Remodeling – Avoid Home Improvement Disasters Involving Gas and Electricity

Opportunity and danger are two sides of the same coin. Home improvement projects offer the opportunity to enjoy your home and to increase its value. Such projects; however, present the danger of personal injury, property damage, and unexpected expense if the work contains construction defects. Here are some steps you should take to maximize the opportunity and minimize the danger of home improvement projects. This article addresses common construction defects in exterior projects involving gas pipes and electrical wires. Related articles cover other construction defects.

1. Do your homework. People research many major purchases; but they spend thousands of dollars on home improvements with little or no research about avoiding construction defects or about hiring a qualified and reliable contractor. Information that can help homeowners is available from many sources. Books explain basic construction and building code concepts in plain language. Manufacturer’s installation instructions for many products are available on the internet. This does not mean that you need to become a construction expert before you embark on a home improvement project. You can and should; however, become educated so that you can recognize common construction defects. Being able to recognize construction defects puts the contractor on notice that you are an informed consumer.

2. Use only licensed and experienced contractors. Verify the status of the contractor’s license and whether any complaints have been filed against the contractor. Complaints against a contractor are not always a deal killer, but they are a red flag that requires more investigation. Obtain references from the contractor and contact them. Use at least one reference from a project completed over one year ago to help you determine the contractor’s response to warranty issues.

3. Obtain a building permit, if required. A building permit is usually required if new electrical circuits, water pipes, or gas pipes are installed or if there are significant additions or changes to any of these systems. A permit is usually required when adding to or making structural changes to a building. A permit is an inexpensive way to get inspections of the work by a qualified third party. It may also reduce your potential liability if a problem occurs. The contractor should obtain the permit. If the contractor is reluctant to obtain a permit, this is a red flag. The contractor may not be licensed to do the work, or he may have other problems that you may want to know about.

4. Look for common construction defects. Here are some examples of common construction defects in exterior home improvement projects.

Failure to bury gas pipes and electrical wires at required depth. Digging around buried gas pipes and electrical wires can damage them and cause gas leaks and electrical shocks. Bury most gas pipes at least twelve inches below the finished dirt level. Bury electrical wires at least twelve inches if the wires are ground fault circuit protected. Bury wires enclosed in metal conduit at least six inches. Bury most other electrical wires at least eighteen inches.

Failure to place electrical receptacles on a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) circuit when required. This is an electrical shock hazard. Place all exterior receptacles and all receptacles in garages on a GFCI protected circuit.

Failure to properly install and protect electrical wires. This is an electrical shock hazard if the wires become loose or damaged. Place most exposed and accessible electrical wires in approved conduit. Place electrical connections and wire splices in a covered electrical junction box. Electrical wires that are installed outdoors or that are buried must be approved for these uses.

Failure to protect gas pipes from corrosion. Corroded gas pipes can leak. Protect gas pipes against corrosion when they are in contact with the ground and when they are in contact with masonry and concrete. The gray paint on gas pipes around gas meters and pipe wrap tape are common corrosion protection methods.

Failure to properly install gas appliance flexible connectors. This is a gas leak hazard. Flexible connectors are the yellow (one common color) flexible tubes that you see between the rigid gas pipe and a gas water heater. These connectors are intended to connect one rigid gas pipe to one gas appliance. You should be able to move the connector at least two inches at the center of the connector. A connector that cannot be moved and is too tight strains gas connections at the pipe and at the appliance. The connector should not have a bend with a radius smaller than 1 ½ inches. A tight radius bend can weaken the connector and reduce gas flow.

Seize the opportunity to beautify and improve your home; but be aware of the dangers that such projects present and empower yourself to avoid these dangers.

General Aspects Regarding Home Improvement on Electrical and Lighting

Our homes are the ones that should provide us the peace and relaxation we need after a long day of hard working. This is the place where we are supposed to get the energy we need to continue the completion of our daily projects and activities. Therefore it is no wonder that we constantly invest our time and money in making our houses better places to live in. Improving our homes is improving our lives whether we realize this or not. Some of the major aspects when it comes to home improvement are the details related to electrical and lighting systems.

Make sure you get the proper system

Taking care of electrical wiring and lighting is surely not an easy thing to do if you need it done in the right way. However, you can manage with these kinds of improvements by yourself if you have the time for learning helpful tips. If you are not confident on your abilities, you should ask for professional advice to be sure that your electrical and lighting projects will be completed in the way you want. This is an important thing to do because improving the electrical and lighting part of your home can also be very dangerous.

Another important reason why home improvement on electrical and lighting should be done in the right way is that your electronic devices need protection. The world we live in is constantly developing when it comes to this technology so your appliances require certain conditions for running without troubles. Otherwise, you risk losing significant devices because the electrical wiring was not structured as it was supposed to be. Once you buy a fast computer you need the assurance that your electrical system won’t damage it.

Comfort – as important as the technical part

In what concerns the lighting part, this is essential for your home’s comfort and can bring major changes in the way you feel. We are all aware of the fact that colors and lighting are important for us to relax. This is why you will not only need to work with technical details when it comes to electrical and lighting but also with design issues. For example, you do not only need systems that work but also hidden wiring and friendly lamps.

If you decide to make major improvements to home electrical and lighting you should find a good solution to cover everything from communications to security. Your home deserves the best treatment so you should take care of major aspects such as installation and details related to the materials you use. If you do not take care of the home improvement on electrical and lighting in a hurry you and your family will surely get to benefit from the proper conditions.

Electrical Home Improvement Tasks Are Often Overlooked

When thinking about the current condition of your home, you must evaluate how well each aspect is doing on a regular basis. Is it as functional and efficient as it was when it was first installed? Does it need a new look or do you need to change it altogether? The walls and floors are among the most common choice for development. What most homeowners often overlook is the fact that sometimes, an electrical home improvement is also necessary.

This kind of project may be simple or complex. This should not be neglected as this will ensure that you keep your house free from the risk of faulty wiring which may lead to fires. You may probably begin by inspecting your lighting fixtures or other electronic devices at home. Check the power chords and the plugs to ensure that they have not experienced burns or tearing. If so, it is important that you replace the wires accordingly. You may also want to check your switches. Ask yourself, “does it appear to be okay?”. It should not present cracks or chips on the surfaces and especially should not spark when you press it.