Electrical wiring issues cause thousands of house fires each year. Homeowners can help prevent fires when they recognize the warning signs of an electrical problem at home.
How to Spot Electrical Problems at Home
Below are five electrical warning signs that can alert you to danger in your home. Hire a professional electrician to repair any of these issues as soon as possible.
Discolored Outlets are Signs of an Electrical Problem
Faulty wiring and loose outlet connections can cause arcing of electrical current. If you see outlets or switches in your home that appear charred or have odd discoloration, stop using them. Turn off the breaker for the circuit to prevent a dangerous situation. Call a professional electrician to determine the problem and make repairs.
Outlets that are Warm to the Touch
No electrical outlet or light switch should feel hot to the touch, even when an appliance is in use. Slight warming could occur as electrical current passes through, but a hot switch is an indicator of faulty wiring and electrical problems at home.
If you notice a hot outlet, unplug any appliance and use another outlet. Turn any hot light switch to the off position. Turn the circuit breaker off that controls the faulty receptacle. Get a licensed electrician in to correct the issue before you use the outlet again.
Tripping Circuit Breakers
If you have issues with circuit breakers tripping in your home, don’t keep resetting the breaker. A tripping breaker is a sign that something is wrong. The circuit breaker’s job is to stop the flow of electricity when overloads or short-circuits occur.
Overloading a circuit with too many appliances (which happens often in the kitchen) will cause a circuit to trip. Remove appliances from the circuit and have an electrician add an additional circuit to the room where the problem occurs.
Another reason a breaker might trip is a short along the circuit’s wiring. This short may be inside a junction box, behind a wall, or at outlets and switches. Sometimes, it’s the circuit breaker that is bad. Breakers don’t last forever but are critical safety devices. Don’t delay having an electrician replace them if they are worn out.
Smelling Burning Wood or Plastic is One of the Signs of an Electrical Problem
If you notice an odd smell of burning plastic or wood and cannot locate the source, you may have a short circuit. Shorts can be from an old or shoddy wiring job, or from nicking wires with a screw or nail while hanging a picture.
Shorts cause the wires to overheat and eventually melt through the protective plastic coating. These wires can catch fire and cause damage to your home. Call an electrician for repairs.
Old Wiring Can Cause Electrical Problems.
If you live in a home over 50 years old that hasn’t had a wiring update, an electrical fire is a concern. Decades-old wiring was not designed to withstand the amperage flow of today’s homes. Modern appliances draw a lot of power and we’re plugging in more devices. Old wiring can quickly overheat, which leads to fires.
If one of your electrical concerns is old wiring, hire an electrician to rewire your home. A professional will replace all switches and outlets to meet today’s safety standards.