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Buying a home is exciting, but like anything new, there is often a learning curve. One important aspect of homeownership is exercising caution when it comes to electricity. To avoid injury or damage, here are six things all new homeowners should know about their electrical systems.

1.Make certain the circuit breaker box is labeled correctly
After you’ve moved in, be sure to check the home’s circuit panel or breaker box. It’s important each circuit is labeled correctly; they may not be labeled, but even if they are, may not be accurate. A trusted local electrician can inspect your box and make sure each is accurately labeled if you aren’t sure how to determine which switch correlates with areas of your home.

2.Systems can be overloaded
Circuits that frequently trip usually indicate an overloaded breaker. This is common in homes with outdated circuit panels and/or wiring. Normally, switches can simply be reset. However, if the same switches continue to be overloaded and are unrelated to power surges, this could be a warning sign something is amiss. Chances are it’s time for an upgrade to either the wiring or panel/box. Routine inspections performed by a licensed electrician can help pinpoint issues and prevent shortages or even fires.

3. Learn where the main electrical shut-off is located
Every home has an electrical shut-off switch that cuts the electricity flow to the outlets and switches. Sometimes it’s necessary to turn everything off in the event of an emergency or if a serious issue emerges. Normally, the shut-off is located near the main breaker panel.

4.Identify if any two-prong outlets exist
Before the 1960s, two-prong outlets were the standard in homes, but they have long been considered to be antiquated. However, these outdated outlets can still be found in older houses. These outlets cannot be grounded and, as a result, are not as safe as newer outlets that are able to be grounded.

5. Recognize warning signs
As new homeowners get acclimated to their home and surroundings, they might not know immediately what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to their electrical system. It’s a good idea to call a professional electrician if you experience frequent flickering lights (and tightening the bulb doesn’t fix it), get shocks when plugging or unplugging devices, feel warm outlets, smell burning odors, see smoking outlets, or experience large/frequent sparks near outlets.

6. Determine if the house still uses fuses
Fuse boxes were the standard prior to the 1960s. This is an outdated technology that doesn’t meet current standards, but might be present in older homes. If your home uses a fuse box, you want to consider upgrading and bringing your home’s central electricity area up to the current code. Fuses can still be used but they tend to “blow” and need to be replaced when this happens. Talk to your electrician to learn more about fuse boxes and the benefits of upgrading.

Contact Reed Electric, Heating & Air Today
Reed Electric, Heating & Air is proud to have been servicing Metropolis, IL, Paducah, KY and surrounding areas since 2004. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your electrical system, give us a call today.