According to the United States Fire Administration (usfa.com), home electrical problems account for 67,800 fires a year, that’s one every 7 minutes

Deaths form home electrical fires are highest in the winter months with more demand for heat, appliances, and lighting. Electrical wiring causes 33 percent of all home fires. Almost all homes are wired as cheaply as possible, the lowest bid typically wins with builders. As Electrical Codes have dramatically changed in the last 6 years to make homes safer, older homes are “grand fathered in” to keep the sellers cost low. This means that the home is not up to current codes, but is suitable to be sold.

All though most electrical problems cannot be seen or predicted, they can be fixed! Three low-cost upgrades can be done to most homes to greatly increase the safety of those living in it. These upgrades are not recommended for the do-it-yourselfer or handy-man, as the danger of doing any part of it even slightly wrong can be deadly, even if everything seems to work fine. Your best and overall cheapest bet is a reputable Licensed and Insured Electrical Contractor. Each upgrade is about as costly as having your living room painted.

First of all, the most common problems are an inexpensive repair, it starts at the receptacles, switches, lighting fixtures, and in between splice or junctions boxes. The average 30 year old house has ten coats of paint on the walls and the original receptacles. While cosmetic upgrades may seem important, neglect of the electrical system can be a killer. Loose connections are the source of almost all electrical fires, the weakest link is where the arcing occurs. Loose wire nuts,
screws, and poorly connected splices are the most common ignition points. Most switches and outlets are connected with the wires “stabbed” into the back, with the power feeding in and out of the outlet, this is the fastest but the absolute worst way to install any device. This method does however save builders thousands of dollars per house.

Second, an integrated fire alarm system monitors the entire house, with smoke and carbon monoxide sensors place throughout. This type of system is now required for all new homes, if any one unit triggers, they all sound. There is no sleeping through the alarm. This saves many precious seconds needed in the beginning stages of a fire. Most deaths occur due to smoke inhalation, not the actual fire, victims of these tragedies are just seconds too late. Also, these system can be wired to turn on any lights when activated, such as bedrooms, hallways, basement, and any exit or escape lighting desired. Integrated fire alarm systems start at just a few hundred dollars installed. Most insurance company's offer discounts for these upgrades, however these systems prove to be priceless day after day!

This Typical Electrical panel has many fire hazards

Third, unless your home is less than 15 years old, your main panel, outside service, and wiring are probably undersized, over crowded, and in bad shape inside, as seen above. Electrical loads in homes have greatly increased in the past twenty years, replacing one circuit breaker with a bigger circuit breaker is not the correct answer. You wouldn't know if someone has compromised your safety in order to save some time and money.

This is a Typical Precision Power Electric Installation

Definitely let the pro’s do this! Changing the outside service is very dangerous! Anyone can put in a breaker, however, wire sizing and load balancing should be left to a licensed and insured electrician.

For the cost of a nice garden hose, you can have a detailed inspection of your homes electrical hazards by a Licensed and Insured Electrical Contractor.

For the cost of having your carpets cleaned, power circuits can be added to your home, removing heavy power loads from the old brittle wiring.

For the cost of having your interior painted, the safety of your home can be un compromised as all of these upgrades mentioned can be finished. Avoid tragedy, make sure the electrical system and gas lines are safe before any cosmetic upgrades are planned.

Let licensed electricians do the work, that’s what they’ve been trained to do. Getting a State Journeyman or Master license here in Michigan is not easy, and for good reasons.