There are many types of wires used for electrical distribution, but most wires are constructed with copper or aluminum. Exposed wires should be taken seriously. Until you are certain the wire is not live, you should treat the wire as if current is running through it.
Grounding wires do not have electric current running through them most of the time, and commonly have exposed wires and connections. A ground wire takes excess electric current away from electrical circuits when there is a surge or electrical issue detected. The grounding wire takes the electricity to the ground through a grounding rod or pipe where it can safely be neutralized. On modern electrical outlets, the third and circular plug is the grounding wire connection for electrical devices that may need to divert electricity from causing electrocution.
Grounding wires, especially those running through grounding rods on the exterior of your home, are exposed. The grounding wires are safe to touch unless there is an electrical surge that causes electricity to flow through the grounding wire.
Electrical wires can be tested using a voltage tester. Voltage tests can be purchased at your local hardware store and come in a variety of types and accuracy. Cheaper voltage testers will simply tell you if there is electric current nearby the electrical wire, and more expensive volt meters will show you how much electric current there is and the voltage of the exposed wires.
Noncontact voltmeters detect electric current without an electrical connection through identifying an electric field. These kinds of voltmeters are a great purchase for your home making it easy to determine if an electrical connection is safe to touch.
Traditional voltmeters have two electrical wires that connect to the positive and negative wires or connections on an electrical loop. When the wires are connected accordingly, the electricity will go through the meter, allowing for an accurate reading of the electricity to be conducted.
Loose or exposed electrical wiring can be a very common problem caused by home improvement projects and normal wear and tear. Identifying a loose or exposed wire can be hard when they are hidden within your home. However, if you do see exposed wires in a wall or elsewhere in your home, it is important to stay safe and follow the steps for repairing the wire.
Find out which electrical circuit your exposed wire is on and turn off the connection. This will allow you to work safely without the hazard of electric shock. It is critically important when conducting any work on exposed electrical wiring to turn off the electrical circuit before you touch anything.
Isolating the exposed wire will give you a better idea of what may have caused the wire to become exposed. If it is a puncture in a wire’s insulation, you should look for possible nails or other hazards, and if it is a loose electrical connection, you should look for how the wire was pulled from the electrical fixture.
Electrical tape, typically black in color, should be used on exposed electrical wires because of its low conductivity and durability to wear and tear over time. For larger gashes and cuts in electrical wires, you may need to fully cut the wire and make an electrical connection using wire nuts. Electrical tape should not be used if the insulation between the positive and neutral wire is compromised.
Electrical connections in light sockets, switches, and outlets can become loose over time causing connectivity issues and potentially causing a fire hazard. Loose electrical connections should be properly connected and tightened to ensure that your wires do not come loose again. One of the major issues with aluminum wiring is it will flex and move over time, causing electrical connections to loosen.
The number one tip with electrical work is do not do something you are not sure of. If you are uncertain if you are doing the electrical work correctly, it is best to get the input and help of a professional electrician. The experienced and trained electricians at Allgood Electric offer repair and testing services that will make sure your home’s electrical wiring is up to date and safe. Contact Allgood Electric today.