Electricity is the driving force in our world today. Since its invention, electricity has been applied massively across all sectors of the economy.
Though it’s of immense importance, electrical connections can be so daunting. And one single mistake could result in electrocution, infrastructural damage, and other forms of destructions.
Although some electrical connections can be easily done at home — if you know the right thing to do. But it’s much better and safer to employ the services of a professional electrician contractor.
Whether you’re looking for ways of doing the basic electrical connections around your home or office. Or you simply want to hire a professional to do the work for you, there are some common electrical mistakes to avoid. And taking proper caution is the best way to avoid these mistakes.
Here are the common electrical mistakes to avoid.
1. Making Electrical connections outside an electrical box.
Electrical boxes are designed to contain sparks and protect surrounding structures from electrical damages. Electrical sparks and heat are mainly generated by short circuits and loose connections. And these can be curbed by making use of junction boxes when wiring.
When electrical wiring is done outside the electrical box or junction box, you’re risking the safety of properties and people around.
2. Wires are not long enough.
When wires are cut too short, proper connections will not be made. This will lead to potential danger. Short wires lead to poor connections which in turn results in overheating, short circuits, and other electrical abnormalities.
Usually, electrical wires are to be kept long, and they should protrude three inches from the box.
In some cases, when you’re working with short wires, six inches extension can be easily added to the existing wires.
3. Leaving Plastic Sheathed Cable Exposed.
Exposed plastic-sheathed cable can be easily damaged between framing members. In accordance with the electrical code, cables are to be protected in these areas. Cables are vulnerable when it’s passed under or over ceiling or wall framing. Unprotected cables pose a great danger. And these cables can be protected by attaching a small 1 or 1.5 inches thick board.
4. Weak Outlet and Switch Support.
Loose outlets are dangerous and may cause great damage. When there’s a weak switch or outlet support, the wires tend to move which results in friction, causing overheating, arcing, and possibly fire hazards.
Loose outlets can be fixed by adding special spacers (like plastic spacers) to firmly hold the outlet in place.
5. Installing Three-Slot Outlets without a Ground wire.
When using three prolonged plugs appliances, you’d want to replace the two-slot outlets with three-slot outlets. But this should be done only when there is a ground wire.
The ground wire can be identified through the use of a tester. In the absence of a ground wire, it is advised to install only two-slot outlets. Other outlets should be checked and replaced with two-slot outlets (when there’s no ground wire).
6. Lack of clamp during cable installation.
Unsecured cables usually cause connection strains. For better cable security, clamps should be used. Normally, internal cable clamps are not needed for the single plastic box. And the cable stapling must be done within 8 inches of the box.
For larger plastic box, internal cable clamps are needed. And the cable should be stapled within 12 inches of the box. When connections are done, it’s crucial to use the approved cable clamps.
A simple way of avoiding this mistake is by trapping the cable sheathing under a clamp. For metal boxes without built-in clamps, the clamps should be installed manually.
7. Use of small electrical box.
The use of a small junction box will make the wires be stuffed and over-filled. Stuffed wires raise the risk of short circuit, overheating, and fire. This potential fire hazard can be eliminated through the use of the right box as specified by the National Electrical Code. For a plastic box, the volume is usually stamped inside.
Labels are not displayed on steel boxes. But their volume is listed by the Electrical Code. You can also determine the volume of a steal box by multiplying the width, interior depth, and height.
8. Reversing the GFCI connection.
The Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is designed to shut off when a slight difference in electric current is detected. This will protect the user from lethal shocks.
A typical GFCI outlet has a ‘line’ terminal and a ‘load’ terminal. An incoming current is detected by the line terminal, while the load terminal offers protection. This shock protection feature is lost when the load and line connection is mixed up.
Having a good grasp of how electricity work is the first step in avoiding these common electrical mistakes. These mistakes are common and they can easily be avoided by taking proper caution.
Since its invention, electricity has been a vital tool for the human species. It has also been the cause of several dangers. But these harms can be prevented by having a fundamental knowledge of electricity, and ultimately avoiding these common electrical mistakes.