Avoid Electrical Problems During Remodeling

Avoiding electrical problems is simple. Each year thousands of fires are the result of common electrical installation problems. As some older homes are remodeled, some electrical outlets are installed without a properly grounded outlet, replacing the old receptacle outlet. This is an error because, in the event of a short circuit, the cover plate can become energized and deadly. Here we will present some common electrical problems and how to avoid them during the remodeling process.

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Electrical Problem: Recessed Electrical Boxes

Young woman doing elektrical checks on socket
Ulrike Schmitt-Hartmann / Getty Images

Sometimes adding paneling to a wall surface can cause code violations. Use extension rings to solve the problem. There is always the possibility of installing a new electrical outlet and using an extender or shimming plates behind the box.

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Electrical Problem: Wiring is not Properly Secured

Some issues can happen if staples are driven too tight to secure the wire to studs or beams. The wire can be severely damaged if it is not properly attached. The best way to prevent this from happening is to run the wiring through conduits or cable trays.

The National Electric Code has specific requirements about nonmetallic-sheathed cable, how to staple and secure it depending on how close they are to the outlet box and through the run.

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Electrical Problem: Wiring Size

One of the most common problems and one of the most dangerous ones as well. Using improper wiring can cause wires to overheat. This can also occur when the number of outlets and light receptacles combined into one single circuit is much more than what the circuit is designed for.

Make sure you are not adding more amps to that circuit and if needed, add a new circuit to the panel board. Watch out as the problem is not always the wiring. It can be the breaker itself so make sure to analyze amp requirements.

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Electrical Problem: Wiring Length

Code regulation is specific about how much wiring can be stripped. At least six inches are recommended to facilitate handling of the outlet box. Stripping too much wire can lead to sparks as hot conductors can make contact with each other, causing sparks and potential fires.

Also. when the wire run is too long, there might be some voltage drops associated with it, causing the wire to underperform and carry less current than it is designed for.

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Electrical Problem: Protect Wiring

Unprotected cable can be damaged. Electrical cables must be covered and protected if they are widely exposed to the public and if exposed to harsh weather conditions. Make sure to cover and protect all stripped cable using approved electrical tape or any other NEC-approved method.

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Electrical Problem: UF Cable

F cable MUST be protected inside a conduit. This cable commonly used to bring power to other areas, but it is frequently used as an exposed wire, leaving it prone to damage.

It is ideal for branch and circuit when used as direct buried. However, since it is kind of flexible, be careful on a tight radius as it might damage the internal wiring, leading to an arc fault and fire.

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Electrical Problem: Connections

Remember each wire has its function — either the neutral, the live current or the ground; each one of them must be properly connected.  A cable connector must be used to keep the metal from damaging the cable sheath and causing a short circuit.

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Electrical Problem: Replacing Wires

NEVER replace a two-wire receptacle with a three-wire receptacle. Exception: A two-wire receptacle can be converted to a GFCI receptacle. Be sure to follow electrical code recommendations and follow proper grounding principles.

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Electrical Problem: Light Fixtures

Do not replace light fixtures in older homes without a grounding conductor. Replacement of light fixtures requires grounding if a metal fixture is installed, or install GFCI protection on the circuit. Non-metallic fixtures may be replaced without grounding.

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Electrical Problem: National Electrical Code

Most important of all — remember to follow all recommendations and follow all standards as set forth in the National Electrical Code, the latest edition, and also follow local and state requirements.