DIY : 6 Common Electrical Wiring Problems around Home and Their Solutions
Outdated electrical systems or one installed by an inexperienced DIYer are prone to common errors or problems that can occur. It is always a good idea to have your home inspected by a reputable electrician to make sure none of them puts your home in danger. HouseDepot has master electricians who are familiar with the applicable codes and experienced enough to detect any sort of problem.
A splice is a connection between two or more wires. The splice is dangerous if not contained inside a junction or splice box. It is also a serious violation of the electrical code. If there is ever any sort of splice that is not contained it is only for temporary purposes like temporary lighting or circuit troubleshooting and should only be done by an experienced electrician.
If a splice must be used you need an electrician to install a junction box, run the wires, do the splice using wire nuts and put a cover on the box. One place where a splice might be necessary is connecting a new lighting fixture to old wires not rated for the demands of the light. Instead of rewiring the whole circuit you can splice at least three feet of new wire from the old circuit to the light.
Knob and Tube Wiring
From electricity’s first appearance in the home to the early 1900s, knob and tube wiring was used to bring electricity into the houses of the day. Knob and tube wiring is very dangerous, the wires aren’t grounded, the wires have insulation that disintegrates over time and the circuits are capable of supporting less amperage than is needed today. Because of this, many insurance companies do not insure buildings with knob and tube wiring.
You should hire an electrician to inspect your home if the wiring hasn’t been redone and your house was built before the 1950’s. If there is signs of knob and tube wiring, you need to get the entire house rewired. This can be expensive, but the safety of your home and family is priceless and a fire costs you even more.
Also Read: How to Replace a Ceiling Light Fixture
Too Many Wires
When doing the rough wiring, you might make the mistake of running too many wires through the holes drilled for them. This mistake is against code since some of the wires may be damaged when you pull the wires through and have pieces of insulation torn off, also known as “burning”. Exposed conductors inside the walls can go unnoticed and increase the risk of fire.
You should never run more than three wires through the same hole and leave enough room for wires to move around without burning. If this has happened you will need an electrician to take care of the damaged wire, put in a junction box and replace the wiring.
Also Read: 10 Holiday Lighting Safety Tips For You
Non-IC-Rated Lights Touching Insulation
Ceiling lights that come into contact with the insulation above them have to be IC rated. If they are not, you must keep a space of three inches between the insulation and the light. If the unrated lights are next to the insulation they can stop working and overheat. The light’s thermal protectors may break down over time and allow the light to stay on even in conditions of extreme heat. At that point they could set the insulation on fire
Check all ceiling lights, if they are in contact with insulation and they are not IC rated, either replace the light with one that is or cut away the insulation to a distance of three inches.
Keep low and line Voltage Apart
If an exposed conductor of a low-voltage wire comes in contact with 120v, the higher voltage can damage whatever is at the end of the low-voltage wire. A solid connection between the exposed low-voltage wire and a 120v wire also can cause the insulation to melt and start a fire. Phones, cable boxes, computers, and televisions all are susceptible to interference, a condition made worse when line voltage and low voltage are run parallel through the same hole.
When running low-voltage wires parallel to line-voltage wires, keep the low-voltage wires at least 6 in. away from the higher voltage lines. When low-voltage wires are in the same hole with line voltage wires, you risk having the line voltage go into the low voltage, which can also cause a fire. Have an electrician re-position your low voltage wires or this can even be done as a DIY project if you know what you are doing.
Old Wiring Connected to New Lights
New light fixtures run at a hotter temperature and can overload old wiring. Lights are now manufactured with wires which can run at 90 degrees C, while older wires are rated for 60 degrees C.
Look at your wires. If they are new they will have a date printed on them which means they are from 1987 or later and have the correct rating. You can either replace the whole circuit or install a splice box and run at least a meter of new wire.
HouseDepot provides the information in their posts for educational use only, it should not be used instead of having a complete house inspection by a qualified electrician.
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