Fall is the time to give your house its annual check up before the holidays get here.  No matter how well you take care of your home, the electrical system is prone to wear and tear over time. Regularly testing and evaluating the various switches, receptacles and breakers in your home’s electrical system can prevent a dangerous situation from occurring later on.

You can use this checklist as a guide.   As you check around for things in your home that need to be fixed, look for any problem that could have occurred over the past year. Then make a repair list to keep up on maintenance in the coming months.  Here is a basic list of electrical things you can look for:

Check your trees, and see where your overhead power lines come in.  Look around the house for any trees or tree branches that could be threatening to wiring around your home.

Open your breaker box to look for burn marks around breakers or fuses. Then test all of the circuit breakers. This is done by flipping them manually on and off to be sure they are in good operating condition.

Check outlets for burn marks, or if any outlets/switches feel too warm to the touch (TIP: only touch the plate or switch knob, never the holes of an outlet).  It could be a sign of loose sparking wires. Please read the following information regarding outlet fires and safety.

Look for loose outlet covers, receptacles, and loose boxes.  They may have to be refastened to the studs while the power is turned off. Test all of your GFCI outlets.  You can take a lamp and plug it into each outlet and hit the test and reset buttons to see if it turns the light off and then back on again.

You can go around with an electrical tester or voltmeter (or use the lamp again) and check all the outlets to make sure they are all working.

Check all appliance and extension cords, particularly those that you do not use all the time, for any signs of wear. If a cord shows signs of wear at all you should throw it away.

This list, of course, is not fully inclusive, but gives you a good starting point to the current conditions.  If you aren’t sure what you’re looking at, send us a picture and we’ll see if we can help over the phone.  If it looks complex or dangerous, do not hesitate to contact us so we can remedy the situation.