5 Early Warning Signs of Electrical Problems in Your Home
March 26, 2017
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.