How often do you actually think about electricity? Do you picture the circuits and wiring in the walls and floor of your home? Probably not. It’s like the sun. We know it’s there even when we can’t see it and just assume it’s going to work.
You flip a switch for light. You push power, and DING – hot chicken noodle soup comes out of your microwave (or anything you want warmed). You pull out the blow dryer and the hot air starts styling you up. We almost take electricity for granted.
However, there’s always a chance for an electrical problem. Most of the time the risks come from the age of the wiring, worn down circuits, or over-exhaustion of your system with big appliances. Sure you might trip a circuit here and there with your blow dryer or vacuum cleaner by accident, but if it keeps happening on a regular basis you should not ignore it. There are a few signs that alert you to possible electrical problems that you need to address immediately to avoid bigger problems.
If you hear crackling or sizzling coming from your outlets, appliances or switches, it’s not the other-side calling like in Stranger Things. If you hear a buzzing you want to turn off your electricity to that area of your home and call a licensed electrician right away. All outlets and switches in your home should be silent.
Modern homes have electrical systems with circuit breakers designed to trip if a circuit becomes overloaded. If a circuit keeps tripping that means you are probably putting too much electrical use on it and your home might need more circuits to account for the energy needed. When the circuit trips and shuts down it’s a defense mechanism designed to prevent electrical wiring from burning or getting too hot. Frequent circuit breaker tripping is a sign to call an electrician immediately to take a look. Trying to decipher what’s happening inside of an electrical panel requires a professional with licensed knowledge. One issue could present a real danger, like an electrical fire, so you need someone who knows what to look for.
Whether you believe in ghosts or it’s Friday the 13th you should still consider flickering lights to be more of a defective bulb issue than an exorcism. If you see multiple lights flickering or dimming in your home this could be a wiring issue. If the flickering and dimming is limited to one light in particular, it could just be the fixture that needs addressing. Either way you should call an electrician to consult the issue right away and leave the Ghostbusters out of it. Faulty or incorrect wiring could also affect your electrical outlets and switch plates. If your outlets or switch plates feel hot, the wiring could have an issue inside or be worn down and unsafe. Obviously, an electrical current is always flowing through your outlets so if they feel a little warm that’s normal but they should never feel like you could roast s’mores. It is also
important to mention that when checking the outlets for heat, do not stick your fingers directly in the outlet sockets or you will be in for a shock, instead feel the switch plates for abnormally warm temperatures.
While some burning smells may smell good, like s’mores, you need to be careful if there is a burning smell coming from an outlet or your electrical panel. If you notice a burning smell coming from either, you should turn off the electrical panel’s power immediately. A burning plastic smell is very common prior to an electrical fire. It can be difficult to sometimes track where the smell is coming from but the odor should never be overlooked. If you can’t find the location of the smell, cut electricity to the entire room and call an electrician.
Sometimes a burning smell comes with sparking from an electrical outlet, breaker panel, or fuse box. If you visually see sparks this could mean a problem with either the outlet or circuit. If you hear a popping sound along with the sparks it often indicates a wiring issue. Turn off the electrical panel’s power immediately. Call a licensed electrician and have this addressed right away to avoid serious problems.
There are a lot of DIYs and Life Hacks out there for different household projects but electricity is serious stuff. If you don’t know what you are doing you can get injured, injure someone else, or lay the plans for a massive disaster in the future.
If you experience any of the above, please give us a call. We are here to help. All of our electricians are licensed and professionally trained and tested. Keep your family and home safe with Accurate.