Sounds from electrical sources are usually indicative of a problem, like a crackling electrical outlet or the pop of a breaker going out. However, there are many other things that could be a sign of an electrical problem at home. As a homeowner, learn what warning signs to look for.
1. Hot Outlets Can Indicate an Electrical Problem
Many electrical appliances generate heat as they are used, but you should not notice a difference in the temperature of the outlet. If you feel an outlet is hot as you unplug something, unplug all cords and refrain from using it until you determine what is wrong.
2. Lights That are Flickering Could be a Sign of an Electrical Problem at Home
Flickering lights are usually a sign of a loose connection. If only one of your lights is flickering, the problem is likely a simple fix. However, if multiple lights are flickering, you may have a bigger issue with one of your electrical circuits or the breaker box. If this is the case, it’s best to consult with a licensed electrician.
3. Aluminum Electrical Wiring
In the 1960s and 70s, homes were wired with single-strand aluminum wiring. This material was thought to be a suitable replacement for the copper wiring that was too expensive to use. However, people found that aluminum oxidizes more quickly than copper and can cause electrical fires. Today, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission states that homes with aluminum wiring are about 55 times more likely to be a fire hazard than homes that are wired with copper. If you think your home may be wired with aluminum wiring, consult with a professional to replace the wiring.
4. Mysterious Burning Smells May be a Sign of an Electrical Problem
A burning smell in your home is never a good thing. Being unable to pinpoint the source of the smell is even more concerning. If you notice that electrical wires in your home are heating up or the plastic on them is melting, shut off power from the source and call an electrician for repair work.
5. Outlets That are Loose
If you plug something into an outlet and notice that it falls out or that the pieces inside the outlet are not secured, you need an electrician to fix it. Loose outlets are an electrical problem because they eventually cause the wires within them to disconnect. This can lead to electrical fires if not remedied.
6. Electrical Problems May be Caused by Tangled Wires
The wires in your home might not be neatly arranged in straight lines, but if your wiring is very tangled and disorganized, this can be a sign of poorly executed electrical work. If you’re concerned about how the wires are laid out, call an electrician to check for issues with the installation.
7. Rodents in Your Home Can Cause an Electrical Problem
Rodents in your home are never a good sign because they could be gnawing on your electrical wires. Without the insulating covering, wires can spark or overheat and become a fire hazard. If you notice signs of rodents like droppings, you should have your electrical system checked.
Electricity is not something to take lightly. Pay attention for any of these warning signs in your home. If you do notice these or other potentially worrisome signs of an electrical problem, immediately consult with a certified electrician.
Appalachian Inspection Services offers home inspection services in and around Western North Carolina. Contact us to request an appointment.