Electrical Problems at Home: The Warning Signs

An electrical problem is no minor issue. In fact, it can lead to serious issues.Whether you own a home or are looking to buy a new one, you should know how to identify electrical problems. These warning signs can get you started on identifying some of the more common electrical problems at home. If you identify them quickly enough, you may be able to prevent real trouble.

1. Old circuit breakers

If you have a home that was built between the 1950s and 1990, you may have an issue with your circuit breaker. During that period, a company called Federal Pacific manufactured faulty Stab-Lok electrical panels. Check your home to see if you have Stab-Lok circuit breaker or panel. If you do, you need to have an electrician examine it. There may be a problem that needs immediate attention.

2. Tripping breakers

While a circuit breaker can trip without signifying electrical problems, a breaker that trips regularly is a sign of a bigger problem. The interior of your electrical panel is not an area that you should examine. If your breaker trips repeatedly, you should have an electrician examine it. He may need to replace a breaker or fuse. However, attempting to do this on your own can lead to a house fire.

Keep in mind that breakers can trip for other reasons. For example, breakers commonly trip when you overload a circuit. If this occurs, you can turn off the electrical supply to the outlet. Then, you can find a way to stop the overload. Another common cause of a tripped breaker is age and overloads. If a breaker trips, you can plug the electrical appliance into another circuit. The only sign of a major issue is a breaker that continues to trip.

3. A shock from an appliance

Although shocks can happen for a variety of reasons, a shock from an appliance is a warning sign of electrical problems. You may have improper wiring of a ground fault. If you do, you need an electrician to fix the problem. An electrical shock is no minor issue. You need someone to look at the problem before it gets worse.

Before you rush to call the electrician, you should make sure there’s no other cause for the shock. If you have a carpet and rub your feet on it before you touch an appliance, you may be experiencing a static shock. Avoid crossing the carpet and try touching the appliance again. If you don’t experience a shock, there may not be an issue with your wiring.

4. Hot ceiling fixtures

It is possible for a house fire to start as a result of a ceiling light fixture. However, this only occurs when your light fixtures do not have the proper insulation or the appropriate bulb. Check your ceiling light fixtures and see how warm they feel. If they feel warm, you should check the bulbs. Make sure the bulb is not higher than the recommended wattage. If the wattage isn’t an issue, you should call an electrician to check the insulation. Doing so could prevent a fire.

5. Lights that flicker

Flickering lights don’t always mean electrical problems. In some cases, your lights may flicker due to a loose bulb or a defective bulb. When you notice a flicker in your light, replace the bulb. If the light continues to flicker, you have a problem. You could have a faulty light fixture, loose connections to your light fixture, or loose breaker box connections. In any of those cases, you need an experienced electrician. It takes someone who has skill in electrical repairs to diagnose the problem and fix it.

6. A burning smell- one of the biggest signs of electrical problems

When you have an electrical issue, the biggest concern is fire. When you smell something burning in your outlets or light switches, that concern could become real. The moment you smell burning, you should turn off the power at the electrical panel. Then, you should call an emergency electrician. If you don’t, you risk a fire starting in your home.

A burning smell is a sign of an electrical fire. Besides calling the electrician, you should make sure that you don’t use the outlet or switch until an electrician repairs it. If your receptacle or a plug in a receptacle is warm, you should take the same precautions. There may be a fire or a major electrical problem.

While you might have the same concerns about a spark, sparks are more common. When you first plug in an appliance, you might notice a spark. This shouldn’t concern you until it becomes a regular issue. When sparks occur often, you might have an issue with your circuit or outlet. A spark combined with a popping sound is a sign of a loose wire.

If you have any electrical problems in your home, you should contact your electrician. Any concerns are valid concerns, and your diligence could save you from a major headache.