Are You Up to Code… The Electrical Code?

Electrical code violations can put you & your home at risk. Whether it’s an outdated electrical panel or a DIY project gone wrong, having a safety inspection by a licensed electrician can make all the difference. They will be able to tell you what code violations, if any, your home has and how to resolve these to keep you & your home safe. Here are just a few of the potential code violations that can exist in homes and how you can correct them.

New Lights, Old Wiring

New lights run hot. Even modern LED lighting can run hotter than 60 degrees Celsius—hotter than old incandescent lightbulbs used to run at. That means the wiring in your walls could be prone to falling apart in the heat, and that could mean a disastrous worst-case scenario. It’s a common wiring mistake but it can cause big problems.

If your wiring was placed before 1987, there’s a good chance you have wire that can’t withstand the temperatures of modern light fixtures. However, it’s an easy fix: Install a splice box with new connections. Splice boxes are built to withstand higher temperatures, and are an easy and seamless way to connect new light fixtures to old wiring.

Insulation Being Touched by Non-IC-Rated Recessed Lights.

Recessed lighting is an incredibly popular upgrade for many homeowners. These lights can make your room feel bigger, brighter, and more modern than traditional light fixtures did. However, they do involve cutting into your ceiling, and that means the potential for interaction with insulation in your ceiling is always there.

If you’ve got recessed lights that are coming into direct contact with your attic insulation, they must be IC rated. If they aren’t, you must keep a minimum of three inches of space between them. If non-IC rated lights come into contact with the insulation, the insulation itself could catch fire, and I don’t think we need to emphasize how serious that is. Check your insulation and where necessary, either replace the insulation with IC-rated versions or cut the insulation back so it stays a minimum of three inches away from non-IC rated lights.

Unprotected Splices

Connecting two wires together is something you’ll probably have to do in an electrical system. However, doing so always presents a risk, and thus that risk needs to be abated through special protections. A connection between two or more wires is also known as a splice, and is one of the worst code violations when left unprotected. A splice needs to be contained inside a device known as a junction box to be considered safe. Splices help with resolving temporary lighting issues and circuit troubleshooting. If you must have one, hire an electrician to see that it’s done safely and properly.

Overcrowding Wires

Sometimes the temptation to cram four or more wires through a 7/8” hole is great. It’ll look neater, be more convenient, and allow you to get more done with less work. However, do everything you can to resist this temptation! Overcrowding can lead to wires burning up. Burning often goes unnoticed and in turn can lead to exposure and potential fire risk.

Keep it to three wires at maximum to run through a 7/8” hole because that leaves room for the wires to shift without burning. A professional electrician can help with any junction boxes needed as well as getting rid of the damaged wire.

Is your home up to code? Are you unsure whether or not you have any violations? No problem! Schedule a safety inspection with Sylvester Electric by calling (978) 910-0021 and we’ll walk you through the entire process.