4 Signs You May Have an Electrical Problem in Your Home
Electrical failures and malfunctions cause an estimated 50,000 house fires each year. Most of these fires could have been prevented if the homeowners knew the common signs of an electrical problem. To protect your home and family, be aware of the following:
1. Flickering Lights and Problem Switches
Sometimes a flickering light just needs the bulb replaced or screwed in a little tighter, but when bulb after bulb gives you trouble in the same spot, you have a wiring issue. It could be a ceiling fixture that is mounted improperly and tugging on its connections, or loose wiring from a subpar installation. Whatever the cause, you’ll want to contact an electrical professional because it could quickly become a fire hazard.
Switches that only work sporadically are another sign of a problem. If you can’t count on a switch to work throughout the day, that’s a sure sign of a wiring issue in need of repair.
Uninvited guests like rats and mice aren’t just a threat to hygiene. Once they get into your walls, floors, and ceilings, they can chew through wiring, causing exposed and failing connections throughout your home. Keep an eye out for droppings and nests, especially in places like your basement or attic where access to wiring and insulation may be easier. A rodent problem is only a few steps from becoming an electrical one.
3. Circuit Breaker Shutdowns
Circuit breakers are designed to kill power to the home rather than risk dangerous overloads, but this should be far from a regular occurrence. Aging or poorly-installed electrical systems may not be able to handle the daily power needs of a home. If you have to reset your circuit breaker more than every once in a blue moon, it’s likely that part of your electrical system is failing. This sign can be especially noticeable when the use of a specific outlet repeatedly causes things to shut down. If this is happening in your home, have a licensed electrician take a look at your system.
Check your fuse box or circuit breaker for the date of your last inspection. If it’s been over ten years, have an electrical professional look things over. Of course, if you ever notice sparks coming from your circuit breaker, shut down all power and seek immediate maintenance for your system.
4. Buzzing, Sparks, and Heat from Outlets
A working electrical system should be silent and keep any of the reactions that power it out of sight and out of mind. If you can hear buzzing coming from any outlets or inside your walls, shut down power to that area until it can be serviced by an electrician. Buzzing is often a sign of loose or exposed wiring allowing electricity to “leak” out into the surrounding air.
Shocks to passersby and sparks coming from outlets or wiring are also a bad sign. If a specific appliance is sparking during use, unplug it and test another in the same outlet. While a sparking appliance shouldn’t be used, it’s not usually a sign of a larger electrical problem. However, if a specific outlet or anything plugged into it is sparking, shut down power to it and schedule a service appointment.
Hot outlets or any strange burning smells are another bad sign. If an outlet gets hot when in use, it means electricity isn’t being conducted properly through it, and its power should be cut off until it can be serviced. If you smell burning coming from an outlet or within your walls, shut down power to that area and make sure a fire hasn’t started there before scheduling an appointment with your electrician.
Home Electricians in Greater Concord, NH
If you have concerns about your home’s electrical system, contact the pros at Irish Electric Corp. for help. We provide 24-hour on-call service to homeowners and businesses in Concord, Webster, Hillsboro, Weare, Penacook, Boscawen, Warner, Hooksett, Hopkinton, Henniker, Bow, Manchester, and throughout New Hampshire.