Signs of Electrical Problems in the Home
Electrical safety is extremely important when you consider yourself, your family, and your home. If you haven’t had an electrician to your home lately, you may want to consider doing so as a prevention strategy. This way, you can find issues before they develop into serious problems. As homes age, wiring frays and connections loosen. New appliances can strain the system. It’s important to have electricians to your home for routine maintenance.
Knowing the warning signs of electrical system failures, and using preventative maintenance, brings many benefits. You will pay less for your monthly bill, your property resale value will be higher, the lifespan of your lights and appliances will be longer, and your family will be safer. Read on to discover which warning signs to be aware of.
1. Burn Marks on Outlets
When outlets have burn marks on the cover, the hot, or energized, wire has touched the neutral or ground wire. Corrosion over time or dirt and dust can make this problem occur.
2. Flickering or Dimming Lights
If your lights are flickering or dimming more than just once in a while, your system’s connections are loose somewhere, or you have voltage fluctuation. Other symptoms of voltage fluctuation are light bulbs glowing too bright or too dim, or burning out faster than they should.
3. Acrid-Smelling Smoke
Smoke that smells off may signal a fire. The beginning stages of electrical fires, as well as brief burns caused by a short circuit, give off a tell-tale, acrid-scented smoke. A short might cause an electrical fire if it occurs within the walls, and catches surrounding materials on fire. If you have any sign of shorts occurring, remove the fuse or turn off your circuit breaker until an electrician can come by to check the circuit before it becomes an electrical emergency.
4. Buzzing or Clicking Noises
Other symptoms of trouble behind your walls are any kind of noises, like buzzing or clicks, when you flip a light switch. This is caused by faulty wiring within or close to the switch or outlet, or a loose connection on the switch, causing a short.
5. Damage Caused by Rodents
If you have mice in your house, then you might need to worry about them chewing wiring. Rodents gnawing on electrical wires will obviously cause problems with your system – not least, a potential electrical fire. Luckily, this problem isn’t as common as some of the other ones in this list. However, rodents have been known to chew wires to clear room to squeeze into holes passing through studs … and if you find one stud where they’ve done so, chances are they did it at more than one stud.
6. Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping
Another sign that you’ve got a problem is an overloaded circuit breaker that keeps tripping. Circuit breakers are built to “trip,” or shut off their electric flow when they become overheated – to prevent damage or an electrical fire. If it’s doing this continually, chances are you’ve got an overloaded circuit, ground fault, or a short circuit.
7. Frequent Power Outages
Frequent power outages are an extremely frustrating sign of electrical service issues. They can mean many various problems. Electro-chemical treeing is one such issue, which happens when poorly manufactured insulation has allowed moisture penetration to occur, reducing dielectric strength. Or, power outages can be due to transformer failures, lightning, tree branches or fallen trees pushing lines together, birds nesting and causing faults on transmission towers, pecking at utility poles, or contaminating insulators with excrement, or contact from other animals – snakes, squirrels, insect colonies, large mammals, or rodents.
8. Hot Switch Plates
Outlets or switch plates that become hot – especially when they don’t even have anything plugged in – likely mean improper wiring. You may need to flip the breaker or remove the outlet’s fuse until you can schedule professional help.
9. Sparking Outlets
Serious sparks from an outlet mean you’ve got a short circuit, which can cause a fire. Sparking breaker panels or fuse boxes are just as serious. If an appliance is sparking, however, that’s more likely a sign that the appliance itself is damaged – get the appliance repaired. If the appliance is new, its warranty may take care of repair costs. If sparks are coming from any of your electrical appliances unplug it, this is an electrical issue, immediately and contact an emergency electrician!
Do you suspect electrical problems in your home? Call Beacon Electrical Services at (703) 343-9884 to learn more about electrical safety!