Your home’s electrical system is the bread and butter of a sound structural foundation. And unfortunately, faulty electrical systems are one of the top causes for a house fire. Dangerous electrical mishaps—like overloaded or faulty wiring—can create a huge problem for you and your family. If you notice any strange signs, it’s best to speak to an electrician as early as possible. Taking a preventative approach allows you to fix a situation before it becomes a costly and dangerous problem. Here are five signs that you need to call an electrician:
Your Lights Flicker
It’s normal to have an occasional light flicker in your home. However, if your lights flicker regularly, take heed. Flickering lights or dim lights are signs of a potentially flawed electrical system. The reason why lights—even new bulbs—are dim is because there are too many appliances running that create a malfunction in the lighting system. Your home requires a considerable amount of power to continuously run large items, like a refrigerator or washing machine, as well as everyday items.
You Rely on Extension Cords
It’s not uncommon for a person to feel as though they don’t have enough outlets in their home. As a result, they rely on extension cords to help keep the home up and running efficiently. Extension cords can easily overheat and create a fire hazard. In fact, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, 3,300 home fires are caused by extension cord exertion, resulting in 50 deaths and roughly 270 injuries. Rather than risk a potential fire, it’s best to hire an electrician to install additional outlets for you.
Your Circuits Trip Often
Just because fixing a circuit trip is a small nuisance that’s easy to fix doesn’t mean you should let it continue to happen. If your electrical circuit breakers trip often, you should contact an electrician right away. This could be the result of a dangerous circuit in your home. In some cases, circuits trip because of faulty appliances. However, if there are no faulty appliances, you could be in trouble.
Furthermore, just because certain appliances—like a hair dryer—cause the breaker to trip now and then, doesn’t mean it’s the hair dryer. According to Passion Electric, an electrician in OKC, “If you notice your breakers tripping randomly when certain items are plugged in, or for seemingly no reason at all, it might mean that you have an overloaded system and need an electrical panel upgrade to replace it.”
You’ve Been Shocked
If you’ve been gently shocked simply from touching a switch or an outlet, this could be a warning sign. The same theory applies when you’re inserting or unplugging an item. Similarly, if you touch your outlets and notice they’re a bit heated, you might be dealing with an internal wiring issues. Your outlets and switches should never be hot or cause any type of mild shock.
You Have Two Prong Outlets
Two-pronged outlets are those that don’t have that extra third hole just beneath two vertical slots. In the electrical industry, these two-pronged outlets are referred to as non-grounded. Grounded electrical outlets are able to safely siphon power to bigger devices, and creates an additional path for electrical currents. Because of this, they help prevent high voltages of electricity and are less likely to result in short circuits. Non-grounded outlets aren’t simply inconvenient for your day to day life, but they can also be a safety risk. Many older homes have non-grounded electrical outlets.
Your Home Is Older
Like many things, your wiring needs a reboot after a certain amount of years. Just because you have a vintage home doesn’t mean you should have vintage wiring. Not only is old wiring a serious safety hazard, but they can also increase your home insurance prices. If your house is older than 20 years old and hasn’t had a wiring upgrade, you should contact a local electrician to inspect the property. Fixing the wiring before something goes wrong can save you a ton of money in the long-run.