The main panel and load center require annual inspections, as screws that connect wiring to breakers loosen over time. An electrician will check for proper connections and also for proper connection of the breakers to the buss bars. We also look for hot spots on the connections and breakers using an infrared scanner.
GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets sense even a small impedance between a hot circuit and ground, and they are designed to trip when anything is detected. For example, if a person is getting shocked, the GFCI will trip and shut off the power, halting the shock and preventing electrocution. All outlets throughout the kitchen, bathrooms, and outdoor areas should have GFCIs. Homeowners should test GFCI outlets once a month and schedule an annual inspection by a licensed electrician.
Arc fault circuit breakers have been required in new construction since 2008 and should be installed in older homes. These devices are critical in preventing hazardous electrical fires and should be installed in all bedroom and living area outlets.
Arc fault circuit breakers will trip when they detect low-level arcing currents. Hazardous arcing can be caused by the plugs of household appliances coming loose from the outlet. Materials near the arcing currents, like drapery, can quickly catch fire and spread to the house. We recommend that homeowners test these circuit breakers once a month. In the process of an annual Abacus electrical inspection, our electricians will test the arc fault protection devices using advanced testing equipment.
Homeowners understand the importance of smoke detectors, but not everyone is aware that carbon monoxide detectors are important, too. Even if your house is completely electric, you should have a carbon monoxide detector if you have an attached garage. In the case of a car left idling in the garage, carbon monoxide may quickly accumulate and permeate your home.
Test your smoke detectors and CO detectors once a month, and change the 9-volt batteries every year, whether you have a stand-alone smoke detector or one that is part of a wired system. A licensed electrician should inspect all detectors every year. At Abacus, we use canned smoke and a carbon monoxide testing agent to ensure that your smoke and CO detectors are thoroughly evaluated.
Back stabbing is an unsafe shortcut used by some electricians when installing switches and receptacles. Instead of curing wiring safely around side screws, some electricians simply insert wires into the back of the component. This shortcut has been shown to make switches and receptacles vulnerable to overheating, and fires can result. In an Abacus electrical inspection, our experienced electricians check for back stabbed components and flag them for repair. It is important to check for back stabbed switches and receptacles before running a high-draw item such as a back-up generator.
Installing LED bulbs in all of your light fixtures will provide you with huge energy savings for years to come. LED bulbs use 85% less energy than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, and they last 25 times as long. While installing LED lights entails a higher upfront cost, most homeowners break-even before two years and continue to save money in the years following. The efficient energy usage of LED bulbs can save homeowners an annual $200 to $400 on utility bills.
To protect your home’s appliances and electronics, lightning and surge protection is a must. Abacus Electrical offers three protection levels, each with different protection capabilities. The level options also include $25,000, $50,000, or $75,000 worth of protection from the manufacturer.
Electrical issues ranging from dimming lights to electrocution hazards can result from a poor connection of your ground rod to the earth. Many factors can cause a poor connection, including weather conditions like extreme drought. During our home electrical inspection, we make sure to evaluate the ground rod connection. If the resistance is less than required, Abacus’ expert electricians can correct the problem.
CSST (Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing) gas piping that is not properly grounded or bonded can cause a serious fire hazard. If your home is struck by lightning, this stainless-steel tubing may melt and cause an immediate fire or explosion. If we find a problem during our inspection, Abacus electricians will make sure your gas piping is properly grounded and bonded, in accordance with the most current codes and safety measures (2011 NEC and 2012 IFGC).