were state-of-the art back when your home was built or renovated.
However, as technology races at break-neck speed, the old services are straining to keep up with the demand of modern appliances and other electrical devices.
Much like airplane crashes, our governments learn from, and legislate new rules and regulations to prevent, the disastrous consequences of outdated electrical devices and practices.
For instance, when government studies conducted collectively over the past five years revealed the fact that most electrical fires occur in bedrooms, both the Canadian and American governments now require installations of arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCI) on bedroom circuits.
These little babies will shut the power off to the bedroom circuit in the same split second it takes an arc to occur.
A parallel discovery was that most fire related deaths occur not as a result of fire directly, but from inhaling poisonous fumes after the victims are rendered unconscious in their sleep. This revelation gave rise to the regulation that requires smoke detectors to be installed immediately outside bedroom doors. They must also be powered by the AC current from your home with battery back-up. Additionally, they must all be wired together so they all scream danger when smoke becomes present anywhere in the house.
Since both of these changes in the Code were implemented, deaths arising from electrical fires were reduced dramatically.
The proof is in the results and you should pay attention to these and other Codes.
People make the common mistake of thinking circuit breakers are going to protect them. Don’t make the same mistake.
First of all, the breakers are designed to protect your circuits not you. The amount of current required to trip or shut off the breaker is at least 1,500 times more than what it takes to give you a heart attack.
Secondly, if they are worn through the years from heating and use, they may not even trip because they are locked into place!
They too, like anything else in this world, get old and worn out and will sooner or later need repair or replacing.
All things electrical in your home will eventually fail – it is physics!
If they are not fixed and updated, then the results can be catastrophic.
That’s why electrical defects fall into the category of silent killers; you cannot detect them until they rear their ugly and perhaps fatal heads.
Roughly 20 Canadians and 200 Americans die of electrical fires or electrocution every year.
This does not seem like a huge number but try telling that to the families of the victims.
Ignoring odds like these is like ignoring the only bullet in a revolver with a thousand round cylinder; spinning the cylinder, holding it to your head and pulling the trigger.
Sure – the odds the hammer will strike the bullet are one in a thousand, but why would you take that risk at all?
You would replace the balding tires on your car to ensure your family’s safety, wouldn’t you?
Of course, you would – you wouldn’t take even the smallest risk those tires would blow or go flat at exactly the wrong time.
Your family’s safety demands no less of your attention to the electrical system in your home.
If your home is over 10 years old, it is a must you get an electrical safety audit to see what defects your system has and deal with them immediately.
Get an examination by a qualified and experienced master electrician for an accurate assessment.
A journeyman electrician may be good enough for the job. However, they are not responsible for knowing government Codes like a master electrician must. To retain their ‘master’ license, they are required to know government electrical codes backwards and forwards.
And since those codes are developed for your safety and the most effective way to protect your family, it is paramount an expert who knows them well assesses your electrical service.
You should be able to find a local master electrician in your city or town who will perform this audit for free. Lion Electric is the ideal company to contact for all these services. With years of experience, they provide reliable and professional electrical services to all clients in Mississauga, ON.