There’s something exciting about making a large purchase: the rush of buying, the nagging fear that you can’t afford it, the anticipation of it making your life better or easier. This feeling is especially true when it comes to a new appliance; it’s an investment in saving you time and effort. What if the investment you just made turns out to be a dud because of overlooking the impact it would have on your electrical system?
A lot of the work of an appliance happens within the machine, we tend to not think about the fact that an appliance is really a very complicated electrical machine. In addition, we ignore that they require a lot of electricity to operate. They can really strain your electrical system. This is especially true of modern appliances; it seems like they’ve found a way to computerize everything, and that only makes the power needs of an appliance grow even when they are “Energy Star” rated. Installation of these complex modern appliances seem as easy; some almost seem like they only need to be plugged in and forgotten. This approach neglects the fact that there are important things to keep in mind with regards to appliance installations that can cause serious problems for you down the line.
Obviously, you don’t always need to call an electrician whenever you install an appliance. With that being said, there’s nothing wrong with doing so if you’re not sure what you’re doing. The Best Dallas Electrician you can hire can help you avoid a lot of potential hazards and costs down the line. If you’re still planning on installing your new appliance yourself, keep in mind the following electrical safety do’s and don’ts:
- Don’t assume your installation was done with safety in mind. This is especially true in older homes, where the wiring may not be up to modern specifications.
- Do turn the power off whenever you change out an appliance. It may seem a bit excessive, but it can save you from a nasty shock or from shorting something out.
- Do be careful when removing older, hardwired appliances. Back in the old days, most large appliances were just wired directly into the electrical system, without any sort of protection other than the breakers in your electrical panel. Just pulling these kinds of appliances out can short out the appliance or other parts of your wiring, to say nothing of other potential damage. When removing an older appliance, you should either be extremely careful not to damage the wiring or hire a professional electrician to help you remove them. That electrician can also help you with the next step: replacing that wire with a properly rated outlet and cord so that you can simply plug or unplug the appliance in future.
- Don’t put a large appliance where you can’t move it or clean behind it! I see this way more than I should, especially in new home construction. People have lovely custom cabinets built around their ovens, making it impossible to replace the oven or access the outlets behind it without tearing out all the cabinets around it! There’s a safety issue in play here, too: flammable dust and lint build up behind appliances over time. You should always install a new appliance in such a manner that you can remove it to clean behind it, at the very least when you’ve pulled it away from the outlet to replace it with a new one.
- Do check the electrical requirements of your new appliance. This is especially true if you’re upgrading to a new appliance. Like I said before, many of these are now partially computerized, and draw a lot more power than a similarly sized older appliance as a result. If your new appliance draws more power than your wiring and circuit breakers are rated to handle, you can easily overload the circuit without realizing what you’ve done. If you find that this is the case, you should call an electrician before you try to plug the appliance in; often the problem can be solved just by rewiring the outlet or modifying your electrical system to handle the increased load.
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