Even after a rough economic year and during a time of rising real estate prices, Washington State is seeing plenty of new home construction this year! Particularly in King and Pierce counties there is no shortage of new construction on the market. But for homeowners and contractors alike, an important piece in home construction is getting the electrical right. From strict codes to follow, limitations on availability and resources, and usage expectations, there is a lot to consider when designing electricity for your new home! Let’s get into it.
Understanding Residential Electricity
There is a lot that goes into providing electricity to your home. First, electricity must come from a reliable source. While it’s becoming popular to go off-grid with solar panels, and it certainly has its benefits, the most common and still most reliable way to power your home, at least in Washington’s overcast seasons, is via a power plant. Once a reliable source is secured, permits are required. Generally, your electrical contractor will secure this for you. Unlike many parts of the homebuilding process, electricity is not something you can do yourself. Not only can you face fines for doing your own electrical work without a permit, but electricity is one of the most dangerous parts of the homebuilding process. Even among trained electricians, electrocutions still take an average of 143 lives each year. It’s not worth taking the safety risk! With these fundamentals understood, you’ll be in good shape to hire an electrical contractor for your new home.
Maintaining Your Home’s Electrical System
When designing your new home, electrical maintenance should be considered. As a homeowner you can take a few steps: Be mindful of your energy consumption, inspect your electrical components, and care for the outdoors. Being mindful of energy consumption might go without saying, but everything needs a break now and then! Make a habit of turning things off when you aren’t using them. Not only will your pocketbook thank you, but your home’s electrical system will get breaks, too.
Did you know that you can inspect parts of your electrical system? Switches and outlets should be first. When something is broken, loose, or (hopefully not) sparking, it’s time to call in an electrician! A minor problem now can become a safety hazard if not addressed. You can’t see if there’s a problem with the wiring behind the walls, so it’s best to let a professional electrician diagnose the problem. After switches and outlets, check your circuit breakers. To do this, inspect the panel and look for a flipped breaker switch. If you find one, look for signs of damage such as burning. If there are no flipped switches, check for damage such as rust, water damage, burning, exposed wires, and odors. If anything is off, call a professional to inspect!
It’s important when doing any sort of electrical work or inspection that you never, ever touch open wiring. Make sure your hands are completely dry when inspecting your circuit breaker. If you do notice a problem, don’t attempt to repair it on your own. Remember that electrocutions at home can and do happen by accident. Call a licensed electrician. It’s not worth the risk!
Repairing or Replacing a Damaged Electrical System
If problems are found with your electrical system, your professional will recommend the correct course of action. These can range from minimal repairs to large remodels. Electrical systems are among the most important to maintain. Problems with your home’s electrical system are more than utilitarian, but become fire and safety hazards. Your first priority is your family’s well-being, and that’s why you should never neglect your electrical system.
If you live in an older home or have noticed any problems, it’s time to have a professional electrician out for an inspection. We can help point you in the right direction! Give us a call for a recommendation or to ask us a question. We’re here to help.