The lights flickering or a circuit breaker tripping is bound to happen at some point. Although they may seem like innocent blips, that is not always the case. Small electrical issues around the home can be very serious, and if left untreated they may cause bodily harm or a fire. Here are five signs that your home's electrical system is on the fritz:
1. Repeated Circuit Breaker Trips
An occasional trip in your circuit breaker isn't anything to worry about. However, if this repeatedly occurs, it can become dangerous and start a fire. A circuit breaker will usually "trip" to prevent electrical overload. In most cases, resetting the breaker will restore power. However, sometimes it will continue to trip—or worse, completely stop functioning. If you notice that your circuit breaker is tripping repeatedly and it will not reset, do not attempt to fix the issue yourself—instead, call an electrician.
2. Flickering Lights
Another warning sign that your electrical system is experiencing issues is flickering lights. In some cases, loose light bulbs or old light fixtures flicker. If you have addressed both potential causes and your lights—or power supplies—are still flickering, be careful. It is likely there is an issue in the wiring of your home, or at least within the fixture itself.
3. Shocking Touches
Everyone will experience a shock at some point, usually from static electricity. However, you may also experience a shocking feeling when you touch an electrical appliance. If you feel a shock when touching an electrical device or appliance, turn off the appliance and call an electrician. It is probably caused by a ground fault in the appliance. However, faulty wiring within your home may also cause it.
4. Hot Outlets
It may sound strange, but outlets can become hot to the touch. Heat is a sign that your outlet is overworked—and has too many items plugged into it. If you notice a hot—or warm—outlet in your home, reduce the amount of items plugged into said outlet. If that does not fix the problem, unplug everything and call an electrician. It is possible that the outlet is hot due to a wiring issue or loose connection.
5. Sparks and Burning
You have probably noticed your outlet spark when you plug something in. A small spark when you plug something into your outlet is normal and is perfectly fine. However, if you notice that the spark is very large—or happens very frequently—you may have a problem. In addition, if you notice any burning smells or hear a popping sound, you should call an electrician and avoid the outlet. These symptoms may be caused by loose wiring, faulty appliances, or overloading the outlet.
An electrical issue is not something to be taken lightly. If you notice any of the symptoms above in your home, turn off the electricity in the affected rooms and contact an electrical contractor like E.J. Gray Electric.