Home Electrical Maintenance

There are various things around your home that you service on an annual or semi-annual basis.  Items such as your HVAC system, oil furnace, chimneys and countless other systems that are crucial to your home’s daily operation.  But do you as a homeowner check, maintain and update your electrical system?  What?  I, as in the author of this page and as a homeowner, have never thought to check my electrical box or perform regular home electrical maintenance.  Reviewing the following procedures can prevent fires and electrical failure and should be included in the list of home items mentioned previously and maintained on a regular basis.  An electrical system that is not on an EPM (electrical preventative maintenance) program is three time more likely to be susceptible to a fire or major failure.  These steps are applicable for a personal or commercial dwelling.  There are four parts to a simple EPM program:

Clean: Have you checked inside your electrical box lately?  The panel should be clean and free of dust or dirt that has accumulated in the panel.  This includes the top of the panel where the main wires feed the electrical panel.  Also, check to ensure there are no combustible materials within 36 inches of the panel.

Cool: Is there a free flow of air around your electrical panel?  Stacking boxes or bins close to your electrical panel can cause the panel to overheat.  A free flow of air around your electrical panel allows for efficient air circulation and cooling.  For commercial spaces, all ventilation vents and air intake openings should be kept clean and clear. 

Dry: Your electrical panel should be in a dry area.  If your basement tends to be damp a dehumidifier can be used to dry the area.  A damp basement or direct moisture can cause the electrical connections with the panel to corrode or even arc possibly causing a fire.  Your electrical panel should also be inspected for signs of corrosion or exposure to moisture. 

Tight Connections: The final part of a basic EPM program designed for home electrical maintenance is ensuring that all the connections with the electrical panel are secure.  PLEASE NOTE: Consult an electrician if you are not a trained electrician.  Loose connections within an electrical box can cause the connection to become hot.  If a connection should slightly separate and electrical arc that is produced is hot enough to melt most metal.  This arc can cause a life-altering fire. 

Implementing and performing a home electrical maintenance; EPM program may not have been thought of in the past.  Etler-Kettenacker Agency wanted their clients and friends to be aware of the importance of maintaining your electrical system just as you would your HVAC or systems that play a key role in the operation of your home.  This also applies to commercial building owners as well.  The same EPM program outlined above can be applied to your business electrical system.  If you rent your business space, ensure that the owners perform an EPM to prevent a possible loss due to a fire or power loss.