5 Signs Your Home Needs Some Electrical Work
The electrical grid is one of the key components of your home. Yet most homeowners only think about their wiring when they notice signs of electrical problems in home.
Generally, houses can go a long time without requiring any wiring maintenance. However, ideally, every homeowner must run regular maintenance checks on home electrical wiring at least every three to five years. Electrical problems in house are extremely risky. It is one arena of house maintenance where you must give utmost importance and take the help of trained professionals. Otherwise, faulty electrical wiring carries the risk of electrocution, injuries, and even possible fire breakouts.
While deciding on how often you should get the electrical wiring of your home checked, consider the following factors—
- The age of your home
- When it has last been renovated
- The age of the home wiring
- If there has been any damage to the home
- If new heavy machines have been installed or fixtures have been upgraded
There are several other factors which may signal that your home needs some electrical work done.
Here Are 5 Common Scenarios Where You Might Need Electrical Work
1. Frequently Tripping Circuit Breakers
Circuit breakers are not meant to trip when you plug in a new device. If this happens, you need to get your electrical panel checked by certified electricians. Frequently tripping circuit breakers may lead to damaging and malfunctioning devices, and data loss, depending on what kinds of devices are plugged into the circuit at the time of the tripping.
The reasons for a circuit breaker tripping may be many, including the existing panel not being strong enough to bear the load of all your electrical equipment. With increasing upgrades to ‘smart’ devices including televisions, refrigerators, computers, and so on, earlier panels may not be suited to meet the present needs of the devices. You may need to update your electrical panel along with your devices.
It is also high time you get your electric panel checked if—
- Your panel is over 20 years old
- You notice tripping circuits
- You find lights flickering
- Your panel is heating up or rusting
- There are buzzing or other unusual sounds from the panel
2. Buzzing in the Walls
A buzzing sound in your walls immediately warrants a check. Many people tend to ignore buzzing in the walls assuming that the sound is being made by insects. While it may just be insects, it is equally likely to be signs of electrical problems in your home. A faulty wire usually makes a buzzing sound when the electricity flowing through it is disturbed where the wire has broken or has become loose.
How will you know if the buzzing sound in your walls is being caused by an electrical glitch? An easy way to determine whether it is caused by insects or faulty wiring is to note when the buzzing starts and ends. If the buzzing commences every time, you push a switch, it is being caused by some flaw in your home’s wiring.
It is all the more dangerous because you cannot see where the glitch has occurred. It is possible for people to get electrocuted if it remains unchecked. It may even lead to an electrical fire! The best thing to do in this situation is to immediately contact a certified electrician who will know how to check the electrical wiring in the home.
3. Shocks and Sparks
The electrical switches and outlets should not cause any problems during their use. They should be safe to the touch and should function smoothly when you plug in a device or flip a switch. If you notice sparks when plugging in an appliance or receive an electric shock from a switch, or even a small tingle, they may be the effects of faulty electrical wiring.
Loose outlets may be another cause for sparks from outlets. Similarly, loose switches can lead to shocks on being flipped too. If the slide mechanism or toggle lever of the switch becomes loose or does not function properly, then it is very probable that there has been wear and tear of the mechanical parts inside the switch. Also look out for switches being hot to the touch, making a buzzing sound, or exhibiting signs of burning or melting. If any of these occurs, then it is almost a sure sign that the switch is old or malfunctioning and needs to be changed immediately.
In case of sparks from outlets, it is possible for the plugged-in device to be malfunctioning instead of the outlet. Try to plug in a different appliance to check whether that is the case. If several appliances malfunction or you continue to notice sparks, contact an electrician to address electrical problems in the house and prevent electrocution or possible fires.
4. Lights that Don’t Work or are Dimmer than Normal
If there are several non-functional switches in your home, it is a sign that something may be up with your wiring. If the light refuses to turn on even after you have attempted to change the bulb, you need to get some electrical work done.
Non-functional switches indicate that there are damaged wires concealed in your walls. These faulty wires could be coming into contact with woodwork, metal pipes, and other wires without your knowledge, thereby posing several risks to your family and your home.
Dim lights, on the other hand, indicate that your circuit breaker may be overloaded. There is too much power trying to make way into your house but not enough of it is reaching the house lights. Flickering lights also signal this glitch in wiring or the presence of loose light plugs.
While it is normal for lights to dim or flicker during voltage fluctuations, if it becomes a frequent and/or regular occurrence, it is not good for your devices or your home. In such a scenario, you should get your wiring checked by a professional.
5. Obsolete Outlets and Damaged Electrical Wires
Obsolete electrical hardware can lead to several unnecessary problems. One of them that can easily be spotted even by untrained eyes is a faulty outlet. Discoloured, loose, and outdated outlets are extremely dangerous. They can cause electrocution and sparks when devices are plugged in. They may also cause fires and burns.
When moving into a new home, you must check all the power outlets. Two-port outlets are considered obsolete today and must be changed. This is because they are not grounded. In the occurrence of a power surge, your devices, circuit breaker, or even your home may be damaged! Modern outlets are safer as they are grounded using three ports and wire, thereby offering some protection against power surges.
Further, look out for discoloured outlets. Various factors can cause discolouration in power outlets including burning, short-circuiting, and faulty installation. Any visibly frayed wiring, loose or hanging wires, and/or damaged wiring must also be checked by certified electricians to ensure the safety of your home. If you are unsure of the safety of a wire, remember that a properly functional wire is not meant to buzz, spark, or smoke. If you notice any of these signs, never try to tackle the problem on your own. Electrical problems in house must always be sorted by a certified professional.
Keep Your Home Electrically Safe
In the post-pandemic world, many of us are still working from home and may be spending more time at home than usual. Knowledge of these basic signs of electrical problems in home can aid in preventing serious damage to appliances, the house, and even our lives. The electrical wiring of your home can last without glitches for more than 50 years. Therefore, it is a natural tendency to rest easy thinking that your home’s electrical wiring is perfectly safe. However, running regular maintenance checks on your wiring may help you prevent several minors and major electrical accidents. A stitch in time indeed often saves nine!
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