- Be familiar with the three basic components that make up any electrical system: power supply, circuit wiring and protection, and the load. The power supply is the electricity that runs through the system. The circuit wiring is the wiring that connects all the components of the system. Circuit breakers or fuses work to protect the system. The load is anything that uses electricity.
- Never put a higher- watt bulb in your lighting fixtures than is recommended by the manufacturer, This can burn up the fixture' s wiring, leading to a fire hazard.
- Never cover up extension cords with furniture, floor coverings or window treatments. They can overheat and start a fire. Also avoid overloading extension cords, and do not use them on continual basis.
- Flickering lights, outlets that work sporadically, circuit breakers that frequently trip, loose wall outlets and bulbs that blow out frequently are indications of minor electrical problems. If one or more of these events occur, Call a professional electrician to check out the situation.
- Be alert for the smell of burning rubber or plastic, the feel of heat coming from electrical components, or the sound of sizzling or humming coming from electrical components. These are indications that something is amiss with your electrical system.
- Know the location of the control panel and the main shut- off to the electrical system. Labeling in the control panel should identify each circuit breaker' s circuit. The main shut- off may be located outside at the meter. If something is amiss with the system, everything can be shut down here. Panels need to be accessible.
- When the time comes to hire a professional electrician, there are several avenues for finding a reputable contractor. The Georgia Secretary of State' s office can provide a list of licensed electrical contractors or inspectors for your area. Also, check with your local Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau. Another good source is the Independent Electrical Contractors Association.
- When hiring a professional electrician, ask for references and call to check them. Also, make sure the company has workers' compensation insurance,
This will protect you in the event that an electrician is injured on your property.
Tips compiled using information from Georgia Power Company, Highland Electric Inc., Meer Electric and Pat Murphy Electric, Inc. .