Don't blow a fuse
Have time and technology made your wiring inadequate?
May is National Electric Safety Month, a good time to keep in mind the dangers that can be associated with electric service.
Modern living revolves around electricity. It powers kitchen appliances, entertainment centers, home computers, heating and cooling systems. One potential area for electrical hazards is an out-of-date wiring system. Is yours adequate to handle the load you demand of it? Here are some indications that would suggest immediate help is needed:
Blowing of fuses when certain appliances are used together. The inability to operate your appliances as needed indicates that too large a load is being imposed on the circuit.
Overheated wires, switches, fuse boxes and plug-ins suggest that the current flowing through these devices is excessive or that a loose connection may be present.
Lights that dim down and stay down while something is running are a strong indication that wire sizes are too small to handle the load demanded of them.
These are just a few indications of inadequate wiring.
Time has made many wiring systems inadequate. The designers of the wiring systems that were installed when lights were first available were unable to visualize the tremendously increased number of uses for electrical current. The old 60-amp fuse box was designed for loads of 35 to 40 years ago and the foreseeable future.
But who could have envisioned a world where air conditioning, electric clothes dryers, electric water heating, electric clothes washing, electric garbage disposal, electric trash compacting, electric heating, multiple TV sets and the ever-increasing number of gadgets powered by electricity would be the norm?
The remedy for an outdated wiring system is really not complicated. It usually means an increase in size of the service entrance and replacement of the fuse box with a larger panel equipped with circuit breakers. Many appliances, like the refrigerator, freezer, microwave and anything that has a motor, should be on a circuit all by themselves. Kitchens should have at least two separate circuits so that small appliances can be operated at the same time without overloading the circuit.
The actual work however is complicated and should be performed by professional electricians. You are responsible for the wiring on your side of the meter. But the energy experts at your local electric cooperative can often help you get started on making your home a safer place to live.