One of the things to consider about electrical safety is to take a look at your existing equipment and call an electrician if you see problems. That is to do safety checks before any major incidents happen inside a property due to malfunctioning or defective electrical devices.
Some houses already have fire sprinklers and smoke alarms that either alert occupants or help suppress fires. However, residential building electrical fires can be difficult to manage once they blow up. Data from FEMA shows that residential building electrical fires are caused by various electrical installations, which include:
- 43% electrical failure and malfunction
- 23% short-circuit arc with no specific cause
- 11% short-circuit arc due to worn or defective insulation
While electricity is vital in our homes, it’s important to be aware of maintaining safety. Using electricity carries with it the risk of either starting a fire, causing injuries, or other incidents. For your peace of mind, it’s best to check for warning signs that allow you to prevent any electrical-related incidents from happening in the first place.
What Are the Common Issues That Electricians Usually Watch Out For?
Electricians are more knowledgeable when it comes to checking electrical installations. They can spot if there are problems with the devices, wiring, and appliances inside your house. Some of the common issues that electricians recommend to watch out for as warning signs are as follows.
1. Visible Sparks
Sparks can be visible in the wiring when you connect to an outlet or turn on an appliance. This could mean that there is a short-circuiting, a sign that the device is already hazardous. It may also happen if the live wires from an outlet touch the ground wiring.
Plugging a socket with sparks could mean faulty wiring. The sparks can cause fires or burn one’s skin. You may need to replace the device that already has sparks.
2. Blowing Fuses
The purpose of a fuse is to blow up once there’s a surge in demand. The fuse can blow up due to using several appliances at once or multiple devices to an outlet via an extension cord. If the fuse blows up and the circuit breaker trips frequently, this might mean that they are damaged.
Don’t go near the fuse box after they have blown up or if your circuit breaker trips. The fuse panel will need replacement or change to a modern circuit breaker for your safety.
3. Flickering Lights
Flickering or the erratic turning on and off of the lights is a sign that your lighting fixtures may need to be replaced. It may also be that the electricity supply or distribution is unstable.
The common cause of flickering lights is the bulb that is already defective. Another would be appliances that consume large amounts of power upon starting up, causing the voltage to drop momentarily. The light bulb may need replacement if it’s the cause of flickering lights, or you may need a more stable power supply.
4. Humming or Buzzing Sounds
You may hear strange sounds that you can’t outright identify the source of. This could be humming or buzzing from the electrical devices installed on your property.
The electrical hum or buzz can be due to overloaded wires, a bad wiring connection, or a grounded wire that’s not installed properly. An electrician can assess the sounds and determine their cause. They may fix the wiring or other devices that are causing the humming and buzzing sound.
5. Older Home and Systems
Older homes are more prone to incidents with their outdated electrical systems. There are newer, more advanced, and safer electrical installations.
Some old homes have a knob-and-tube wiring system, while others have copper wiring installed. The wiring installation can be unsafe due to the wear and tear from the years of usage. Thus, the need to update them to modern options.
6. Not Enough Outlets
Using too many extension cords due to a lack of accessible outlets is hazardous as you may unknowingly overload the outlets. If you’re also remodeling your property, you will have to consider the number of outlets you need for the new remodel.
Plugging in too many appliances to an extension cord to the outlet can overload and bring the power demand higher. This can cause the circuit breaker to trip and can be hazardous. You may need to add more outlets that will meet the demand.
7. Burning Smell
Any smoking or burn-like smells are a tell-tale sign that something is wrong with any of your electrical fixtures. The circuitry and wiring inside could already be unknowingly burning.
Once you notice any burning smell, you must call an electrician to inspect the wiring and other electrical equipment installed. They could already be damaged without you knowing.
8. Tingling or Shocks
Have you ever noticed a tingling feeling or a bit of electrical shock when coming in contact with appliances or connecting to an outlet? This could be a sign of damage inside.
Minor tingling is a sign that the electricity is already leaking. Experiencing shocks can be hazardous as the person may fall or lose consciousness from extreme electrical shocks. An electrician can assess the problem which causes the tingling or shock from the electrical installation inside your property.
9. Outlet Feels Warm To Touch
Electrical outlets have protective barriers that provide insulation whenever one connects appliances. If they feel warm or hot when you touch them, it may indicate overloading of the outlet.
Once the electrical outlet feels warm to the touch, this could be a sign that the outlet is already overworked. You might be plugging too many appliances or have a higher voltage demand.
10. A High Electric Bill
Having an electric bill that’s higher than the usual – even without adding any appliances – can mean there’s an unknown surge or demand for electricity.
You could be having a higher phantom power or standby power. This is the amount of electricity that you’re wasting when electronic devices and appliances are plugged in despite not using them.
Does Any of These Happen?
If any of the warning signs happen to any of your electrical systems, it’s best to call a licensed electrician. They will be the ones to assess the situation professionally and recommend proper actions – be it repairs or replacement. The electrician will also be the one to fix or replace the electrical installations. From wiring to any equipment that is damaged and hazardous already to use inside your home, you have to call an electrician for safety.
Seek the help of a professional and call an electrician to know what’s the best approach to make your property safe. Don’t wait until your devices and appliances have already caused a problem.
Ensuring the safety of your property comes with preventive maintenance. Instead of waiting for a fire, injury, or other incidents to happen, it’s better to be proactive in keeping the house safe against malfunctioning electrical devices.
You can have a safer residence by having an electrician check your wiring, panels, and devices. Your property will be in safer hands with an electrician who is licensed to inspect, do repairs and conduct maintenance. In Minnesota, you can find skilled and licensed electricians from among the reputable contractors at Power Partner MN. The professional electricians from Power Partner MN go through proper skills training, making them adept in electrical safety and maintenance activities.