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Warning Signs of Electrical Problems Every Homeowner Needs to Know

Electrical problems around your home are one of the scariest issues to deal with. We rely on electricity for most things in our lives, but of course, we all know that it can also be very dangerous when things go wrong.

Find out the warning signs that could point to more significant electrical issues in your house below. And remember, we do not recommend that homeowners attempt to fix these problems themselves unless they have a high degree of electrical competency and are familiar with current code requirements. Contact a licensed professional to perform an inspection and complete safe repairs if you are ever in doubt or just want to make sure it is done right.

  • Circuit Breaker Issues
    It's not a big concern when your circuit breaker trips; that's what it was designed to do! It will shut off power whenever the system is overloaded, and, in most cases, you can switch it back on. But, if your circuit breaker is frequently tripping (a few times a month or more), then it's a sign that you have a more significant, potentially dangerous issue in your home's electrical wiring. Or you are merely overloading that circuit with too many high-energy appliances. In that case, you may need to change the appliances' location or have an electrician upgrade your circuit breaker.

  • Flickering Lights
    Feeling like you're in a haunted house isn't just a nuisance. Flickering lights usually point to a loose electrical connection. If it's only one light fixture, then it's likely a simple problem that an electrician can fix with one visit. But, if multiple lights are flickering or you're noticing the problem throughout your house, it's more likely a problem with the circuit, breaker box, or the utility drop outside your house. Hire an electrician to troubleshoot this problem with you.

  • Pests
    Unwanted rodents are a problem all their own, but if you notice droppings around your house, be on the lookout for more than just the pests themselves. Rodents love to chew on wiring, and damaged wiring is both a shock and fire hazard. If you have pest issues in your home, keep an eye out for malfunctioning outlets or visible chewed wires.

  • Hot Ceiling Fixtures
    Of course, your lightbulbs will emit some heat. But they should never be so hot that they would burn you. Lights can become this hot when the incorrect bulbs are installed, or there is too much wattage. Make sure you've got the compatible wattage bulb to your fixture first. If that isn't the issue and your fixture is still too hot to the touch, it could build up to dangerous levels, so you should contact an electrician to troubleshoot.

  • Outlets not Working
    It's annoying if you have a "dead" outlet in your home, but it points to an electrical problem that should be inspected. If outlets aren't working, the wiring behind them may be loose, or the device may be cracked internally. This can lead to shock risks when someone tries to plug in an appliance.

  • Burning Odors
    The smell of burning or smokey odors anywhere near your outlets or electrical panel means that fire damage has likely already begun in your home. This is a dangerous and immediate issue that you should have checked out right away to avoid a more significant electrical fire that can cause property damage.

  • Discoloration on Outlets
    You may not smell burning yet, but if you notice discoloration or what looks like scorch marks on an outlet, then it's a sign that the wiring is damaged and heat is escaping. Again, this is an immediate issue and should be dealt with right away to avoid electrical fires.

If you see any of the signs above, we strongly recommend that you schedule a consultation with a licensed electrician instead of trying a DIY. Licensed electricians can help diagnose the problem and create a safe solution.


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