If you live in an older home, your electrical wiring may need replacement sooner than you think. How can you identify problems when your system is largely out of sight? Consider the following electrical warning signs of electrical wear and tear.
If you get a mild shock touching an appliance, it could be due to a few different things that are all equally important to take into consideration in your old home.
Electric shock when using an appliance is most often caused by faulty wiring and improper connections. A licensed electrician can inspect your home’s wiring to make sure it’s in good condition and up to modern standards.
Getting shocked by an appliance, faucet or other metallic fixture can also be a sign of improper grounding.
Grounding is a important safety measure in home wiring that helps protect us against electrical shocks. As the name suggests, it works by diverting any excess electrical current away from your appliance (and you!) and safely into the ground instead.
Grounded outlets have only been required in all new homes since the 1960s so if your home was built earlier than that, there’s a possibility that your electric issues could be related to grounding. A sure sign that your home isn’t up-to-date is if you have 2-prong outlets, which will need to be replaced with 3-prong, grounded receptacles.
Another common cause of appliance shock could be plugging in too many appliances into one outlet. This can overload circuits and increases the risk of serious electrical shock.
Hot Ceiling Lights
If you exceed the maximum recommended wattage for a light bulb, the fixture can overheat. Too much heat buildup can be a potential fire hazard.
If you notice a burning smell coming from a light fixture that isn’t dusty or find that a newly installed light bulb smells like burning plastic, you’re likely using a light bulb that is above the recommended wattage.
In addition, you should occasionally check the area around your ceiling light fixtures for warmth. Older fixtures aren’t often well insulated and insulation can decay over time. Doing this can help you ensure the area isn’t overheating too much and becoming another fire hazard.
If you notice a burning odor coming from any outlets or switches, IMMEDIATELY TURN THE POWER OFF at your electrical panel! Contact a qualified electrician for appropriate repairs as soon as possible. The problem may just be a faulty device, but it could also be an indication of a more significant wiring or overload problem.
A burning smell is one of the most serious electrical warning signs because it often indicates the start of an electrical fire. Do not use the receptacle until the situation has been repaired. Burning smells from bad wiring can be extremely dangerous. For your safety, electrical problems that lead to burning smells should only be handled by a professional electrician.
Issues with Your Circuit Breaker
Circuit breakers trip when a circuit becomes overloaded. By shutting off the electrical supply, the breaker prevents wires from overheating and potentially starting a fire.
Older breakers can also start to trip randomly as they age. Occasional tripping can indicate simple circuit overloads which typically isn’t a major cause for concern. If the breaker keeps tripping frequently, though, you should get an electrician to identify the root cause of why it keeps tripping. Frequent circuit tripping is often a sign of more serious issues, like a short circuit or ground fault – things that can cause serious shock or even house fires.
If you’ve just bought a “new” old home, it’s also recommended to have an electrician check that your breaker box is properly labelled and has been wired safely. They can also double-check there isn’t a recall warning on your equipment. Many panels installed before 1990 were recalled for potential safety hazards.
Dimming or Flickering Lights
Likely not a friendly ghost, flickering or dimming lights can sometimes be a sign of a defective or loose light bulb. If replacing the bulb doesn’t solve the problem, consult a licensed electrician.
The fault may be in the light fixture or wiring. The connections to the fixture or your home electrical wiring in the circuit breaker box could also be loose. These types of electrical problem require a professional diagnosis to ensure complete, safe repair.
Issues with Outlets
Light switches or receptacles that work only intermittently give away another home electrical problem. The wiring may be loose or the device may be cracked internally. If the plug partially falls out, an unsuspecting individual could accidentally receive a shock when unplugging the cord.
Experiencing any of these or other electrical warning signs around your old home? It’s time to get help from our team of experienced, licensed electricians. Contact us to schedule service with an A-Abel electrician today!