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Stay Safe at Home: Identifying Signs of Electrical Problems and How to Address Them

Updated: May 24, 2023

Did you know that in the United States, electrical problems are the second top cause of house fires? Yes, the National Fire Prevention Association says that a large number of these fires are caused by faulty electrical distribution, such as wires and breaker boxes. That's a pretty scary number, but the good news is that you can do things to make sure it doesn't happen in your home.

One of the best things you can do is learn the signs that your electricity system is getting old. If you notice these signs early, you can take care of problems before they get worse.

Here are some things to keep an eye out for:

Frequent Circuit Breaker Trips: If your circuit breaker keeps tripping, it means that there might be a problem with your wires or electrical panel. This is especially true if you are using the same wiring for more than one thing. Panels that are too old might not be able to keep up with the needs of homes today. Getting a 200 amp electrical panel is a good idea if you want to put in new items.

Frayed wire: Frayed wire can start a fire or give you an electric shock, so it's important not to ignore it. During a remodeling job, if you see frayed wiring, you should call an electrician right away.

Dimming Lights: It's normal for your lights to flash during a storm, but if they do it on a normal day, it could mean that your home's electrical wiring needs to be updated. Your home may not be able to handle the extra energy it needs if it has old wiring.

Smoke and Discoloration at the Outlet: If you smell smoke or see smoke in your home, you need to move right away. If there are scorch lines on an outlet, it could mean that the wiring inside is loose, which could cause an arc. Until an electrician comes, it's best to unplug everything.

Warm outlets that vibrate: A good outlet should feel cool to the touch. If you feel heat or a vibration near an outlet, it could mean that the wire is broken. Don't put off fixing this problem, because a cord plugged into the wire could start a fire.

Strange Sounds Coming from Plugs and Fixtures: If an outlet or light bulb makes buzzing or sizzling sounds, it could be a sign of bad wiring. Even though changing the bulb might fix the problem, it's best to have an electrician look at it to be sure.

Old Aluminum wire: If your house was built in the late 1960s or early 1970s, it may have aluminum wire. Research shows that houses with aluminum wiring are more than 50 times more likely to be damaged by fire. You might want to switch to copper wire, which can handle heat better.

If you're not sure about the condition of your home's electrical system, don't be afraid to book a professional home safety inspection. During our electrical checks, we look for and fix problems and safety risks with your home's wiring, panel, GFCI protection, and more. By taking steps to make sure your house and family are safe from electrical fires, you can help protect your home and family.


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