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Category ArchiveElectrical updates

Types of LED Lighting

Types of LED Lighting

Types of LED Lighting – LED lighting is an energy-saving alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs. LED light bulbs can be used as replacement bulbs in most common light fixtures, including accent lighting, lamps, track lighting and even outdoor flood lights. Some types of LED lights are self-contained fixtures with no bulbs to replace.

Plano Texas Handyman is your local expert on LED lights and making your home more energy efficient and improve the atmosphere. Call us today at 214-507-3415 and visit our website for all our capabilities. Types of LED Lighting

This guide outlines the features and benefits of various types of LED lights. Ready to find the supplies you need in your local Home Depot store? Use The Home Depot app to locate products and check inventory. It will take you to the exact aisle and bay.

What is LED lighting

“LED” stands for light-emitting diode, the technology behind LED lighting. 

Incandescent bulbs have a thin metal filament that heats up as electricity passes through it. When heated enough, the filament glows to produce light. Types of LED Lighting

An LED light works by having an electrical current pass through a semiconducting material – the diode. The tiny diodes within an LED bulb cast light when electricity is applied. This technology doesn’t rely on heat to produce light and has greater energy-efficiency than incandescent bulbs.

To light up a room, an incandescent lamp might use 60 watts of electricity while an LED bulb will produce the same amount of light using about 10 Watts.

Topping the list of LED light advantages is efficiency but low maintenance is another selling point. LEDs have an exceptionally long lifespan of more than 10 years because there is no filament to burn out. As manufacturers work to refine the production process, the upfront costs of LED lighting have come down and that contributes to long-term savings. Types of LED Lighting

Another benefit: LEDs emit almost no heat or UV rays, which can help reduce air conditioning costs and help keep fabrics and furnishings from fading.

LED lighting comes in many shapes, sizes, colors and temperatures for use throughout the home.

General Purpose Bulbs

The profile of four types of LED lights.

Standard LED Light Bulbs 

These bulbs disperse light at a wide angle throughout a room and are ideal for reading lamps, hallways and other common fixtures like semi-flush and flush-mount fixtures.

Can Lights

Also known as recessed lights, can light LED bulbs fit into sockets – or cans – mounted through the ceiling for downlights.

Flood Light Bulbs 

Flood LED bulbs are designed to emit a strong but wide beam of light to illuminate a broad area and are mainly used in exterior applications.

Globe Light Bulbs 

LED globe bulbs emit light in every direction, making globe light bulbs ideal for bathroom vanities and pendant lights.

Accent/Decorative/Specialty Bulbs

Standard Light Bulbs

Candle Light Bulbs 

Candelabra LED bulbs, also known as candle bulbs or chandelier bulbs, emulate the shape of a candle flame and work best in accent lighting, wall sconces and decorative fixtures. Types of LED Lighting

Track Light Bulbs 

Track lights are often used for directional lighting, task lighting for a work area or to highlight something specific such as artwork oand other decorative features. 

Edison Light Bulbs 

Edison LED bulbs, or vintage bulbs, are all about aesthetics and ambience. These are best suited for decorative fixtures and should be paired with accents that match a design theme.

Tube Light Bulbs 

LED tube lights, also known as linear light bulbs, have a functional style designed for more professional applications like office buildings, kitchens and work spaces.

Other Types and Features

The inside of a home with recessed lights.

LED lights are not limited to replacement bulbs. Some fixtures, including certain models of ceiling fans and recessed downlights have integrated LED lighting.

LED technology is also found in some flexible light strips or tape that can be used as under-cabinet lights for additional task lighting in the kitchen or to provide ambiance or decorative accents in other living spaces.

Holiday lighting can be replaced with LED Christmas string lights that will reduce energy consumption and also pose less of a fire hazard because LED lights emit only small amounts of heat. Types of LED Lighting

Some types of LED lighting are dimmable. Be sure to check packaging to determine if the bulb is compatible.

Look for ENERGY STAR-certified LED bulbs, which have been tested for color quality, light output and efficiency.

Smart LED bulbs connect to a Wi-Fi network to allow remote control of the lights. Features such as dimming and color-temperature tuning are available and some models don’t require a smart-home hub for operation.

A chart showing differences in color temperature.

The term “color temperature” is often used as a way to describe how warm or cool the light appears and broadly fall into three categories.

