Did you know that there are about 51,000 electrical fires every year? That is partly because many let the electrical wiring in their house go too long without proper, regular maintenance. In reality, many of us do not think much about our home’s electricity. Light’s flicker, and circuits trip all the time. That is what houses do, right? While that is technically true, most local electricians have a different view.
There are instances where these common household problems could be warning signs to something potentially dire. We’ve put together a list of the most common indicators you’ve probably experienced in your home already that might be a sign of a more serious issue.
1. Circuit Trips
Do you find yourself regularly visiting your circuit breaker box? It is probably time to call an electrician if you notice that your circuit breaker keeps tripping. There are many reasons a breaker can be tripped, but the most common household reason is when more than one major appliance is connected to the same breaker.
For instance, the microwave and coffee pot may work on the same electrical circuit. If you run both simultaneously, it could cause the circuit to trip and turn everything off. Since the coils in your coffee pot and the power of the microwave are both higher when they are initially turned on, when both draw at the same time it can trip their mutual breaker.
While this can happen from time to time, it should not be a common occurrence. Once in a blue moon is perfectly normal, but any breaker regardless of circumstance should not be tripped regularly unless there is an underlying issue.
Continuous trips to your breaker box may point to more critical electrical issues. When this keeps happening, be sure to call local electricians in the area.
2. Flickering Lights
The next sign to watch out for is flickering lights. Once again, everyone’s lights flicker from time to time. You will know there is an issue if your lights blip in and out every day.
A great example is if your lights flicker when you use appliances. Let’s say that you use the vacuum or turn on a blender and your lights go on and off or noticeably dim, you might have a problem. The issue is not always related to your home, it could be on the utility’s end. What is happening here in non-technical terms is that to power your appliance, power is being taken away from the lighting.
You can always check to see what else is using the same outlet or breaker. Like we said, too many things running at once will sap the electrical energy from your lights. If this is a constant problem, do not let it go unattended.
Quick Side Note: If you have not yet evaluated your lighting for power savings, this would be a great time!
3. Burning Smell
You know it’s time to call a certified electrician when you smell something ‘electrical’ burning in your home. That is a red flag, and you should always take immediate action before a fire starts.
First, while it may seem silly, make sure to investigate your kitchen for incidental burning during cooking. Also, check to see if you have anything like hair dryers or curling irons resting on something that could melt or burn. We don’t want to understate the importance here, but it is best to check for some simple, more common causes of the smell.
What does an electrical burning smell… smell like? The most common smell is going to be something like melting plastic. Although there are two other distinct smells to be on the lookout for: A light burning hair smell and a ‘Fishy’ smell. Both can also be caused by an electrical issue in your home.
However, when there is a burning smell that you can’t easily explain that means your home’s internal wiring is possibly malfunctioning or sparking. If this happens, turn the power off to your home and see if the smell subsides.
Next, you want to dial emergency services and have the fire department check your house for any signs of a fire. After you take those vital steps, you can call an electrician to come out on the same day to inspect your home and fix the problem.
4. Warm Outlets
Never use an outlet that is distinctly warm to the touch. It is normal to have some mild warmth from items drawing power. But, if the outlet itself is warm to the point of concern, then it could be something more serious. If so, unplug everything from that outlet and any others around your home.
A good habit to form would be to regularly feel what is ‘normal’ for your outlets. It sounds silly we know, but when you’re plugging or unplugging in something to an outlet just be mindful. This will not only help you establish a baseline but can be a sure way to notice an outlet that should be checked out by an electrician.
Warm outlets often signal that the wires behind the wall are beginning to burn. For an added precaution, you should turn off your electricity until an electrician can come out.
5. Electric Shocks
Lastly, you want to call an electrician if you receive electrical shocks when plugging things into your outlets. Though small zaps may seem innocent, there may come a time when they send out a large burst of electrical current.
Many people suffer injuries and fatalities from electrical shocks. That is not something to take lightly and should be dealt with promptly.
That being said, don’t be too alarmed at normal arcing when plugging or unplugging appliances. Seeing a normal arc and FEELING it are vastly different. Anything more than your typical static shock should be looked at by a local electrician.
It’s not always just an outlet that can cause shocks. Shorts or exposed wires that are touching other conducting materials can be extremely hazardous. If you feel electricity or are shocked when touching things that shouldn’t have electricity running through them, you likely have a serious problem on your hands.
Always be mindful of exposed wires or other avenues for electrical shocks!
Hire Local Electricians
As you can tell, there are several signs to watch out for when it comes to your home’s electric wiring. Hiring local electricians will ensure you navigate anything riskier to you, your family, and your house.
If you require Jacksonville Electricians, Thompson Electric and Air is here to help. We employ certified electricians who will come to your home and fix the problem before a more critical issue arises. If you live in Jacksonville, FL, please feel free to contact us today.