Common Electrical Code Violations


We rely on electricity more than we probably realize. And we expect our homes to be reliable when it comes to the energy we need to power our lives. At the same time, most people don’t have much knowledge when it comes to how the electricity works in their homes.

Over the years, we have seen many cases of electrical code violations. Whether it is a former DIY project gone awry or simply the age of the system, it is a good idea to hire an electrician to properly assess the condition of a home’s electrical wiring.

The risks of faulty wiring range from an increased chance of receiving an electrical shock, to circuits shorting, to an electrical fire, which could have devastating effects. Here are some of the most common electrical code violations that an electrician might find upon inspection and what can be done about them.

Illegal splices

A splice connects two or more wires, and it is illegal and dangerous if it occurs outside of a junction box.

If the splice is needed, an electrician can install a junction box through which the wires run. The electrician will install a cover plate over the box for safety.

Overcrowded wiring

If you are doing some wiring repairs yourself or have inherited someone else’s, you might come across a situation with overcrowded wiring. Typical wiring holes are 7/8” and no more than three wires should run through them.

Allowing some space for the wires will give the wires room to stay in good condition. When they are crowded together, they can rub against each other, and over time the friction causes the wires to “burn”. This problem damages the wires insulation and leaves them exposed. It can eventually lead to the wires catching fire behind the walls, which, of course, is a very dangerous situation.

To solve this problem, ensure that the wires have room through the 7/8” holes. If there are burned wires, hire an electrician to cut away the damaged parts. Then he can install a junction box and replace the wire between the damaged are and the fixture or outlet.

New lights with old wiring

Lighting fixtures have changed over the years, especially how much energy is required to power them and how hot the wires that service them get. A problem occurs when these new types of lights are installed into old wiring systems because the wires were not meant to withstand as much heat as new lighting systems require.

If your wiring system was installed before 1987, chances are the wires are meant to withstand temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius. Light fixtures today often run at 90 degrees C, which can create a dangerous system as the wiring will get too hot.

To solve the problem, you or an electrician can install a splice box and at least three feet of new wiring connecting the new light fixture to old wiring. This way you won’t have to rewire the entire circuit, but you will remove the danger of overheating the wires.

Knob and tube wiring

When electricity was first discovered and homes were initially equipped with it, the technology used was called knob and tube wiring. This was back in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Since then, technology has evolved and knob and tube wiring is outdated and dangerous. It is dangerous for several reasons: the wires aren’t grounded, the circuits support lower amperage than is needed today, and the wires’ insulation disintegrates. In fact, most insurance companies won’t insure houses that use knob and tube wiring.

There is really only one way to fix this problem, and that is to hire an electrician to replace the electrical wiring throughout the home. If you are thinking about or have bought a home that was built before 1950, make sure you have a clear understanding of the house’s wiring system.

Being a home owner comes with many responsibilities, and being proactive about problems will save you time, money and stress. When it comes to electrical wiring, the potential risks for faulty wiring are not worth stalling on. It’s a good idea to have a clear understanding of the wiring’s condition and to fix any problems that might exist.

If you are looking for experienced electrician professionals in the Surrey or Lower Mainland area, BPM Electric can help with any wiring needs.

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