Electricity poses a double threat to home safety: It can cause a painful, even deadly shock, and it can set a house on fire. Check out your home's wiring against this list of electrical problems.

  • Fuses or circuit breakers that frequently blow are sure signs that a circuit is dangerously overloaded. Do not substitute a larger capacity fuse. Reduce the load to the circuit or have an electrician upgrade your home wiring.
  • A Tangle of extension cords is another sign that your home is under-wired. Try to avoid extension cords. If you must use one, make sure it's rated for the appliance plugged into the cord. Never run extension cords under rugs, over hooks, or through door openings where the insulation could fray.
  • Frayed cords and cracked plugs should be wrapped with electrical tape or, better yet, replaced. Never use any electrical device with a defective cord or plug.
  • Ungrounded receptacles, the old-fashioned two-slot kind, lack protection against electrical shock. Upgrading receptacles may be as simple as replacing them. But first have an electrician determine if your home's system is grounded. Installing grounded receptacles in an ungrounded system provides a false sense if security and is a violation of building codes.
  • A switch or receptacle that sparks when you use it is defective and needs to be replaced.
  • No Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection: this device instantly shuts off the power if you happen to come in contact with a live wire or an appliance while touching plumbing components or standing on wet earth. Most codes require GFCI protection for all bathroom and outdoor receptacles, and some also specify GFCI devices for any kitchen receptacle within 6 feet of a sink.


If you have any problems or concerns with your electrical wiring contact a licensed electrician.