If you're lucky, then you don't spend much time thinking about your home's electrical system. A well-designed system should allow you to plug items into wall outlets without a second thought, and you shouldn't need to worry too much about potential hazards. However, electrical standards are constantly changing, and older homes may lack many modern safety features.
Of course, old wiring or poor electrical design doesn't mean it's time to sell your house and move into something newer! You can rectify many potentially unsafe design decisions and give your home a nice upgrade in the process. Consider these three improvements that can make your home safer and more modern.
1. Install More Outlets
You might be surprised to learn that the number of outlets on your walls is a significant safety issue. Many newer building codes specify a maximum distance between outlets (typically six feet). If you've been to many newly constructed homes, you may notice that they often have a considerable number of outlets in any given room. These regulations are the reason why.
Why are outlets a safety issue? Too few outlets in a room can lead to excessive extension cord use. Extension cords and surge protectors can present potential safety hazards when misused, and installing more outlets minimizes the need for these items. By installing more outlets in your home, you can reduce your reliance on extra cords and surge protectors.
2. Add More Circuits
Modern homes typically use one circuit per room, with few exceptions. High-load items (such as washing machines or HVAC equipment) also have dedicated circuits. If your house has multiple rooms sharing a single circuit, this can be both a frustrating state of affairs and a potential safety hazard. At a minimum, you may experience constant breaker faults.
Increasing the number of circuits in your home means being able to plug in more devices without creating a potential fire hazard. Even though your circuit breakers (or fuses) help prevent damage, it's still best to avoid overloading your circuits whenever possible.
3. Add GFCI Outlets
Your circuit breakers protect the wiring in your walls, but ground fault interrupter circuit (GFCI) outlets protect you from potential shocks. GFCI outlets respond quickly to shut down the circuit when they detect a fault, preventing fires and maybe even saving your life. You can easily upgrade most outlets, and building codes typically require them in bathrooms and kitchens.
If you only consider one upgrade from this list, it should be GFCI outlets. These essential safety devices can keep you safe under a wide variety of circumstances, making them an excellent electrical upgrade for any home. To learn more, contact local electricians.