  • Soft white LED bulbs provide a warm, comfortable light that is good for cozy spaces like bedrooms and living rooms.
  • Bright white LED bulbs have a cool and refreshing light that is best used in kitchens, bathrooms or garages
  • Daylight LED bulbs emit light to mimic energizing daylight. It’s good for reading or intricate projects and can be used in bathrooms, kitchens or basements. Types of LED Lighting

LED Brightness

A chart comparing watts and lumens.

The brightness of all types of LED lights is measured in lumens. The more lumens, the brighter the bulb.

Traditional incandescent bulb brightness is measures in watts. Because LEDs use far less energy than incandescents, a better way to gauge the brightness of LED bulbs is to compare lumens. 

For example, a traditional 60-watt light bulb will emit around 700 lumens. An LED bulb with comparable brightness level uses less than 10 Watts of electricity.

Lumens = the amount of light the bulb gives off 

Wattage = the amount of energy a bulb uses

To choose the most energy-efficient light bulb and not sacrifice brightness, check the lumens per watt ratio on the bulb’s packaging. The greater the lumens-to-watts ratio a bulb has, the more energy-efficient it is. Types of LED Lighting

Need help identifying a tool or material? Find products fast with image search in The Home Depot app. Snap a picture of an item you like and we’ll show you similar products.

Plano Texas Handyman is your local expert on LED lights and making your home more energy efficient and improve the atmosphere. Call us today at 214-507-3415 and visit our website for all our capabilities. Types of LED Lighting

Old Cable Wire Removal

Get Rid of Old Cable and Phone Wires

Get Rid of Old Cable and Phone Wires – So, you cut the cord more than a decade ago with your current cable company, but still have kudzu-like cables running from the telephone pole to our house and then all over the side of our house. And, you have cut the cord with two others over the years and still have those unsightly cables running over the outside of your house. Get Rid of Old Cable and Phone Wires

How do we safely remove these without getting electrocuted? And who would do the work, because the cable company is unlikely to be interested in undoing something that not only makes them no money, but also makes it harder for them to make money down the road? Most of the lines coming from the street and snaking down the side of our house are cable lines we have never used, left over from the previous owner. Get rid of them!! Call Plano Texas Handyman at 214-507-3415 to ascertain what boxes and equipment are no longer used and get rid of them. Visit our website for all our capabilities

First of all, cable and phone wires don’t carry current, so it’s safe to remove them. However, it’s critical not to cut into a power line, as you know. Bit the key is to determine which lines carry data and which ones don’t, Plano Texas Handyman can determine this and remove them for you. Get Rid of Old Cable and Phone Wires

The first step is to be sure you know the difference. “If wires are coming in off a pole, the very top wires are high voltage wires. “Under that are the cable and phone lines on the lower level.” The wires connect to your house at a vertical pipe, called a weather head, and the lines dip close to that so any rainwater can drip off before the line carries power down to the meter box.

Unsightly cables and an unused box. (Reader photo)
Unsightly cables and an unused box. (Reader photo)

If power gets to a home from a buried line, it comes up to the meter via conduit.

Licensed electricians, who work with power lines and various kinds of cable every day, can tell at a glance what is safe to touch and what needs to be switched off before they start working. Get Rid of Old Cable and Phone Wires

The picture to the left shows two boxes and more wire tangles. One box was for phone service, the other for cable. If you’re not using either, we simply isolate the current working devices and remove the devices and wires that are not currently sending data into your home.

However, if you want to really clean up the mess above that, the power-carrying wire and the abandoned cable and phone lines are pretty close together, and you’d need to be working on a ladder. Having Plano Texas Handyman clean that up is the safest step, and for the cost of calling in someone for that, you could probably get the whole job done and have complete peace of mind that you aren’t making any mistakes.

Removing these wires will cost about $95 an hour. We give free estimates, but because you have already supplied pictures, we have all the information we need. We estimated that it would take an hour or two to go up on the roof and take down the abandoned cable and phone lines. He’d cut them and strap them back as far as possible. We would also remove the phone and cable boxes and all the wiring once connected to those services. Get Rid of Old Cable and Phone Wires

How about those unsightly cable TV dishes mounted on your home from a previous homeowner. We remove them as well and place plastic roof cement in the penetrations to prevent any water damage to the home.

