Is your Tampa Bay home 40 years or older? If so, when was the last electrical safety inspection performed? These are questions that every homeowner should be asking themselves. Troubling statistics from the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), reveal that outdated residential electrical distribution systems are responsible for an estimated 51,000 fires every year. In fact, these systems are the third leading cause of home structure fires in the U.S.
Fires account for an estimated 500 deaths a year, 1,400 injuries, and 1.3 billion in property damage. The stats are alarming, but learning the warning signs of faulty electrical systems can help you avoid similar outcomes. Simply being aware of minor problems in the electrical fixtures or delivery in your home will go a long way in keeping your family safe. We have compiled a list of common warning signs that your home’s electrical wiring might need to be repaired or replaced.
Review the following list and contact the professional electricians at Home Service Heroes if you experience any of these problems:
Tripped Circuit Breakers – Do your circuit breakers trip on a regular basis? There are a wide variety of reasons this could be happening – including a circuit breaker panel that can’t handle the system demand. This might require a simple panel upgrade or a more expensive panel replacement. But it might also indicate a far more hazardous problem with your wiring. If tripped breakers are becoming a common occurrence, you should schedule a comprehensive electrical assessment.
Warm/Discolored Outlet – Have you recently noticed an electrical outlet that has become warm to the touch? One of the first signs of frayed or defective wiring is a hot wire that has warmed an outlet or fixture plate. This warming will eventually manifest itself through the discoloration of the plate. Sometimes the discoloration will happen slowly over time, which can often go unnoticed for a substantial period. It’s a good practice to assess all your outlets every few months by simply touching them after they have been turned on for a few minutes. If the plate is warm or if it has become brown or exhibits “burn marks,” call an electrician to investigate.
Smoking Outlet – Most of a home’s wiring system is hidden behind the walls, which makes finding faulty wiring in the early stages difficult if not impossible. Often, the first signs of a burning wire come from a wall outlet or fixture where smoke has an opportunity to escape. Though it should go without saying, a smoking outlet is extremely dangerous and should be dealt with immediately.
Flickering Lights – Lights that dim or flicker when they are turned on is a sure sign of a wiring problem. If the lights dim when an appliance or an electronic device is turned on, this might indicate there isn’t enough power in the circuit for that area. But it might also be a sign of defective wiring.
Buzzing Noises – Noises are another sign that a wire might be defective. A fixture or outlet should never make a noise when it is turned on or plugged in. If you hear a buzzing or sizzling noise whenever one is in use, this is an indication that a wire needs to be repaired or replaced.
Loose Connection – A current flow is sometimes disrupted when the connection between a wire and an outlet loosens. There are many causes for this, including general wear (if your home is older). Sometimes this can cause flickering, but it can also give the impression of a dead outlet. Does the outlet or switch sometimes appear not to work? If the electrical flow is inconsistent, it is probably a loose connection. If you are comfortable enough with removing the plate, check the wiring to verify that the wire connections are solid.
It is important to be aware of your home’s wiring system to ensure that there are no hazardous issues. Watch for the signs outlined in this blog – and consider having an electrical system inspection if your home is 40 years or older. If you discover any of the issues outlined here, contact the professionals at Home Service Heroes. Call us at (813) 696-3398 and schedule an appointment today!