The electrical system is one of the most important features of a home, but it's often ignored. Many homeowners fail to discover a problem until a tragedy occurs. Every year, more than 50,000 homeowners are faced with an electrical fire.
You don't have to be a part of this group. Rarely does an electrical fire appear out of the blue. There are warning signs that some people just don't recognize. Learn how to tell if your electrical system is trying to give you a warning.
Buzzing and Flickering Lights
When turning on a light, the only reaction you should experience is illumination. If you hear a buzzing sound or the light flickers, this is a problem, even if these signs eventually stop. These red flags are often indicative of a home that has a wiring system that is not equipped to meet its current electrical demand.
When a home needs to be rewired varies, but having the system inspected every 10 years is a safe starting point. It's helpful to mention that if you have LED bulbs, a small amount of buzzing is often normal. However, if the intensity of the sound increases, it's still wise to investigate further.
Discolored or Warm Outlets
Another way to tell if your home is operating off an outdated or overloaded electrical system is to look at the outlets. An outlet that is discolored, has scorch marks or is warm to the touch is sending a warning message. This is an especially common problem in homes with excessive electrical cord usage. A common misconception is the idea that an extension cord adds power.
The capacity of the outlet does not change simply because you plug in an extension cord. Even if you're fortunate enough not to experience any damaged outlets, if you find yourself having to use extension cords excessively, this is also an indication that it may be time for rewiring.
Frequent Breaker Trips
Whenever there is too much power or current flowing, the circuit breaker will trip, shutting off all power. This is an important safety measure that prevents a power overload. In the average home, the circuit breaker should only trip rarely. If you're experiencing frequent trips, this could be the result of a short circuit.
A short circuit occurs when a neutral and active wire touch, causing the current flow to increase drastically and is often the result of faulty, or damaged, wiring within an electrical switch, appliance or another electrical device.
It's important to understand that as the current flow increases, so does the amount of heat generated. In some instances, the increase in temperature will result in smoke and, in other cases, fire.
If you start to notice signs of damaged wiring in your home, this could mean that you have some uninvited guests. Mice and other rodents commonly chew away the outer layer of electrical wiring known as the insulation. Without insulation, the active wire is exposed, which can lead to a short circuit and fire.
Even if you're lucky enough to avoid a fire, should anyone come in contact with the live wire, this can lead to electrical shock. For pets and small children, electrical shock can be especially dangerous, if not fatal. In addition to electrical repairs, you want to have a pest control professional come to your home to investigate further.If you're experiencing an electrical-related problem, this is not the time to procrastinate. When an electrical system is not functioning correctly, it can fail at any time, putting your home and most importantly, your family at risk. Alpha Omega Electric is standing by to address your electrical concerns.