Electrical service is the power wires that run from the meter box and connect to the home. It is important to note that these are always live wires and can cause shock if touched.
While some parts of the main electrical service belong to the homeowner (weatherhead, mast and meter box), most of it belongs to the utility company. Changes to the overhead or underground service drop are the responsibility of the utility company.
Wires are the foundation of nearly all electrical equipment. However, they are prone to many different types of damage. When this happens, they become a major safety risk. The most dangerous is when the sheath (which protects the wiring) is damaged. Most modern wires are protected by plastic or cotton sheaths. This prevents them from being touched and causing injury. However, these can be chewed through by mice or ripped off by the natural shifting of your home.
Additionally, a lack of conduit fill can lead to problems with your wires. This is because the inner workings of your cable need to remain separated in order to preserve the signals they carry. Touching this insulation can cause severe electric shock. Fortunately, this type of damage can easily be repaired by a professional electrician.
Outlets experience wear and tear over time just like other frequently used items, so it is important to check them regularly. If an outlet seems to be a bit worn out or not providing full voltage, it may be time for an upgrade.
If an outlet emits smoke, sparks, or burns when you plug it in, it is a fire hazard and needs to be shut down immediately. Shutting down the power to that outlet at your breaker panel will prevent any further damage.
Similarly, if you find that an outlet constantly trips your circuit breaker, it is likely due to electrical wiring damage. An electrician should be called in to inspect and repair the damaged outlet. In addition, if an outlet is hot to the touch it could indicate that a wire is overheating. This is a dangerous situation and should be repaired as soon as possible by an electrician. It is also a good idea to check other outlets to see if they are affected by this problem.
Over time, switches and outlets become worn out from everyday use. When this occurs, they may need to be replaced. If you notice a switch that’s not working correctly, or if it is discolored or charred, you should call for an electrical repair service right away.
Faulty switches can cause short circuits, which are dangerous and lead to fires. These short circuits can also damage your electrical system and appliances. It’s important to hire a professional electrician for any electrical switch and outlet repairs.
If you suspect a problem with one of your switches, start by turning off the power to it at the circuit breaker. Next, remove the cover plate and inspect the switch. If it’s loose or wobbly, or if it’s making buzzing noises, disconnect the wires from the switch by loosening the screw terminals. Using a non-contact neon circuit tester, check that the wires don’t have live current running through them. If the switch is still faulty, it’s likely that the light fixture itself has a wire connection issue.
Your service panel (also known as a fuse box or main breaker) controls the flow of electricity to everything in your home that requires power. Without a properly functioning electrical panel, your lights, electronics and appliances could become damaged or stop working altogether.
Because a residential service panel is highly energized, it’s unsafe to open it by yourself. Screwdrivers, pliers or other tools used to access the circuit breakers can act as conductors and cause shock or electrocution.
If a breaker or fuse box feels hot to the touch, it’s a sign that components inside are overheating. Over time, this can cause wire insulation to melt and expose the metal underneath. This is dangerous, and you should call a professional right away to repair or replace your service panel. You may also notice discoloration or burn marks on the panel, which is another indication that it’s overheating and needs to be repaired or replaced. Faulty panels can also lead to fires in your home.