Improving Electrical Safety

Common Electrical Code Violations & Why They Are Dangerous

The National Electrical Code is meant to keep homeowners safe from electrical dangers; these codes aren't just there to make life difficult for people. That is why you need to be careful with code violations; violating a code also means you are risking your household. Here are some of the common code violations and why they put your house in danger:

Installing New Light Fixtures on Old Wiring

If your house is old and has aging electrical installations, it may be tempting to upgrade just the light fixtures because they are the things you see on a daily basis. Unfortunately, replacing the lights and retaining the aging wiring is dangerous and violates electrical codes. The main reason is that contemporary light fixtures plus their electrical wiring are designed to run at hotter temperatures than old fixtures and their appliances. This means the old wires may not be able to withstand the hotter temperatures of the new lights.

Splicing Wires Outside Junction Boxes

Splicing is the act of connecting two or more wires. The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires wire splices to be housed inside junction boxes, and with good reason. Splicing wires without covering them up with junction boxes expose them to damage from impact, which may produce electrical sparks and fires. There are only a few exceptional situations where you may be allowed to splice wires without a junction box, for example, if you are making a temporary connection to test a circuit.

Passing Too Many Wires through a Single Hole

There is a limit to how many wires you should thread through a whole without risking an electrical catastrophe. Electrical wires give off some heat when conducting electricity. If you overcrowd electrical wires, they may produce too much heat that may burn through their insulation and cause a short circuit. In addition, a wire may also get its insulation torn off by another wire as it is dragged across it.

Using the Wrong Circuit Breaker

There is a circuit breaker for every situation and location, and installing breakers without matching them to suitable locations violates the electrical code. For example, an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) should be used in areas where electrical cords are likely to be pinched (or get chewed by pets), such as living areas. An AFCI detects arcing conditions and breaks the circuit before an electrical fire occurs, so not using it raises the risk of electrical fire.

To learn more about electrical codes, contact services such as Williams Electric Supply.