While all home maintenance and upkeep issues are concerning, electrical problems are perhaps the scariest. When left unaddressed, electrical issues can spark a deadly fire, putting your home and family at risk.
Early detection and repair are essential for preventing electrical fires. Here are five common signs of problems with your wiring or electricity that you shouldn’t ignore.
Flickering lights are one of the most common signs of electrical problems. According to an emergency electrician in Columbus OH, this issue often gets overlooked as homeowners don’t understand the potential for danger. Flickering lights are typically caused by an overloaded panel when power is redirected to an appliance. For example, if your lights dim or flicker when you run the washing machine or microwave, there’s an issue.
First, check to ensure the lightbulbs are securely tightened to confirm that a loose bulb isn’t the cause. Then, consider calling an electrician to take a look at the issue.
Frequently Flipped Breakers
Another cause for concern is frequent breaker flipping when multiple appliances are running simultaneously. Like flickering lights, this issue is typically caused by increased power demand surpassing what the panel can handle. While you may want to avoid running your air fryer and microwave together, you shouldn’t have a problem in a correctly wired, modernized house.
If you’re continuously blowing fuses, there’s a bigger problem to address. Fuse boxes are outdated and considered dangerous in modern homes. They aren’t designed to withstand the energy draw of new appliances. In fact, many home insurance providers will charge higher premiums for houses with fuse panels due to the increased risk of electrical shock and fires. If you still have a fuse box, talk to a licensed electrician to have a breaker panel installed.
Visually Degraded Panel
If you notice any visual signs of degradation on your electrical panel, call an electrician immediately. Rust and corrosion indicate that the panel has been exposed to excess moisture—and it’s common knowledge that water and electricity are a bad mix.
In addition to having an electrician inspect and replace the panel, it’s also essential to determine the cause of the issue to prevent it from happening again. This exploration will also help determine whether the electrician should relocate the panel to a safer area.
Hot Or Outdated Outlets
Outlets and fixtures shouldn’t feel hot. If they do, there’s a big problem. A hot outlet indicates a system overload or faulty wiring caused by degradation or pests. If you notice that an outlet gets hot when in use, unplug any electronics or appliances from that outlet and call an electrician. Note that dimmer switches are often warm to the touch because of how electricity is redirected, but they should never feel uncomfortably hot.
Outdated outlets are another issue. If your outlet doesn’t have a third hole for grounding, you shouldn’t use it. Similarly, having GFCI outlets in the bathroom and outside is a must for safety. These outlets are designed for wet areas and shut down immediately if moisture comes in contact with the plug. Modern building codes require GFCI outlets, but many older homes lack this essential update.
Finally, if you smell burning or “plastic” around your panel or outlets, get out of the house and call an electrician. Electrical fires are insidious, starting inside the walls with few noticeable signs— this is why they’re so deadly. Hopefully, you’ll notice the smells before a fire catches, and the electrician can make an emergency repair or replacement.
While there are plenty of home improvement tasks the modern homeowner can handle alone, electrical work should never be one of them. If you notice any of the issues above, call a professional immediately.