While you shouldn’t try to fix issues with your electric system yourself, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of electrical problems at home. If there is a problem with your home’s electrical system, address these issues immediately. When ignored, electrical issues can turn into major emergencies.
Signs of Electrical Problems in the Home
Though it can be tricky to identify potential electrical issues, there are a few signs that usually mean you have a problem somewhere in your electrical system.
1. Hot Outlets
Though most electrical appliances will generate some amount of heat as they operate, the outlet itself shouldn’t get hot. If you feel heat around an outlet, unplug any appliances from that power supply. Before using the outlet, troubleshoot the problem and make sure it is repaired.
2. Flickering Lights are One of the Signs of Electrical Problems
Flickering lights every now and then may seem normal to homeowners, but these may be signs of loose electrical connections. Make sure the bulb is tightened securely into the socket. If you have flickering lights throughout the house, you’re likely experiencing an issue with the breaker box. In this case, contact a licensed electrician.
3. Aluminum Wiring
Homes constructed in the 1960s and 1970s were often built with single-strand aluminum wiring. Builders used this type of wiring as a replacement for copper, but aluminum has its own issues. Aluminum oxidizes at a faster rate than copper, so this type of wiring is a fire risk. For this reason, aluminum wiring isn’t used anymore for branch-circuit wiring in homes. If your home has aluminum wiring, discuss your options with an electrician. In some cases, homeowners may be able to use specialized connectors while others will have to completely rewire their home.
4. Burning Smell
Another tell-tale sign of electrical problems at home is a burning smell. If you notice any sort of smell coming from an outlet or your walls, this is an indication that something is wrong. This burnt smell can mean that your electrical system is melting the plastic sheathing, which is a fire hazard.
5. Loose Outlets
Plugs should stay put when placed into an outlet. However, if you see that the outlets are loose, you have a potential problem on your hands. Loose outlets will cause the wires to shake free, eventually leading to sparks, shorts, and fire. Contact an electrician to get these loose outlets fixed.
6. Signs of Electrical Problems Include Rodent Activity
Rodent activity can mean trouble for your wiring. If you’ve noticed any rodent droppings around your walls or outlets, your wiring may be compromised. Rodents gnaw at wires, removing the protective coating. A yearly pest inspection is an important part of home maintenance. If you detect rodent activity, have your wiring inspected for damage.
Don’t ignore these common electrical problems at home. Repairing these issues now will prevent fire hazards and inconvenience.