Another option, he suggested, would be to call your cable provider and ask them to remove their old equipment. Its not going to happen, they are not in the business of removing the old devices, they are in the business of selling new systems, quite frankl;y, they could care less how many boxes, cable runs and satellite dishes you have mounted on your home. Get Rid of Old Cable and Phone Wires

If you’re doing any work that might involve a power line past the point where you feel responsibility ceases, you should have Plano exas Handyman do the work. Call Plano Texas Handyman at 214-507-3415 to ascertain what boxes and equipment are no longer used and get rid of them. Visit our website for all our capabilities.

Home Electric Codes

Electrical Don’ts for Your Home

Electrical Don’ts for Your Home

Electrical Don’ts for Your Home – It’s important to have an inspection of your home?s electrical system by Plano Texas Handyman.  Call Plano Texas Handyman today at 214-507-3415 for more information or visit our website to get a full perspective on our capabilities.  Electrical Don’ts for Your Home

The following is a list of common items that could cause an electrical issue in your home:

1. Loose Outlet or Switch

Sometimes new homes are built so quickly that adequate care is not taken to secure the outlets properly. Besides being an eyesore, they can be dangerous. Wires can move around and come loose from the terminals, causing them to overheat and potentially catch fire. You can buy plastic spacers to tighten the connection or place small washers around the screws.

2. Cutting Electrical Wires Too Short

Wires that are too short provide a poor electrical connection. More importantly, they can be dangerous. Wires should stick out at least three inches from the electrical box. If you have wires that are too short, you can buy wire connectors that will extend the wires. These are available at home improvement and hardware stores.  Electrical Don’ts for Your Home

3. Exposed Combustible Material from Recessed Electrical Boxes

If an electrical box is behind combustible material like wood paneling, sparks or heat from the wires can cause a fire. You can fix the problem by adding a plastic or metal box extension. This is another problem that many people may not notice themselves, but an experienced residential electrical service provider can find and easy fix.

4. Installing a Three-Slot Receptacle Without a Ground Wire

Many people choose to replace a two-slot outlet with a three-slot one so that they can use three-pronged plug in them. That seems simple enough. However, the outlet has to be grounded in order to do that. To find out if your outlet is grounded before installing a three-slot one, you can purchase a tester. If you find an ungrounded three-slot outlet in your home, just replace it with a two-slot one.  Electrical Don’ts for Your Home

5. Too Many Wires in an Electrical Box

This can cause wires to short-circuit and can be a fire hazard. You can purchase a larger box. These come in plastic and steel. It requires some calculations involving the number of wires and clamps and knowing what gauge wire you have.

If you choose to do this yourself, consult with someone at the store before going to purchase the box to make sure that you?re buying the right size. You may be able to take a clear photo of the wires and clamps to bring to the store with you.

6. No Electrical Box

Wires should never be connected outside of a box. If there is a short circuit or loose connection, there is nothing to protect the surrounding area from damage from sparks and heat. This creates a fire danger. If you have something like a porch light or other electrical connection without a box, you can install one and reconnect the wires within it. As noted above, make sure that you purchase the correct size box for the wiring.  Electrical Don’ts for Your Home

7. Backward-Wired GFCI

Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are commonly found in bathrooms and kitchens near sinks and in areas like garages and patios. They protect people from getting shocked by shutting off in there?s a change in the current. GFCIs have two sets of terminals labeled ?line? and ?load.? If these are backwards, they cannot perform their intended function and the results can be deadly. If you discover that the connections are backwards, connect the power to the ?line? terminals.

This is a crucial thing to fix, so if you have any concerns about doing it yourself, contact us to have one of our Knoxville or Atlanta electrical contractors do it. It is also something we can check on a regular inspection.

8. Reversed Hot and Neutral Wires

If a hot, black wire is connected to an outlet?s neutral terminal, the result can be a deadly electrical shock. The white wire should always be connected to the neutral terminal. That terminal is marked, usually with a silver or light-colored screw. Because the mistake doesn?t affect the functioning of the outlet or fixture, most people don?t realize they have this situation until someone is shocked.  Electrical Don’ts for Your Home

If you find this situation, connect the white wire to the neutral terminal (marked by a silver or light-colored screw) and the hot wire to the other terminal. If there is a bare copper wire or green wire, that?s the ground. It needs to be connected to a grounded box, ground wire or the green grounding screw.

