Electrical injuries land up to 10,000 people in US emergency departments each year. Many of these electrical shock or burn injuries occur in none other than homes.
That’s why you should never ignore electrical problems you experience at home. It’s even more important if you have kids, as one in five of all electrical injuries happens to them.
On that note, we came up with this guide listing the signs of electrical issues you need to pay attention to. Read on to discover what they are, what they mean, and what you need to do if you experience them.
1. Electrical Code Violations
All 50 US states have adopted the National Electrical Code (NEC). The NEC sets the minimum standards that make electrical systems safe and effective. These codes protect people and property from the dangers of electrical malfunctions.
The NEC gets revised every three years, though, since the way we use electricity changes, too. For that reason, many existing homes aren’t up to the latest codes. If you can’t remember the last time a master electrician came to your home, chances are, your home isn’t up to code.
While you won’t get arrested for that, it’s still a violation of state and local laws. More than that, an outdated electrical system puts you, your family, and your home at safety risks.
Aside from causing electrical injuries, aging electrical systems are also a fire hazard. In 2018, electrical malfunctions were behind an estimated 6.8% of home fires in the US. That should be a good enough reason to call in the experts to bring your home up to the latest code.
2. Blackouts in Certain Parts of Your Home
Your electrical panel consists of switches called circuit breakers. Each switch is responsible for a specific area, such as the living room, kitchen, or master bedroom. If you have a central HVAC system, there’s an independent circuit breaker for that too.
Aside from controlling the power supply, circuit breakers are also safety mechanisms. They protect electrical circuits from damage caused by excessive electrical currents.
When a circuit breaker trips, it cuts the flow of electricity to the area supplied by that circuit. As a result, all the lights and devices in the affected area go out at the same time.
Circuit breakers shouldn’t be tripping all the time, though, so if yours do, that’s a sign of a bigger issue. You might have a panel that’s too old that every little electrical spike triggers it. You may also have wiring defects that allow excessive current to flow through.
All these are the signs that warrant immediate inspection from the certified electrician of west harbour who has over 20 years of experience in this. Don’t put off getting electrical repairs for these issues, as they can trigger fires.
3. Dimming or Flickering Lights
LED lightbulbs can dim if you use an old dimmer switch designed for incandescent bulbs. Aging, loose, or faulty wiring can be behind your flickering lights, too. Incompatible sockets may also cause your LED lights to overheat, causing premature failure.
Either way, these lighting problems indicate electrical malfunctions. Get electrical services as soon as you can; otherwise, your pricey LED lights may all burn out sooner.
4. Loud and Odd Noises From the Electrical Panel
It’s normal for electrical panels to produce a faint humming sound. You may never even notice these sounds of flowing electricity unless it’s dead quiet.
If you start to hear loud buzzing, hissing, or crackling sounds, though, it’s time to call an electrician. These are signs of more serious issues, including overloaded circuits and short circuits. Faulty circuit breakers and ground faults may also produce these noises.
Live electricity is behind those noises, so please don’t touch your panel if you hear these sounds. You can get electrocuted if you touch it with your bare hands. Your safest bet is to pick up the phone and call an emergency electrical repair specialist.
5. Weird Odors From the Panel
A burning plastic smell from your electrical panel can indicate melted insulation. If you have an older panel, the weird odor could be from a burnt fuse. A smoky stench can also signal a bad circuit or wiring defects.
Shut down all your electrical appliances and unplug them as soon as you notice these smells. Then, contact an emergency electrician immediately after.
All those odors mean that something has burned or melted in your electrical system. You need to have them looked at and fixed before you start using your electronics again.
6. Switches and Outlets That Feel Really Warm
Dimmer switches can sometimes get warm, but they should never feel too hot to the touch. The same goes for any other light switch or wall outlet. If this happens, there could be faulty wires or loose terminals inside them.
Ask an electrician to inspect your switches and outlets as soon as possible. Otherwise, all that extra heat can cause them to fail early. The heat may even be enough to cause burn marks on them.
7. New Appliances Keep Tripping Your Breaker
An older panel that only provides 60 or 100 amps won’t be enough to power new appliances. This is especially true for power-hungry devices, such as freezers and air conditioners. Switching these on will pull a lot of electricity from your outdated panel and cause the breaker to trip.
The best way to address this is to upgrade to a 200-amp electrical panel. You need a licensed electrician for this, as it’s a major alteration of your electrical system.
Don’t Delay Getting These Electrical Problems Fixed
Almost everything in your home relies on electricity, from appliances to security systems. So, if your power goes out due to electrical problems, the rest of your home will take a hit, too. Worse, these malfunctions can trigger fires or cause electrical shocks.
So, for your safety and peace of mind, never ignore these signs of a faulty electrical system. Get in touch with a master electrician as soon as you can.
Ready for more tips to make your home safer and more livable? Then please check out our other education guides and resources!