Regardless if your home’s electrical system is outdated or tampered with by anyone other than a licensed electrician, electrical code violations will undoubtably leave your home and family exposed to the risk of electrical shock and fire. Discover the top 5 code violations that are a common occurrence by DIYers and have your home inspected by a licensed electrical home service company, such as Arnold Electric Services, Inc. to make sure none of them are endangering your home or your family.
Grounding is the most important safety feature in any electrical system. An electrician has to make and create that ground system in your home. You can’t just install lights, switches, and outlets and ‘poof’ the ground is just there. There are two main forms of a ground that we create: Primary (attaches to copper water pipe) and Secondary (the ground rod outside your meter). That is not the end of it though! From these two points EVERYTHING electrical in your home needs to connect to these ground sources. This is where DIY’ers go wrong and are not equipped to test for a ground source at each electric device they are working on.
Connecting to Old Wiring
Knob and tube wiring, cloth covered wiring and rubber wire are all forms of old wiring that are not recommended to connect to. Knob and tube wiring is literally FREE AIR wiring with no ground running behind your walls. Most DIYers are unable to identify the difference between knob and tube wiring and cloth covered wire. Know that both types of wiring are well beyond 70 years old. And although “things are working fine” with your 70+ year old cloth covered wiring system don’t be fooled, the system is in need of being replaced. Rubber wire is not quite as old however we are seeing it start to rot and deteriorate just like the cloth insulation.
A splice is a connection between two or more wires and is often times one of the biggest code violations we see. The splice needs to be made and contained in a metal junction box with a metal cover. You cannot make an open splice anywhere including in free air, behind walls, or in attics. Use wire nuts for all splices inside metal junction boxes and make sure you twist all the wires together.
The Wrong Circuit Breaker
We don’t recommend DIYers to perform a breaker replacement. Regardless, we still see it a lot and not many get it right. There are two major components to understand: #1 You can’t mix and match manufactures. So, if you are brave enough to do this on your own, make sure you get the same make and model breaker. #2 Make sure you have to correct AMP rating of the breaker to match up with the correct size wire for the AMP rating of the breaker. Not many people other than licensed electricians know this information.
Have it be wire in conduit or have it be romex wire, DIYers are notorious for overcrowding both. It’s tempting to use the full capacity of a conduit and to pull too many romex cables through a stud wall. In simple terms: Overcrowding wires in a conduit or in a bored hole in a stud with romex cause an enormous amount of heat. The heat generated puts undue stress on your electrical system, causes the breakers to trip, burns up the wires and causes havoc on an electrical system.