Electricity allows us to illuminate our house and power appliances and makes it easier to complete household tasks. However, faulty components shift your electrical system from convenience to a safety hazard. Electrical accidents cause thousands of fires in U.S. homes every year. It helps to know the warning signs of electrical problems so you can identify them and respond before an accident happens.
Signs the Indicate Electrical Problem
If there’s a strong burning smell, some wires likely have a short. This smell is caused by the melting of the plastic sheathing around electric wires. Switch off the power supply to the area immediately because your home is at risk of fire. Call an electrician to troubleshoot and repair the problem.
Sparkling Outlets are Signs of an Electrical Problem
If your power outlets produce sparks when you connect devices, you may have an electrical problem. Such outlets may have exposed wires that are causing the sparks. It may also be a sign of a power overload. To reduce the risk of fire or damage to your devices, call an electrician to inspect the outlets and fix the problem.
If your lights flicker, you may have a power surge issue. Power surges wear down electrical outlets and switches, making them prone to malfunction. First, disconnect the electrical devices on that circuit. Then call a certified electrician to determine the cause. He or she can tell you if you need to upgrade the wiring system in your home.
Shocks are Signs of Electrical Problems
If you experience shocks when you touch a switch, an outlet, or an electric device, you have an electrical issue. Shocks are a telltale sign of a problem somewhere in the system.
Short circuits can be caused by exposed wires coming into contact with another wire or metal. It may also be caused by the wiring system or attached devices coming into contact with liquids such as water from a plumbing leak. The first thing you should do is switch off power to the circuit. Hire a certified electrician to look at the problem.
If your power outlets produce a buzzing sound when you connect electrical devices, they may be faulty. The buzzing sound is caused by overheating or overload. Limit the number of devices using that outlet and call an electrician to determine if your system is overloaded. The electrician may propose an upgrade of the circuit system to provide sufficient electricity to power all the devices.
Problems with Circuit Breakers
If a breaker keeps tripping, it is a sign that the circuit is overloaded. Tripping is a built-in safety mechanism for preventing power surges. If the problem occurs repeatedly, call an electrician to determine if the system should be upgraded.