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March 26, 201750,000 house fires every year in the United States, making wiring and electrical issues among the leading causes of residential fires and fire damage. Recognizing these early warning signs of electrical problems can help protect your family, prevent hazardous malfunctions, and decrease the risk of fires in your home:
- Burning Smells From Outlets or Appliances. “Hot,” smoky, or burning smells emanating from outlets or appliances are a sign of serious and immediate danger. Exposed or damaged wiring, overloaded circuits, and fire hazards inside the electrical outlet, box, or system can all cause fires, often preceded by noticeable smells. If you notice a burning smell, or see smoke, emanating from outlets or appliances, shut off the power and call an electrician.
- Unexplained Electrical Shocks. Occasional minor shocks that occur after walking over carpets may result from harmless static discharge. However, if you experience any significant (or regular/recurring) shocks when touching switchplates, outlets, or appliances, the cause may be a hazardous ground fault or other wiring issue. Contact a professional immediately if this occurs.
- Sparking Outlets.Age, exposure to water, or faulty wiring can all cause outlets to spark and create a serious risk of fire or electrocution injuries. Although some less-dangerous causes can also result in sparks – for example, the rapid draw on power created by plugging in certain kinds of appliances – sparking outlets should never be ignored, especially if sparks are accompanied by electrical shocks or occur on a regular basis.
- Circuit Breaker Problems. If the circuit breakers in your home switch off frequently, requiring resets (or replacements, in the case of older fuse-style boxes), call an electrician promptly. Tripping breakers may be a sign of electrical overload, faulty wiring, or other dangerous conditions in need of immediate repair.
- Flickering or Dimming Lights. Not every lighting flicker represents cause for concern, but lighting irregularities caused by turning on other appliances or for which no immediate cause is apparent are often signs of more serious wiring or electrical problems. After making sure the light bulbs in your home aren’t loose, or designed to flicker, call a licensed electrician to inspect the systems and correct the problem before a fire starts.
March 11, 2017
*Market information courtesy of RBIntel.comIn January 2017,Median Housing Prices Dropped Compared With December 2016, But Remained At Ten-Year Highs For The Month of January. The January 2017 median home sale price in the greater Washington D.C. area was $390,000– an decrease from December’s median prices but still the median sales price for January in the last ten years.Sales volume also increased by 19.5% over January 2016 numbers. More than 11% more home sales closed in January 2017 than during the first month of 2016, and the properties sold, on average, at 97% of the listing price.Overall, the January market numbers suggest a healthy housing market in the greater Washington D.C. area. Falls Church City remained the region’s “most expensive”location (measured by average prices), with January median sales prices of $610,000; Prince George’s County remained the most affordable, with January median sales pricesof $260,000 – very close to December’s average of $265,000.Individual home prices and neighborhood values vary, but the average numbers in January demonstrate an increase over both the five and ten-year averages. Pending Sales and New Listings Increased in January 2017. According to figures published by RBIntel.com: The number of new listings in the Washington D.C. area increased in January, with almost 13% more new listings coming on the market this January than were listed for sale in January of 2015 and 47% more listings in January than in December 2016. Every part of the D.C. Metro area showed an increase in new listings, though the largest increase in new properties on the market occurred in Falls Church City, while Fairfax County showed the smallest increase. Pending sales at the end of January increased by almost 16% over January 2016 numbers, and by almost 12% over December 2016.This January growth applied across all housing types, with condos, townhouses, and single family homes all showing increases in pending sales. Average “Days on Market” For Listed Properties Remained Unchanged. The median days-on-market for listed properties in Washington D.C. and the surrounding counties in January 2017 was 34 days,five days longer than the DOM for December 2016 but ten days less than the average days-on-market in January of 2016. Falls Church City was the slowest regional market last month (median days-on-market: 60), while Washington D.C. remained the fastest-moving market, with a median DOM of 23 (up two days from December 2016’s median DOM of 21). Sales numbers vary from county to county, and even among neighborhoods. The speed and success of a housing sale is dependent on many factors, from listing price to home condition and comparable listings in the area. Your personal experience may vary, but knowing the average numbers is still helpful when making plans to sell your home, either through a realtor or to an investor.