9. Missing Cable Clamp

Cable must be secured with a clamp. If it?s not, the connections can become strained. This can be fixed by installing a clamp. If the cables are in a metal box, the sharp edges can cut the wires. Metal boxes must have an approved cable clamp. Plastic boxes have different requirements based on their size.

10. Unprotected Plastic-Sheathed Cable

If this type of cable is left exposed to framing members, it can be easily damaged. This is especially true if it?s around ceiling or wall framing. This can be fixed by either screwing or nailing a 2 x 2 piece of board that?s 1 ? inches thick along the cable. It?s not necessary to staple the cable to the board.  Electrical Don’ts for Your Home

Whether you’ve just moved into a new home or have been in your home for awhile, it’s advisable to have your electrical outlets inspected by an experienced residential electrical service provider like Plano Texas Handyman. Our experience can spot problems and fix them before they become potentially disastrous. Call Plano Texas Handyman today at 214-507-3415 for more information or visit our website to get a full perspective on our capabilities.  Electrical Don’ts for Your Home

Home Electric Codes

Electrical Safety for your Home

Electrical Safety for your Home – Learn how to identify the electrical safety hazards you can’t see before problems arise.  Please Visit Plano Texas Handyman website to view and read about all of our capabilities.

Electrical Safety Tips Homeowners Should Know.  I often wonder what they would have thought of microwaves, entertainment centers, dishwashers and the armies of other gadgets we take for granted on a daily basis. But your home’s electrical system may have a few things going on that might shock you too. Enlighten yourself with these tips that can help you be a more aware homeowner and may alert you to dangerous electrical problems that need to be fixed by calling Ted at Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415

1. Throw your home a birthday party
For electrical safety reasons, it’s good to know how old your home is and to celebrate its birthday with an electrical safety inspection. Older homes weren’t built to handle the electrical load our contemporary lives carry. Knowing whether your home’s electrical system has been updated to safely handle all the electrical current your family uses is imperative.  Replacing an old circuit breaker box merits the expense — for a number of reasons.  Electrical Safety for your Home

2. Know your electric panel
Even as recently as the 1990s, faulty electrical panels were being installed in many new homes. Certain brands, including Federal Pacific, ITE, Pushmatic, Zinsco, and GTE/Sylvania, are no longer manufactured and pose electrical hazards that could lead to a fire. Your electric panel should never feel hot to the touch.  A hot electric panel points to a big problems.  Electrical Safety for your Home
Your circuit breaker panel ensures your home’s electrical safety, but is the panel itself safe?
If your home was built between 1950 and 1990 and is equipped with a Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) circuit breaker panel with Stab-Lok circuit breakers, you run a significant risk of breaker malfunction and fire.

The breakers inside the panel are designed to guard your home against serious electrical problems by preventing circuit overload, short circuits and outside power surges coming into the panel. When an overload occurs, a breaker protects you by tripping, thus shutting down the power to the circuit. However, if a breaker is defective or not operating properly, the risk of fire to the panel and consequently to your home becomes imminent.

Why are Federal Pacific breaker boxes dangerous?
Multiple tests done on the breakers since the 1980s have proven that one in four Stab-Lok breakers are defective and will not properly trip off. Unfortunately, when the testing began in the early 1980s, a New Jersey court later ruled that FPE committed testing fraud and a cover-up, labeling the breakers as meeting the standards set by the UL when in reality, they were defective. Electrical Safety for your Home, Ted at Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415

In 1983, the Consumer Product Safety Commission closed its two-year investigation and felt it impossible to create a product recall at the time because of budget issues, even as Federal Pacific panels and breakers continued to be installed in millions of homes that to this day still run the risk of an electrical fire. An estimated 2,800 fires each year directly result from Federal Pacific panel breaker malfunction. Federal Pacific Electric has been out of business for many years, but the danger and damage caused by their negligence continues.  Electrical Safety for your Home

3. Understand the breakers
These guys are your friends, even though you may find their interference irritating when they trip. They’re trying to tell you something, and it’s usually that you have too many appliances or gadgets connected to the same circuit. Reconfigure your appliances, and if the breakers keep tripping, get help from an electrician.  Electrical Safety for your Home

4. Make friends with your fire extinguisher
The only safe way to extinguish an electrical fire is with a fire-retardant chemical fire extinguisher. Never use water; it conducts electricity. Keep fire extinguishers on each level of your home, and know how to use them and when to replace them.  Electrical Safety Tips  Ted at Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415

5. Feel your outlets
Place your hand on the outlets in your home. Warm or hot outlets point to trouble.  Electrical Safety for your Home

A warm outlet could mean one of several dangerous situations is brewing: an electrical load on this circuit is too high, wiring is melting, wiring isn’t up to code or is loose. Also, note if the outlets don’t hold plugs, or if the outlet itself seems loose on the wall.

