Keeping my home's electrical system running safely and efficiently has always been a top priority for me. As a DIYer, I'm always looking to learn new tips and tricks, even ones that professionals may not know. In my experience, there are several lesser-known wiring techniques that can go a long way in preventing electrical fires and keeping the lights on.

Use Copper Wire for Any New Circuits

When running new wiring, I always use copper rather than aluminum. Copper is a better conductor and resists corrosion and overheating far better than aluminum. Even though copper costs more upfront, it prevents dangerous electrical issues down the road.

Professionals often use aluminum because it's cheaper, but I don't want to risk safety just to save a few bucks. Spending a little extra on copper gives me peace of mind knowing my home's electrical system is less prone to hazardous failures.

Add More Circuits Than Required

Most DIYers make the mistake of installing just enough circuits to meet their current needs. But I've learned it's wise to add 1-2 more circuits than technically required. This provides capacity for future electrical loads without needing to run all new wiring.

While the National Electrical Code (NEC) specifies minimum circuit requirements, it doesn't account for future growth. Having those extra circuits in place makes expanding wiring for additions like electric vehicles, new appliances, or shop tools a breeze down the road.

Use a Dedicated Circuit for the Fridge

A common but dangerous mistake is plugging the refrigerator into the kitchen's small appliance circuit. Refrigerators draw a large continuous load, which can lead to overheating on a shared circuit.

Instead, I always install a dedicated circuit just for the fridge. This prevents electrical fires caused by overburdened circuits while also avoiding spoiled food if the circuit breaker trips. Though the NEC doesn't require it, a dedicated fridge circuit is an easy upgrade that improves safety.

Label Breaker Box Circuits Clearly

Tracing which breaker controls each circuit can be frustrating and time consuming, especially in an older home. To avoid flipping the wrong breakers, I take time to create a detailed circuit index for my breaker box.

I mark the purpose of every circuit clearly on the inside of the box's door. This makes it easy for me or anyone else to quickly shut off power to individual circuits for maintenance and repairs. It's a simple trick but prevents accidental shocks or short circuits during electrical work.

Update Outdated Wiring When Possible

Some wiring like cloth-insulated wires were once standard but are now considered very hazardous. Whenever I encounter these while doing projects, I take the opportunity to proactively update them.

Replacing old degraded wiring prevents electrical fires before they happen. Even if the wiring still technically functions, outdated types like knob and tube can't handle modern electrical loads. Upgrading them as I find them improves my home's overall electrical safety.

By using these lesser-known wiring methods, I've been able to keep my home's electrical system running safely for years. While most DIYers focus only on meeting code minimums, taking these extra steps helps prevent electrical fires and power failures down the road. I hope these insider wiring tips help others maintain safer, more reliable electrical systems in their own homes.