Once you’ve experienced a power outage, you appreciate how much easier electricity makes daily life. The same electrical system that powers your appliances and makes chores easier can also malfunction and damage your home. The Electrical Safety Foundation reports that around 50,000 house fires each year are caused by faulty electricity. Here are a few signs of electrical problems at home to help you avoid a disaster.
1. Flickering Lights Could be Signs of Electrical Problems
If your lamps or light fixtures flicker occasionally, it could indicate a problem with the wiring. Because lighting fixtures only use a small amount of power, this may be a sign of a power surge. When the flickering happens frequently, the wiring in your home needs an upgrade.
2. Frayed or Cracked Wires
If you spot frayed or otherwise damaged wiring on lamps, appliances, or electronics, do not use the device. Repair or replace the cord. Damaged wires are a fire hazard and can cause electric shock. Replace the device or have it repaired by a trained professional.
3. Electric Shock
Getting shocked when touching an appliance means you have an electrical issue. Check the appliance for a damaged cord. If the device doesn’t have obvious wear and tear, turn off the power to the outlet and call an electrician. Never attempt to fix the problem yourself as it could result in a serious injury.
4. Outlets are Hot to the Touch
Many appliances heat up with use, but if the outlets they’re plugged into are hot to the touch, it’s a sign of electrical problems at home. Turn off the breaker and consult an electrician.
Also, occasionally check around ceiling light fixtures for warmth. Both insufficient insulation or exceeding the recommended bulb wattage are fire hazards. If the bulbs are incandescent, switch them out for cooler-burning CFL or LED bulbs and you’ll also save on your power bill.
If an outlet is sparking or a light switch feels hot to the touch, consult a professional.
5. Buzzing Noises are Signs of Electrical Problems
The electricity in your home should operate silently. Any buzz or crackling sound when plugging in an appliance or flipping a switch can indicate electrical problems.
Appliances in your home shouldn’t vibrate. If one does, test it in another part of the home or even at a neighbor’s house. If you can’t move the appliance, hire an electrician to check your home for faulty wiring.
6. Repeated Circuit Breaker Overloads
Circuit breakers automatically shut down when overloaded. This design prevents the electrical system from overheating and causing a fire. However, a circuit breaker that trips frequently means that something is wrong. If your home is more than 30 years old, the circuit breaker may need replacing. Leave this job to a professional.
7. Signs of Electrical Problems: Burning Odors
New appliances sometimes emit an unfamiliar odor when first installed that comes from the paint or coating. However, an odd smell from a fuse box or electrical outlet isn’t normal and should be checked out by an electrician immediately.
Protect your home and your family by taking action when you notice signs of an electrical problem. Call a professional to assess the situation and make needed repairs.