6 Worst Wiring Mistakes

Wiring the electrical system through your home or business is one of the most intricate jobs of the construction process. It is extremely important that it be done correctly. If not, wiring mistakes can create an electrocution or fire hazard.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) reports that home electrical fires account for:

  • An estimated 51,000 fires each year
  • Nearly 500 deaths and more than 1,400 injuries a year
  • $1.3 billion in property damage

In addition, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that electrical receptacles are involved in 5,300 fires each year.

As a construction specialist, Först Consulting Group is often called upon to perform an inspection of a potential construction problem. And in doing so, we generally find other problems—often in the electrical system. 

The 6 Worst Wiring Mistakes

Homemade Wires and Plugs

Plugs and cords on appliances are made specifically for their application and should not be altered with. That means not plugging them into an extension cord or using plug adapters on wall outlets. If necessary, wall outlets need to be upgraded to grounding receptacles that allow a grounding wire to be connected from the electrical circuit to the appliance. This is a safety measure that can prevent short circuiting or other damage to the electrical circuit or the appliance. Homemade wires and plug are an electrical code violation as well as a wiring mistake. See an image in our Gallery.

Unsecured Junctioned Wires

When wires are spliced together, they must be contained (housed) within a covered junction box, and that box must be secured, properly sized, and easily accessible. Wires and cables must be secured with a clamp to prevent them from straining or incurring damage. The main use of an electrical box is to protect the wires against accidental damage, and to prevent electrical fires by containing any sparks from a loose connection or short circuit. The junction box should not be placed behind a combustible wall material and should be easily accessible. See an image in our Gallery.

Unprotected Cable

If wiring is installed behind kitchen cabinetry, for example, it must be protected against damage by a conduit or shielded wire. Otherwise, the closing of drawers can impact the wire and cause it to sever or short circuit.

Running Power Cables Through Walls

If a TV set is to be flush-mounted to the wall, the power cable should not be run through the wall behind it. Instead, a recessed power outlet should be installed.

Improper Use of Extension Cords

Extension cords should not be used for three-pronged plugs unless they are made for that purpose. One of the worst wiring mistakes is overloading an extension cord with too many appliances or using one that draws too much power. Extension cords should only be used for short-term applications, and their entire length should be checked for damage before use.

Outdated Electrical Receptacles

Modern electrical outlets contain a GFI or GFCI, a ground fault circuit interrupter. This protects us from receiving electrical shocks by devices we plug into them by use of a grounding wire. If there is a difference in electrical current, the outlet quickly shuts off power to the device. GFI outlets are required in areas subject to moisture, such as those around kitchens and bathrooms, garages, laundry areas, pools and outdoor receptacles.

Need an Electrical Inspection? Contact Först Consulting Group

If you suspect that your electrical system is out of date, or that you notice one of these six wiring mistakes, you should contact Först Consulting Group. We can provide a complete inspection of the problem and provide you with remedies and associated costs to fix the problem. This will give you the information you need to contact a qualified electrician.

Don’t wait until you receive an electrical shock, or worse, a fire due to a wiring mistake. And don’t believe that new construction is done correctly. Many wiring mistakes are made there as well. For an expert opinion, professional inspection or code violation verification, contact Först Consulting Group.


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