Electricity makes our homes so much easier to live in, but if it isn’t installed or taken care of properly, it can also be hazardous. There are many subtle signs that something is wrong with your electrical system. Every year, faulty wiring causes a lot of house fires, so it’s important to know what to look for so you can act quickly before it’s too late.
Here are 5 signs that something is wrong with the electricity in your home:
The circuit breakers keep tripping:
If you constantly run to your electrical panel to reboot a tripped breaker, that circuit is overloaded. Circuit breakers are made to fail if they carry too much electricity. It keeps your electrical system from getting too hot and starting a fire. It could be that the appliance you are trying to run on that breaker needs too much power, or the circuit is broken somehow. In most cases, you’re using that circuit too much and need to upgrade it. Call an electrician and ask them to look at the circuit and make suggestions.
The lights go out or flicker:
When too much load on a circuit, the lights will dim and flicker. If the lights dim every time the microwave or furnace turns on, the circuit can’t handle that much electricity. Most light fixtures don’t use enough power to cause an overload. If you look at the light and don’t see any obvious damage, you should call an electrician to check the circuit.
You get a burning smell:
If you smell something burning or strange coming from an outlet or switch, there’s likely a big problem, and the wiring behind the faceplate is overheating. First, turn off and unplug whatever you have plugged into the outlet. Then, do not use that outlet again until a professional electrician has checked it out. If your breaker panel smells burning, you should call an electrician immediately.
Plates for switches and outlets are hot to the touch:
The outlets and switch plates should never be hot to the touch. When in use, its fine if it feels warm to the touch, but if it’s noticeably hot, turn it off or unplug whatever is plugged into it. If it’s still hot after a while, even when nothing is plugged into it, the wiring may have a problem. If you see burn or scorch marks on the plate, you know you have a problem. Get it checked out by an electrician.
Sounds of buzzing:
When it works right, electricity doesn’t make any noise. However, a frayed wire, loose wiring, or other electrical system problem can cause a current jump. The buzzing sound comes from this jump. If you hear buzzing coming from an outlet, stop using it and call an electrician immediately.
All of these problems should tell you that you need an electrical inspection. These things can happen at any time. There are times when you might want to have an electrician look for problems with the wiring. You might want to have the whole house checked for electrical problems before you buy it. This is particularly important in an older house where a professional electrician hasn’t replaced the wiring in the last few years.
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