CLEVELAND - Your home's electrical system is extremely important because it provides comfort throughout the house, but also it can be a huge hazard if there is any kind of problems with it.
Unfortunately, most consumers never think about their electrical system until something goes wrong.
"Electricity is really something consumers shouldn't mess with themselves. When it comes down to it, it can be a fatal project if it goes wrong,” Angie Hicks of Angie’s List said.
Poor wiring accounts for 33 percent of all urban residential home fires in the United States. Those fires claim the lives of 485 Americans each year and injure 2,305 others.
"Typically, the homeowner doesn't really know how to make the final connections. They wind up either turning the screw on the wrong way on the receptacle,” Hicks said.
Electricians also say consumers don't think before plugging cords into their outlets.
"We see a lot of situations where homeowners will get one outlet and they'll plug four or five things into it -- get those extended outlets and things like that,” electrician David Kurtz said.
Kurtz said that's not a good idea because the cords are not rated for the load they carry, heat can build up and cause a problem.
Electricians are now starting to offer service contracts where they will actually come out and do an annual inspection of the house.
If your lights flicker or dim when a major appliance is on or your light switches or outlets get hot, you could have a problem with your electrical system. Check to make sure your outlets have three holes because electricians say that means it’s ground and could protect you from being shocked if you have an electrical issue.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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