How Electrical Things Go Wrong?

When thinking about an electrical system that has been in place in your home since it was built, the first thing that comes to mind is, why is this happening now? What changed between when the builder put the electrical system in place, and now?

There are other things in life, like our vehicles, which the concept of use and life cycle are easier to understand. You get your oil changed every 3,000 miles. You put gas in your car weekly to keep it fueled up to be able to operate. You check the air in your tires. You change the wiper blades. These things are very apparent to maintain because most of us drive our vehicles every day. We understand that over the course of time, with owning a vehicle that maintenance issues will come up. Things wear out over time during the duration of their life cycles.

When thinking about electrical systems in your home, it's not as easily understood. The average person does not know OHMs law, nor understand the effects that take place when OHMs law is in place, in say... a loose connection in your electrical system.

Homeowners wonder, if this was installed when my home was built, what is causing it to malfunction now? There are 4 reasons for electrical hazards to pop up over the course of a life cycle of a home, and what precipitates the call to an electrician to fix the problem.

1. Workmanship. Unfortunately, the number one reason electrical components malfunction over time, is because the person who installed it originally might have made a mistake. Maybe they did not torque the screw down to specifications. Maybe the breaker wasn't sized properly for the load. Maybe the wire was undersized. Maybe they ran one circuit where the demand should have called for multiple circuits. The bottom line is that the workmanship of the installer, could have compromised the installation from the beginning. And over time, through improperly installed electrical work, problems show themselves because of electricity flowing through.

2. Corrosion/Water intrusion. A common problem that is completely bizarre to homeowners is water, literally spilling out of your electrical panel. People call in astonishment that water has infiltrated their electrical panel. And rightfully so. Water and electricity don't mix. How the water gets in? It travels along the Service Entrance cable, that is coming from the meter on the outside of the house. Herein, the workmanship discussed in number one, has a major role. How did the installer drill the hole? Did he caulk the opening? Is the cable's protective jacket cracked, and letting water in? This is actually a very common problem. Once the water is gone however, the damage left behind from corrosion, still persists, it will continue to worsen.

3. Load. Today's homes have more loads being pulled through them then ever before. Poor workmanship, plus corrosion on an aging electrical systems, will lead to more problems.

4. Wear and Tear. Your kid unplugging the vacuum cleaner from around the corner? Not good, over time it will disturb the wiring and screws on the inside of the box and device. How many times have you flipped that switch that's not working right? How often do you think the jiggling of a switch can take before it becomes bad? Before it loosen connections in the box the switch is in or on the screws? The wear and tear on these things adds up to problems.

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