Contribution from Home Advisor.
You may not be an electrician, but you should know whether or not your home’s electrical system is up to code. Electric codes are put in place to protect you and your home from an electrical fire — and failure to ensure that your system meets these codes could put you at risk of serious harm and property damage. Don’t know what to look for?
Below is a quick list of the safety measures each room in your house should contain. It’s also a good idea to research and calculate your electrical costs before hiring an electrician.
There should be a separate circuit for every motor-powered appliance in your kitchen. This includes the:
● Garbage disposal
The electric code dictates that you should have a minimum of two receptacle circuits above your countertop for plug-in items like portable appliances. Your cooktops, electric ranges and ovens should be wired to a dedicated 240-volt circuit. If your kitchen doesn’t have any of these features, you need to have it rewired. This will avoid power outage in cases when too many appliances are plugged in at one time, and it will be much safer as well. If you need to install additional circuits for your appliances, you can hire an electrician who might charge between $370 and $550 for their services, depending on the extent of the work and your location.
A 20-amp circuit is required just for your fan, heater and light — and another 20-amp circuit is required for your electrical outlet. Your outlets should also have ground fault current interrupters (GFCIs). Depending on how many bathrooms you have and how many people live in your home, there could be a hairdryer, electric razor, curling iron, heater, fan and lights drawing electricity at the same time. If this is the case, your bathroom uses an abundance of power, and it might need more than a single circuit.
Additionally, make sure that all of your light fixtures are covered with globes or lenses and that they’re moisture resistant if they are placed near your tub or shower area.
For safety’s sake, all of the stairs in your home should be well lit. Ensure there are three-way switches at the bottom and top of the stairs. There’s a possibility you might have to invest in more lighting fixture installations if you have any turning stairs.
Bedroom, Living and Dining Rooms
These rooms require a switch on the wall next to the entry door, which can either be a wall light, a ceiling light or an outlet that connects to a lamp. Any fixtures on the ceiling must be controlled with a wall switch instead of a pull chain. All wall receptacles must be positioned no more than 12 feet apart. Usually, dining rooms need a separate 20-amp circuit for a single outlet, which may be used for appliances.
There should be enough light in your hallways that shadows do not form when you’re walking down them. This is important because hallways are escape routes during bad weather conditions and emergencies, and everyone in your home needs to be able to easily see where they’re going if they’re in a hurry. If your hall is more than ten feet long, it should include a general purpose outlet and three-way switches at both ends. If you have several points of entry throughout your hallway, consider adding four-way switches to the exterior circuit near doors.
Lighting in your garage should be controlled by at least a single switch — preferably a three-way switch for your convenience. Electric code requires that garages have a separate GFCI circuit for at least one outlet. If exterior outlets are linked, they must be linked to either a GFCI breaker or a GFCI outlet.
If you’re ever in doubt about whether your home’s electrical system is up to code, it’s best to consult an electrician and have it inspected. Making adjustments and additions may be a pain, but they are required for a reason — to help keep you, your home and your family safe.