Electricity has made our livelihoods far too easy, yet almost all of us take it for granted. Electricity lights up our homes, helps keep us cold or warm, and powers all the devices we rely on daily.
But nevertheless, the very same electricity that devotedly serves us can also be a source of harm. Did you know that electrical problems cause over 50,000 easily avoidable house fires each year? Many electrical fire hazards lurk within our walls. As a result, it’s critical for homeowners to identify these silent signs of major electrical problems in their homes.
1. Lights Are Flickering
Yes of course, Hollywood movies would have us suspect that flickering lights in your house indicate the presence of ghosts. However, a loose electrical connection is far more likely. The solution is usually simple if the flickering is limited to a single light socket.
If it affects several lights or rooms, the issue is most likely further back in the circuit. If your entire house is flickering, the problem could be in the breaker box or at the utility drop outside the house. In that scenario, you should hire a licensed electrician to do the repair work for you.
2. Hot Outlets
While operating, many electrical appliances produce heat. Even so, the outlet should never become hot. If you observe heat at an outlet, disconnect any cords and avoid using the outlet until you can diagnose and repair the problem.
Switch cover sheets should be dealt with similarly, with one exception: dimmer switches frequently get hot to the touch because they dissipate surplus electrical energy to develop the dimming effect. However, Dimmer switch cover trays should never be uncomfortably warm to the touch. Excess heat is why, before installing a dimmer switch, you must always verify the wattage.
3. Noticeable Odors
In a few cases, you can trace overheating in a system even without having to touch the outlets. When the circuit overheats enough, it starts to burn the wire sealing and other nearby objects. A burning odor indicates that immediate action is required. Or else, you are increasing the likelihood of a fire.
One more odor to be aware of is an ammonia-like or musky odor. This could indicate a rodent outbreak in the home. While not directly connected to electrical problems, rodents are known for chewing through wiring, which can cause issues later on.
4. Shocking Switches or Outlets
A jarring outlet or switch is a sure sign that something isn’t right. A single wire in the circuit may be shorting out to a conduit containing a group of wires. Shocks could be caused by an item plugged into an outlet, the plug, or even the outlet itself. An uninsulated wire or one that has lost its insulation is another probability.
5. Circuit Breaker Issues
A circuit breaker performs a lot of work behind the scenes that we are unaware of. Their primary purpose is to trip when a circuit is overwhelmed in order to prevent hazardous conditions. It could not only start an electrical fire, but it could also overheat. If your circuit breaker trips frequently, it’s typically an obvious sign of a bigger problem that necessitates the expertise of a qualified electrician.
There should be no cause for concern if the circuit breakers trip on rare instances. But nevertheless, repetitive trips of the circuit breakers may appear to suggest a much more severe issue with your home’s electrical system. By plugging the electronic device into another outlet, you can assess whether the issue is caused by the piece of equipment or your electrical system. If your home’s circuit breakers continue to trip, the problem could be with the appliance. Otherwise, you must contact an electrician.
6. Loose Outlets
When you plug things into an outlet and notice that it keeps moving around, this indicates that the outlet seems to have become loose, which is far more severe than it may appear. Although you can always open the outlet and try to safeguard the insides yourself, there is a risk of electrocution if you do so, so you should call a technician.
If you prefer to fix the problem yourself, make sure to turn off the outlets at the circuit breaker before trying to work on them. If you don’t take care of a loose outlet immediately, the wires may fall out, increasing the likelihood of shorts and sparks.
7. Buzzing Sound
When electricity is flowing seamlessly through your residence’s outlets and wires, everything should be essentially silent, so the existence of a buzzing sound is likely a reason for concern. This noise could be induced by faulty wiring or outlets. If you hear these noises instantly after plugging anything into an outlet, you should unplug it.
Whether the noise is caused by tattered wiring or a defected outlet, keeping the connection open increases the likelihood of sparks being created, which could lead to a fire. The solution to this issue is to unplug the connection and try to contact an expert electrician immediately.
8. Corrosion And Cracks
The plastic insulation that covers the electrical outlets can crack and let the debris and some other dust particles to pile up inside the socket pits. When an electrical appliance is implanted into a power socket that is clogged with debris, an electric arc forms. This is a very risky situation because it can result in electric shock and severe fires. Dust and debris buildup causes corrosion of electrical outlets in the long run. It is always best not to connect any of your electrical appliances to a corroded socket or plug until it has been removed and replaced.
For the safety of your home and its occupants, your home wiring should be in perfect working order. Call a professional electrician to remedy the problem if you are greeted with a shock or tingle when you touch a switch. It is best to get professional help if you encounter any of the major electrical problems mentioned in this article. If you suspect your wiring is broken, damaged, or ancient, you should contact a professional electrician immediately.