With electricity being such a common part of our everyday lives, you may be surprised…
New Halloween Decorating Trends May Overload Electrical Outlets
Electricians in Katy, TX, Share Information on Halloween Decorations and Outlet Requirements
New Trends Include Twinkling Lights and Halloween Trees
It seems like there are new Halloween decorating trends every year. From sophisticated, motion-activated decorations designed to scare trick-or-treaters, to inflatables, to creepy trees and twinkling lights, there’s no end to choices. But something many homeowners overlook is the strain these new decorations may put on their electrical outlets.
Read on to discover tips every homeowner should know to keep their homes safe, outlets updated, and decorations working.
How Often Should Outlets Be Replaced?
Most modern outlets should be replaced every 10 to 15 years, but there are exceptions to this guideline. Even in new homes, problems with electrical outlets or the system itself can become apparent and may require outlets to be replaced in as little as five years. Below are some indications that electrical outlets need replacing.
Cracked or blackened outlets don’t just look bad; they may also pose a danger to the home. It’s also a good idea to look out for flickering lights and constant breaker trips, as they may indicate a problem with the outlets or the electrical system itself. In older homes, outlets with only two holes don’t have a ground connection.
These outlets should be replaced with newer ones with the added protection of the ground connection. Of course, if outlets begin to smoke, melt, or blacken with scorch marks, calling a professional electrician should be done as soon as possible after shutting off the power to the affected outlet.
AFCI and GFCI Outlets
There are two main types of outlets that are used to protect homes from electrical mishaps. One type is AFCI, which stands for Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter. These outlets are designed with protection against electrical arc-faults, which can cause a fire in the right circumstances. Some things that can cause arc-faults are rodents chewing through wires, a nail or a screw puncturing a wire, or an appliance overheating.
AFCIs aren’t actually installed in the wall as an outlet, but they’re instead integrated into the main electrical panel. The National Electrical Code requires that AFCIs are used in bedrooms, sleeping areas, kitchens, and laundry areas.
GFCI outlets are the other main type of required safety outlet. GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. These outlets are installed directly into the wall and contain a mini breaker that will trip if it senses an electrical surge or imbalance. For this reason, GFCIs are required in outlets near water sources, like those in bathrooms, laundry rooms, garages, and near sinks in kitchens.
Reasons To Hire a Professional
While flickering lights and breaker trips can indicate outlet issues, other things can cause these problems. This is why it’s important to hire a professional electrician to assess the situation for any home’s electrical system. Safety is always a major factor to consider when attempting to work on or near electricity, considerng how dangerous it can be. Professionals are highly trained to work safely with outlets and live electricity, which goes a long way to protecting homes and the people who live in them.
Lastly, it’s hard for a homeowner to know what exactly will bring their home up to code. And safety codes are there to protect people. For peace of mind and the job done right, it’s best to seek the help of a professional.
About Electric City
Electric City has been serving Katy, TX, with pride since 2008. They provide upfront pricing, same day service, and a lifetime warranty on all their work. Electric City is locally-owned and operated, providing stellar workmanship and excellent customer service. Contact them today for dependable electrical services!