When things stop working, you can start to feel a lot less “at home” in your own home. This is true of plumbing, HVAC, and especially electricity. When your electricity isn’t working, it’s hard to feel like you’re at home at all. Home electrical problems are more than a mere inconvenience, too. They can be expensive, time-consuming, or even dangerous.
A big part of keeping your home safe and habitable is taking care of your electricity. To do that, you need to know when something’s wrong with your electricity. Start getting to know your electricity by watching for these five major signs that something’s wrong. If you see any of these problems, then it’s probably time to rewire your home.
Your home’s wiring hasn’t been updated in decades.
According to FEMA, electrical problems are the source of nearly ten percent of all residential fires. In most cases, these electrical problems are the result of outdated wiring in a home. A large number of homes in the US are at least thirty years old. As wiring ages, it may degrade or break down, leading to all kinds of problems.
Older wires also may not handle contemporary power demands as well as it should (it’s all those iPads). If your home is older and you’ve never replaced your electrical wiring, it may be time to start thinking about it. You’d be surprised what a difference modern wiring can make on home efficiency and safety.
Your outlets and switches appear discolored.
Discolored outlets usually happen because of loose connections or degraded wiring. Loose wiring connections may let electricity escape into the open in the form of sparks. These sparks can create small fires that warp and singe outlets and switches. Obviously, these sparks are also a significant safety hazard.
Loose connections and degradation only grow worse over time. The worse these problems get, the bigger the sparks they produce grow. The bigger the sparks, the greater the fire and shock hazards. Remember: ten perfect of residential fires start because of electrical problems. A discolored switch could be your first sign that something’s wrong.
There’s a persistent burning smell without source.
This sign goes hand-in-electrified-hand with the last one. If you have loose connections or faulty wiring near an outlet, sparks will burn the outlet’s plastic. Sometimes, however, loose connections or faulty wiring happen in your walls, where you won’t be able to see it.
Even if you can’t see electrical burning, however, you may be able to smell it. If you smell a faint, persistent burnt plastic scent in your home, you probably have wiring issues. A sparking wire is probably burning away its plastic casing inside your wall. You should always address sparking wires as soon as possible. Those sparks could easily start something besides a wiring casing on fire.
Your lights flicker a lot.
Before rewiring your whole home to fix flickering lights, ask yourself a couple questions. First, are all my bulbs properly twisted in? If your bulbs are a little loose, they could flicker every now and then. Second, is my house haunted? Ghosts love to make lights flicker. If you don’t have either of these problems, then you probably have faulty wiring.
When wiring isn’t working correctly, the electricity running through it can’t always reach its destination. Hence, you get irregular connection and flickering light. Unfortunately, faulty wiring is relatively common and happens naturally over time. In fact, it’s prooooobably more likely than our second option. If you have faulty wiring, your best option is simply to replace it.
The circuit breaker trips a lot.
A circuit breaker exists to cut off electricity when any particular circuit exceeds the number of amps that are allowed. When they’re working correctly, they prevent dangerous surges that cause electrical fires.
Over time, however, circuit breakers can break down just like everything else. When your circuit breakers no longer accurately gauge the electricity flowing through them, they may trip too frequently. Eventually, worn circuit breakers may cease functioning all together. Replace them (or your wires) before that happens.
Mike Diamond has electricians on hand that are capable of handling any electrical need your home has. We can even perform safe, up-to-code whole-home rewiring jobs. If you’ve noticed any of these signs, give us a call today. We’ll figure out what the problem is and solve it fast. We want to help you feel “at home” in your home. That’s what we do.