Too often, people think that adding a light to a house is as simple as plugging it in, or wiring it in, and there you go. Well, for one little light, it is often true, but not when you are looking to add a slew of them. When planning to add some major fixtures, there are some steps to take before throwing that final switch.
Check Your Service
First off, look over your fuse box; you need to see how many amps (what the amperage) your electrical service has. Then, check on how much of that service you are already using. More often than not, you’ll need the help of a professional electrician to make this determination. If you are close to the maximum level of your service, you may need to get your fuse box upgraded to add more power.
Check Your Wiring
The next thing to consider is how good the wiring is in your house. If you have an older home, you may have some very old wires – they may not even be grounded. If the wires are not rated to handle the load of your new fixtures and equipment, this could lead to an electrical short or even a fire. Also, if you’re going to be boosting the total amperage of your home, you’ll need to make sure that all of the wiring – not just the ones handling the new fixtures – can handle the load. You can call in a home inspector or electrician to check the wires throughout your house. This is important; if you have to completely re-wire your home, the cost can be huge.
The Proper Outlets
And then there are even the electrical outlets. Many people don’t think of them as being important, but when using modern lighting fixtures, the outlets are important. First, they need to be properly grounded, which can be an issue in older homes. Next, many outlets are now able to also be a surge suppressor. This is important when you consider how expensive many modern lighting fixtures are. If you live in an area prone to lightning, you can easily lose fixtures during a severe thunderstorm. So, investing a little extra money upfront can insure that your fixtures last a lifetime.
Shutting Off the Right Circuit
Finally, when doing the actual installation of the lighting fixtures, you want to maximize your safety. To that end, find out which circuit in your fuse box controls the area of the house that you want to work in, and turn it off! This might sound obvious, but many people – particularly professional electricians – choose not to do so. This is very dangerous, and you should definitely avoid it. Once the power is off, you can safely add the wiring and outlets, and then switch the power back on. One factor to consider on this issue is kitchen lighting. If you flip off the circuit that powers your fridge, you need to insure the work is completed quickly to prevent food from spoiling and your freezer from melting.
By following these simple steps, you can add more fixtures to your home safely, efficiently, and economically.
JERMAR Electric Service, Inc.
Certified Electrical Contractor
Residential & Commercial – Licensed & Insured
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