According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, home electrical systems are responsible for an estimated 53,600 fires every year. This results in more than 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage. These facts should be enough to concern anyone who lives in a home 40 years or older – especially one without a recorded or resent safety inspection. However, there are several signs that your home’s electrical wiring might need to be replaced or repaired. If you are experiencing any of these problems, remember that your electrical system requires the attention of an experienced professional. While there are some home maintenance or repair issues that you might be able to tackle as a DIY project, electrical wiring isn’t one them.
Review the list below and contact the experts at Universal if you are experiencing any of these problems:
Burn Marks – If an outlet or switch in your home is warm to the touch or appears to be discolored or burnt, those are indications of unsafe wiring. Discoloring from a hot wire can happen slowly over time and might go unnoticed for weeks or months. Take stock of all the outlets and switches throughout your home, focusing on the plate color. If the color is slightly off anywhere, investigate further for warmth or frayed/compromised wiring behind the plate.
Smoking Outlets – Because most of a home’s wiring is hidden, sometimes the first signal of a burning wire is the outlet. A smoking outlet should be investigated by a qualified technician immediately.
Tripped Circuit Breakers –If you experience tripped circuit breakers on a continuous basis, this could indicate a variety of issues. A circuit could be overloaded, which might require a circuit breaker replacement, a panel replacement or upgrade. But it might also indicate a more pervasive wiring problem. A full system assessment is the best way to get to the root of the issue.
Dimming Lights – When you turn on the lights in your home, do they sometimes dim or flicker? Do lights dim in the kitchen when an appliance is turned on? These could be signs of defective wiring. But the good news is that the issue might be contained to a specific area/circuit that could be fixed without a major rewiring project.
Loose Connections – Sometimes the connections between a wire and an outlet/switch will loosen, causing problems with the current flow. This might give the impression that the switch or outlet is completely dead or that the wiring is frayed. Does the outlet or switch sometimes work? If the power flow is inconsistent, it is probably a loose connection. Remove the plate to check the wiring (or have a professional electrician investigate).
Rodents – Does your home show evidence of mice, rats or squirrels? In addition to the myriad problems associated with rodents, they can also wreak havoc on an electrical system. Rodents can chew through wires and can completely compromise a home’s wiring. After you have hired the exterminator, call an electrician to assess any damage they might have made.
Buzzing or Sizzling Noises – A light fixture or outlet should not make a noise when turned on. If you hear a buzzing or sizzling noise when using one, this is an indication that something is awry with the wiring.
Damaged Wires – Though most wiring is hidden behind the walls in your home, there are a few instances where the wires might be visible. If you see frayed or damaged wiring in a pantry, crawlspace or cabinet area, have a technician check it out immediately.
Be mindful of the signs that your electrical wiring might be failing. It is important to catch a problem early – before a hazardous situation or expensive repair presents itself. If you find any of the issues listed here, make sure that you contact Universal right away. Our professional electricians can assess the problem and offer solutions for repair or replacement. Call us at (713) 364-0226 today to schedule an appointment!