Replace any two-pronged outlets with newer, grounded three-pronged outlets. Any outlet near water should be switched to code-correct GFCI outlets. Call an electrician to handle these requests.

6. Keep an eye on the lights
Flickering lights could mean you need to repair or replace your electrical panel, or you have too many appliances plugged into one circuit. Don’t ignore this issue. Electrical Safety Tips
What Do Electrical Wire Color Codes Mean?
All home electrical wires made in the U.S. follow standard color codes that identify each wire’s function in a circuit.

7. Ground older appliances
Older appliances could have grounding issues that might put you at risk for a shock. Ensure all of your appliances have three-pronged plugs that can properly connect to a grounded outlet. Any kitchen appliances with just two-pronged plugs should be replaced. If the outlets aren’t grounded, they should be replaced, and a new circuit should be installed.

Electrical work is inherently dangerous. Professional electricians receive years of training and on-the-job experience before the state grants them a license. Use discretion when attempting your own electrical work. To make sure all the electrical systems in your home are safe, up to code and working as they should, hire a trusted electrician to handle the job.  Electrical Safety for your Home.  Ted at Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415

Home Electric Codes

Electrical Safety Tips Homeowners Should Know

Electrical Safety Tips Homeowners Should Know – Learn how to identify the electrical safety hazards you can’t see before problems arise.  Please Visit Plano Texas Handyman website to view and read about all of our capabilities.

Electrical Safety Tips Homeowners Should Know.  I often wonder what they would have thought of microwaves, entertainment centers, dishwashers and the armies of other gadgets we take for granted on a daily basis. But your home’s electrical system may have a few things going on that might shock you too. Enlighten yourself with these tips that can help you be a more aware homeowner and may alert you to dangerous electrical problems that need to be fixed by calling Ted at Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415

1. Throw your home a birthday party
For electrical safety reasons, it’s good to know how old your home is and to celebrate its birthday with an electrical safety inspection. Older homes weren’t built to handle the electrical load our contemporary lives carry. Knowing whether your home’s electrical system has been updated to safely handle all the electrical current your family uses is imperative.  Replacing an old circuit breaker box merits the expense — for a number of reasons.  Electrical Safety Tips

2. Know your electric panel
Even as recently as the 1990s, faulty electrical panels were being installed in many new homes. Certain brands, including Federal Pacific, ITE, Pushmatic, Zinsco, and GTE/Sylvania, are no longer manufactured and pose electrical hazards that could lead to a fire. Your electric panel should never feel hot to the touch.  A hot electric panel points to a big problems. Electrical Safety Tips
Your circuit breaker panel ensures your home’s electrical safety, but is the panel itself safe?
If your home was built between 1950 and 1990 and is equipped with a Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) circuit breaker panel with Stab-Lok circuit breakers, you run a significant risk of breaker malfunction and fire.

The breakers inside the panel are designed to guard your home against serious electrical problems by preventing circuit overload, short circuits and outside power surges coming into the panel. When an overload occurs, a breaker protects you by tripping, thus shutting down the power to the circuit. However, if a breaker is defective or not operating properly, the risk of fire to the panel and consequently to your home becomes imminent.

