In this era of DIY (do-it-yourself) electrical projects being encouraged everywhere you look, it’s more important than ever to know the signs of a major electrical problem in your home. Major electrical issues can be extremely dangerous and lead to potential electrical shock hazards or deadly housefires. According to Electrical Safety Foundation International, or ESFi, electrical fires claim nearly 500 deaths a year and cause $1.3 billion in property damage, so it’s not a threat to be taken lightly. If any of these signs are visible in your home, it’s time to call a professional electrician, and in some cases, take immediate actions to ensure the safety of your household.
Faulty and Improperly Installed Outlets
One of the most common causes of a major electrical problem can be spotted by looking and inspecting the outlets in your home. While it’s best to have an electrician test and troubleshoot all outlets, you can also detect obvious problems with a quick walk through.
Signs of faulty and improperly installed outlets include:
- Ungrounded Outlets- outlets missing the third prong space or aren’t actually grounded.
- Loose outlets or outlets with gaps around the faceplate- this is a sign that the outlet was replaced by someone who wasn’t a professional and therefore is suspicious.
- Outlets without a faceplate- Exposed outlets are more likely to incur damage and should be thoroughly checked.
- Hot or buzzing outlets- This is a major red flag. You should immediately stop using hot or buzzing outlets and call a professional electrician.
Improperly Installed Light Fixtures and Lightbulbs
Light Fixtures and lightbulbs can be another source of major electrical problems in your home and it’s important to know the warning signs that it might be time to call an electrician. Many feel that replacing a light fixture is a project that laymen can accomplish with little effort, however, there are many issues that can occur during installation that need a professional for some electrical troubleshooting. Likewise, misuse of lamps and lightbulbs can also cause major problems, especially if you don’t realize there is an issue.
Here are some signs that there are electrical problems occurring with your light fixtures:
- Flickering or dimming lights- while this can occur due to power grid surges, if it’s occurring often then you can assume there is an electrical problem in your home.
- Buzzing sounds when turned on- any buzzing from a light fixture or lamp should result in turning the light off immediately.
- Frequent light bulbs burning out- if lightbulbs are frequently not lasting the period of time claimed on the label there may be a serious electrical issue.
- Hot light fixtures- Hot light fixtures are a fire hazard and need to be shut off immediately.
- Using the wrong wattage of bulb- Make sure to inspect all labels to determine the proper wattage of bulb needed for each light fixture and lamp.
While perhaps more common in historic or older homes, any home can have faulty wiring and should be regularly inspected by a professional electrician. There are some key signs of faulty or outdated wiring in a home and should result in immediately calling an electrician.
Here’s how to find faulty wiring in your house:
- Tangled or messy wires- This can be a sign of shoddy electrical work and should be troubleshooted by a professional.
- Aluminum wiring- All wiring should be up to current OSHA code to be as safe as possible.
- Burning smell with no visible source- Any burning smell with no discernable source is reason enough to call your electrician and shut the power off to your home in order to prevent a fire. Never stay in a building with a persistent, unresolved burning smell.
- Warm spots on your walls or ceiling- This should be another red flag that there is a serious electrical problem and possible house fire ementatly. All power should be shut off to the home until the issue is resolved.
- Visibly frayed wiring- This is a serious shock hazard and all power should be shut down to the frayed area.
Are Any Of These Signs Visible In Your Home? We Can Help!
All of these signs of major electrical problems in your home should be taken seriously and seen by a professional electrician as soon as possible. Need an electrician to look at your home? Contact us for more information!