Electrical problems can lead to dangerous and costly situations. Understanding the warning signs that you need an electrician before there's a problem will save you countless dollars in the long run. In the United States, there are hundreds of thousands of electrical fires every year. In almost every situation, these fires would have been avoidable if the homeowner had been aware of the signs of a needed electrical repair.
Take some time to become familiar with the following warning signs. Then, keep an eye out for them in your house. If you spot any of these warning signs, contact a licensed electrician immediately. Please, do not attempt to repair any issues yourself. Electrical issues are no time for do-it-yourself projects.
- Frequent circuit breaker trips. Keep track of how often your home circuit breaker trips. If it's occasional, it's functioning normally and protecting your electrical system from being overloaded. However, if it begins to happen regularly, you may be in the midst of a more serious problem.
- Flickering or buzzing lights. Flickering and buzzing lights are a sign of outdated electrical wiring. If you notice that your lights dim or flicker when you use another appliance, like a microwave, this is a sign that the entire electrical system needs to be upgraded.
- Frayed wiring. Rodents are a common cause of electrical problems. They've been known to chew on wires, leaving them exposed and open. A frayed wire is an extreme fire hazard. You need a professional to inspect any frayed wires and repair them as soon as possible.
- Discoloration or smoke. Watch the outlets throughout your home. Do you see any discoloration around them that might indicate there was an electrical shock? Even worse, do you see any smoke coming out of your outlets? Do not attempt to open the outlet yourself; call a professional. If left unchecked, these issues can lead to an electrical fire.
- Odd smells. Do you smell something strange in your home? Odors are a common sign of an electrical issue. If you smell smoke (and nobody is cooking), contact a professional immediately. Sometimes you'll be able to tell that the smoke smell is coming from an outlet, or from your circuit breaker itself. Smelling smoke is indicative of an electrical problem that requires repair.
If you've noticed any of the above warning signs, contact an electrician in your area immediately. Tell them what you've noticed and request a visit as soon as possible.