Why are Federal Pacific breaker boxes dangerous?
Multiple tests done on the breakers since the 1980s have proven that one in four Stab-Lok breakers are defective and will not properly trip off. Unfortunately, when the testing began in the early 1980s, a New Jersey court later ruled that FPE committed testing fraud and a cover-up, labeling the breakers as meeting the standards set by the UL when in reality, they were defective. Electrical Safety Tips  Ted at Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415

In 1983, the Consumer Product Safety Commission closed its two-year investigation and felt it impossible to create a product recall at the time because of budget issues, even as Federal Pacific panels and breakers continued to be installed in millions of homes that to this day still run the risk of an electrical fire. An estimated 2,800 fires each year directly result from Federal Pacific panel breaker malfunction. Federal Pacific Electric has been out of business for many years, but the danger and damage caused by their negligence continues.  Electrical Safety Tips
3. Understand the breakers
These guys are your friends, even though you may find their interference irritating when they trip. They’re trying to tell you something, and it’s usually that you have too many appliances or gadgets connected to the same circuit. Reconfigure your appliances, and if the breakers keep tripping, get help from an electrician.  Electrical Safety Tips

4. Make friends with your fire extinguisher
The only safe way to extinguish an electrical fire is with a fire-retardant chemical fire extinguisher. Never use water; it conducts electricity. Keep fire extinguishers on each level of your home, and know how to use them and when to replace them.  Electrical Safety Tips  Ted at Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415

5. Feel your outlets
Place your hand on the outlets in your home. Warm or hot outlets point to trouble.  Electrical Safety Tips

A warm outlet could mean one of several dangerous situations is brewing: an electrical load on this circuit is too high, wiring is melting, wiring isn’t up to code or is loose. Also, note if the outlets don’t hold plugs, or if the outlet itself seems loose on the wall.

Replace any two-pronged outlets with newer, grounded three-pronged outlets. Any outlet near water should be switched to code-correct GFCI outlets. Call an electrician to handle these requests.
6. Keep an eye on the lights
Flickering lights could mean you need to repair or replace your electrical panel, or you have too many appliances plugged into one circuit. Don’t ignore this issue. Electrical Safety Tips
What Do Electrical Wire Color Codes Mean?
All home electrical wires made in the U.S. follow standard color codes that identify each wire’s function in a circuit.

7. Ground older appliances
Older appliances could have grounding issues that might put you at risk for a shock. Ensure all of your appliances have three-pronged plugs that can properly connect to a grounded outlet. Any kitchen appliances with just two-pronged plugs should be replaced. If the outlets aren’t grounded, they should be replaced, and a new circuit should be installed.

Electrical work is inherently dangerous. Professional electricians receive years of training and on-the-job experience before the state grants them a license. Use discretion when attempting your own electrical work. To make sure all the electrical systems in your home are safe, up to code and working as they should, hire a trusted electrician to handle the job.  Electrical Safety Tips.  Ted at Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415

Dallas Park Cities Handyman

Common Wiring Problems

Common Wiring Problems – Here are some common problems you might face, and their solutions. It’s not just the nation’s power grid that’s antiquated. The wiring inside many houses is also out of date, straining to supply our ever-growing collection of electricity-hungry appliances, lighting, and electronics. Please Visit Plano Texas Handyman website to view and read about all of our capabilities.

“The circuits in these older homes weren’t designed to power the many gadgets of modern life,” says Ted with Plano Texas Handyman”. Some wiring problems are just inconveniences. But others can pose serious fire or electrocution hazards. To help you assess the state of your own electrical system, Ted with Plano Texas Handyman has to identified the 10 most common wiring problems he sees, the dangers they pose, and his recommended solutions.

1. Overlamping
What it means: A light fixture has a bulb with a higher wattage than the fixture is designed for.

Code violation? Yes.

Danger level: High. The bulb’s intense heat can scorch or melt the socket and insulation on the fixture’s wires, which increases the risk of arcing — sparks that jump through the air from one wire to another — a chief cause of electrical fires. The damage to the socket and wires remains even after the bulb has been removed.

Solution: Stay within the wattage limit listed on all light fixtures made since 1985. For older, unmarked fixtures, use only 60-watt bulbs or smaller.
2. Uncovered Junction Box
What it means: A light fixture has a bulb with a higher wattage than the fixture is designed for.

Code violation? Yes.

Danger level: High. The bulb’s intense heat can scorch or melt the socket and insulation on the fixture’s wires, which increases the risk of arcing — sparks that jump through the air from one wire to another — a chief cause of electrical fires. The damage to the socket and wires remains even after the bulb has been removed.

Solution: Stay within the wattage limit listed on all light fixtures made since 1985. For older, unmarked fixtures, use only 60-watt bulbs or smaller.

3. Lights Flicker When It’s Windy

What it means: Frayed wiring in the weatherhead (the outdoor fitting where overhead cables from the power line come into the house) is causing a short whenever the cables move.

Code violation? No.

