Signs of aging household wiring

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To help prevent injury and illness there are steps we take to care for ourselves—especially as we get older. Our homes also have to be maintained to stay in good shape, and an important part of that maintenance includes a home’s electrical system.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2011, an estimated 47,700 home fires occurred as a result of electrical failure or malfunction, costing $1.4 billion in direct property damage.
The National Association of State Fire Marshals reports that older homes are more than three times more likely to have an electrical fire than newer homes.

Signs of electrical wiring problems;
dim or flickering lights, a burning smell, smoke, shocks, discoloration at electrical outlet or switch, frayed wires, breakers that trip or blow, and signs of potential rodent damage that may affect insulation. If you suspect a problem, cut power to the outlet or switch at the circuit breaker and contact an electrician to make repairs.

Did you know?

Older homes were not designed for today’s electronics and appliances.
If you have an older home, you may find that you need your electrical service inspected. The National Electric Code’s minimum standard for residential electric service is 100 amps.

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Ready Your Home for Winter

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Using energy more efficiently — especially heating — during cold months can cut the amount of money you spend on your utility bill.
Energy.gov reports that heating and cooling accounts for about 48 % of a typical U.S. home’s energy use, making it the largest energy expense for most homes.

Replacing a dirty filter will increase the air flow and make your home more energy efficient (with the added benefit of cleaner air in your home).

Turning the thermostat down a few degrees when you are away from home or sleeping also helps to reduce your monthly utility bill. For an even more hassle-free option, you can install a programmable thermostat that will automatically turn the heat down when you need it to and can begin heating your home before you wake up.

Other money saving steps include: opening your curtains to naturally heat your home, setting your ceiling fan to spin clockwise to blow hot air down, and adding insulation to your walls.

If it is time to replace your old furnace, look for energy-efficient models. Furnaces with an Energy Star rating usually exceed federal standards for energy efficiency, and can make choosing the right model that much easier.

Check your home for air leaks. Depending on the location of the leak, there are a variety of actions you can take to plug the leak.

Are you ready to take the next step in improving your home’s energy efficiency? Contact a local home energy auditor. A home energy audit pinpoints exactly where your home is losing energy and what you can do to stop it, saving you anywhere from 5 to 30 percent on your energy bill.

Watch this video from Energy.gov on how a home energy audit works.

The BLP recommends the following steps:

• Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
• Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows and baseboards.
• Replace door bottoms and thresholds with pliable sealing gaskets.
• Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.

Source: EnergyEdCouncil.org

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