Even with the technological advances we all enjoy, an electrical fire can happen anywhere there is a loose connection. This dangerous situation can occur not only in commercial properties but also in your home. It can even happen in equipment and wiring you, or an electrical technician, have never modified. When many of the devices we use daily are assembled in factories worldwide, wires are connected and then tucked neatly away out of sight. Any time there is a loose connection in wiring, there is the potential for a fire that could cause devastating consequences to your business, institution, or worst of all, your home and family.
Loose electrical connections are not as uncommon as you might think. The variety of reasons that a connection might work its way apart include overheating connections at switches and plugs that we all use in most every room in our daily life. Look around where you are seated now – how many switches and plugs can you see? How long have they been there? The wiring may work its way loose due to the heating of the wire when turned on, followed by the cooling of the wire when the device is turned off. This can happen in any piece of electrical equipment (lamps, appliances, etc.) you introduce into your space. Proper installation and maintenance can eliminate this danger and protect your space and safety.
If your home or business was wired before the mid-90s, there is a substantial chance that you have switches and receptacles that need to be evaluated for safety. The most commonly used devices during the 1960s-80s (and even into the 90s due to existing stock on hand) are so-called 'stab back' receptacles and switches. These were wired by removing the insulation from the end of a common wire size and 'stabbing' the exposed wire into an opening in the back of the device. There it would make a solid connection. Time has shown that the tightness of this connection type diminishes with use and causes an elevated risk of igniting the wire insulation and melting copper or aluminum wiring in the system. Damage can range from the expensive loss of equipment to the irreplaceable loss of life.
Typically, loose connections within wiring produce a detectable odor of burning plastic (the insulation of the wire burning away), or in other cases, lights may even begin to flicker unsteadily as the connection is unable to be maintained by wires that are no longer securely attached to their original points of contact. If the power to the area is interrupted by a tripped breaker, do not attempt to reset that breaker if it trips either immediately upon reset or shortly thereafter. Repeatedly resetting a breaker that is protecting your system by interrupting the power to an area is likely not only to diminish the ability of the breaker to continue to function properly, but also shortcircuit internally and cause a catastrophic failure of the system in the form of an explosion. That is not a good thing to happen.
If you have concerns about the safety of the wiring in your residential, commercial, or industrial properties – or if you have already begun to notice the symptoms of loose connections in your wiring - contact Hometown Full Service Electric today. Let us schedule a qualified Journeyman Electrician, fully licensed by the State of Oklahoma and with years of experience, to come out and eliminate or prevent any problems immediately.