Most of the fires in apartment homes come from electrical situations, so landlords need to be aware of the electrical dangers that may be lurking in your properties. We are talking to Mark from Current Electric, who is one of the licensed electrical contractors we use at Belmont Brokerage & Management. He’s going to talk about the most common electrical dangers and give us some ideas about which potential problems to look for.
Outlets and Circuits
We always check for ground fault circuits in the bathrooms and kitchens. This is necessary according to property codes, and the circuits can also be shock hazards. We look at the age of the outlets and switches as well. Many owners think that as long as things are working over the years, there isn’t a problem. However, there’s a 12 to 15-year life expectancy on switches and outlets. An outlet in an isolated area that isn’t used often doesn’t have to be changed every 12 years, but outlets that are used a lot need to be changed.
Maintenance staff will often change outlets but they don’t always put the correct kind in. We make sure the right outlets are there. If there is grounding, we install ground outlets and if there isn’t grounding we install two wire outlets. In the process of changing, we also clean up wiring connections. The codes have changed, requiring us to pigtail the wire connections, which means we need to add an additional wire. This ensures that if there’s an outage, only one outlet will go out instead of a whole series of outlets.
The codes have also changed to require arc-faulting. Pigtailing the wires can correct a lot of problems, but with new construction, there has to be arc-faulting to prevent fires at the outlets. We put in an arc-fault breaker and arc-fault outlets.
These are some of the things that have saved lives and properties. If you need more information on electrical hazards and how to avoid them in your rental home, please contact us at Belmont Brokerage & Management.