Danger level: High. Aside from the annoyance, the frayed wiring can arc and start a fire.

Solution: Contact the electric utility, which may replace the weatherhead at no charge.

4. Too Few Outlets
What it means: Heavy reliance on extension cords and power strips.

Code violation? No; grandfathered in. (Today’s codes require receptacles within 4 feet of a doorway and every 12 feet thereafter.)

Danger level: Minimal, as long as you use heavy-duty extension cords, 14-gauge or thicker. (The thicker the wire, the lower the gauge number.) Undersize extension cords (16-gauge or smaller) can overheat and ignite a fire if loads are too heavy.

Solution: Add more outlets. Expect to pay an electrician about $100 per first-floor outlet and double that for second-floor work. (There will likely be a minimum charge.) This work requires cutting holes in walls and ceilings to snake the wires. Some electricians will patch the holes; others leave the patching to you.

5. No GFCIs
What it means: Increased risk of electrocution in wet areas, such as baths and kitchens. GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) shut down circuits in 4 milliseconds before current can cause a deadly shock.

Code violation? No; grandfathered in. (Codes today require GFCIs within 4 feet of any sink and on all garage, basement, and outdoor outlets.)

Danger level: High.

Solution: Replace old receptacles with GFCIs (about $12 each). This is a simple job that many homeowners do themselves. Electricians charge about $20 per outlet. (There will likely be a minimum job charge.) Note: As an alternative, GFCI breakers ($25) can be installed on the main panel. But then every time one trips, you have to go down to the basement to reset it.

6. Overwired Panel
What it means: The panel contains more circuits than it’s rated to handle, because too many single-pole breakers (one circuit) have been replaced with tandem breakers (two circuits) in one slot. (Tandem breakers aren’t the same as high-amp double-pole breakers, which take up two slots with one circuit.) A label on each panel specifies how many circuits the panel can accommodate.

Code violation? Yes.

Danger level: Minimal. It may become an issue when the house is being sold and an inspector looks inside the panel.

Solution: Add a subpanel with a few extra slots ($250), or, if you’re planning major home improvements, replace the existing panel with a larger model ($500 to $800).

7. Aluminum Wiring
What it means: You have a type of wiring, used in the 1960s and ’70s as a cheap substitute for copper, that is no longer considered safe.

Code violation? No; grandfathered in.

Danger level: High. Aluminum corrodes when in contact with copper, so connections loosen, which can lead to arcing and fires.

Solution: Retrofit a dielectric wire nut approved for aluminum wire (a pair sells for less than $1) onto each copper/aluminum connection in light fixtures. These nuts have a special grease that stops corrosion while maintaining conductivity. Make sure any replacement switches and receptacles are labeled AL-compatible.

8. Backstabbed Wires
What it means: On newer switches and receptacles, wires pushed in the back are more likely to come loose than those anchored around screw terminals.

Code violation? No. The practice is allowed, even for new construction.

Danger level: It depends. At a minimum, loose wires can cause a receptacle or switch to stop working. In the worst case, they can start a fire.

Solution: Check for backstabbed connections by removing a switch or receptacle from its outlet box. If one is backstabbed, there are likely to be more. Release the wires and attach them to the appropriate screw terminals on the receptacle.

9. Ungrounded (2-prong) Receptacles
What it means: Your house’s wiring has no way to safely conduct any stray current that escapes the confines of the wires.

Code violation? No; grandfathered in. (Today’s code requires grounded circuits and receptacles.)

Danger level: Minimal, as long as you don’t use an adapter to fit a three-prong plug into a two-prong receptacle. Doing so could destroy the device you’re plugging in, and increase the chance of electrocution.

Solution: Replace two-prong receptacles with properly grounded three-prong ones, if wiring allows it. Also, test all existing three-prong receptacles with a GFCI circuit tester to make sure they’re grounded. Rewire any that aren’t.

10. Plug Falls Out of Receptacle
What it means: Worn contacts in receptacle no longer grip the prongs firmly.

Code violation? No.

Danger level: High. Loose contacts can cause arcing, which can ignite dry wood and dust.

Solution: Replace the old receptacles as soon as possible. (A new one costs about $2.) Many homeowners feel comfortable doing this themselves. Electricians will charge about $8 or $10 per outlet, although there’s likely to be a minimum charge for small jobs.