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Electrical

Many homes still don't have safe and adequate electrical wiring in Illinois. If your home has fuses instead of circuit breakers, you have outmoded and potentially unsafe technology. If you're troubled by popped circuit breakers, it's time to update the service.

Fuses used to be considered more than adequate to keep house wires from overload. But as demands have increased, circuit breakers have become the standard. Like fuses, circuit breakers are designed to protect an electrical system from overload by shutting down. That protects the house from fires and appliances from damage caused by more current flowing through the wires than they are able to handle. Fire insurance companies are particularly concerned that there be circuit breakers instead of fuses in place. An electrical service upgrade to circuit breakers will probably save you money on your homeowner's insurance.

A safe, modern home also ought to have GFCI protection in bathrooms, outdoor receptacles, kitchens and anywhere else where the likelihood of electrical shock is great. These sophisticated electronic devices can detect malfunctions in wiring and shut down the circuit before anyone gets a bad shock.

Anyone with lots of electronic devices at home might also consider protection from voltage surges. During an electrical storm, lightning may strike near the power lines in your neighborhood and cause a voltage surge that follows the power lines into your home. While circuit breakers are ineffective in this situation, surge protectors work very well. They can be installed to protect a single appliance or the whole house.

Older telephone wiring, often referred to as "quad" wiring because it has four copper wires, is obsolete, but still used in many homes. Home builders and remodelers today install Category 5 wiring, which has four twisted wire pairs, or eight wires. But even Cat 5, as it is known in the trade, is about to be supplanted by Category 5E (E is for enhanced) and Category 6, which has more than twice the bandwidth, or information-carrying capacity, of Cat 5 for just a little bit more money.
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