Dangerous Electrical and Wiring Problems in Your Home!
In any home there are often obvious signs of repairs that need to be made. When you switch on your furnace during the winter and the rooms stay freezing cold, you know the pilot light has gone out or the filter needs attention. When your water heater is on but you only get cold water in the shower, it obviously needs repair or replacing. But what about electrical and wiring problems in your home? Very often the signs of these areas needing repair are not so obvious. Even electricians will tell you that everything may seem to be functioning normally but behind the walls, dangerous problems with wiring and connections await!
Look for Subtle Signs of Trouble
While the signs of electrical problems may not be obvious, there are often subtle hints at trouble that every homeowner should be aware of. For example:
- There should never be any noise coming from your electrical system. This means no cackling or crackling, hissing, or sizzling sounds.
- An electrical system in good repair will not have any smells. A burning smell is especially dangerous when it comes to electricity and wiring.
- Your electrical system and wiring should never be hot to the touch.
- Lights should never flicker consistently or dim when you turn on electrical appliances.
- Plugs should not fit loosely in the sockets.
Many of these symptoms are signs of poor wiring or loose wiring connections behind the walls, which often happens as homes contract and expand over the years. While these can be normal especially in older homes, these signs should not be ignored! They can lead to more wiring issues in your fixture boxes and problems behind your switches and other electrical receptacles. If ignored for too long this poor wiring can also lead to shorts and electrical fires.
There are two ways your circuit breakers can tell you if you have electrical issues. One is if the breakers are tripping all the time and the other is if they never seem to trip at all!
If you are constantly tripping your breakers so that they switch off, this is a symptom of consistent overloading of the circuits which in turn can be damaging to your wires and overall system. Consider moving larger appliances to a different circuit or rewiring your home for more power in certain areas.
If your circuit breakers never trip, this can be a sign of inadequate protection from the breakers themselves. This is especially true in older homes that have outdated wiring, as these homes were not meant to provide power for all of the appliances typically used today. Over-fused circuits are those that have breakers that are too large and which don’t trip even when overwhelmed.
Most electricians will agree that everyone will trip their circuits from time to time, so if you are running several large appliances yet never seem to trip your circuits, and especially if you live in an older home, you might consider an inspection of your breaker box.
Know Your Wiring
If you live in an older home it’s good to know about the wiring behind your walls. Some types of wiring are so outdated that they’re obsolete and even dangerous. Knob-and-tube wiring that was standard before 1940 and aluminum wiring that was popular in the 1960s are both dangerous as they can easily start fires, especially if they’re overloaded by supporting too many appliances or have been allowed to fray over the years. An electrician can inspect your wiring and determine the type and if it’s too old for your home and if it poses any type of fire hazard.
Advice for Homeowners
While a homeowner should never try to do any electrical work on their own, they can do some simple checks to ensure their wiring is updated and working properly. Note how the lights work; they should come on immediately when the switch is flipped, and should never make noise. Make note of any smells or warm areas around outlets. It’s also good to trip the breakers every month to ensure they work properly.
Having a full inspection of your wiring by a licensed electrician is also recommended especially for older homes. Investing in new wiring or a new breaker box is the safest choice, as it means having the power you need for your home and keeping it safe as well. Ignoring wiring and electrical problems is never a good idea as these are not problems that will simply fix themselves, and will typically only get worse over time!
Take the time to understand the wiring and electrical system in your home and invest in repairs and upgrades when needed, so that your home is well-supported and your family is safe from fires and other electrical hazards.
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