Knowing how to spot electrical problems in your home could save you from the dangers of fire and electric shock.
Faulty wiring is one of the most common causes of house fires, and can lead to dangerous electric shocks and even death. If you suspect faulty wiring, pay attention to the following warning signs and have it resolved by a professional before things get worse.
1. Check for Short Circuits
The first thing you need to do when troubleshooting an electrical problem in your home is to check for short circuits. These shortcut paths can create a hazardous situation that can lead to fires, explosions, and even electric shocks.
You can detect a short circuit by using a multimeter or similar device that can measure resistance, continuity, and voltage. This can help you identify which wires are involved in the short and where it is located on a printed circuit board or other wiring.
Once you have a good idea of where to look for the issue, unplug everything that isn’t working in the area and reset all of your circuit breakers. This should resolve the issue.
If you haven’t already done so, it is also a good idea to inspect your appliances and receptacle outlets. If you notice any burns, melted metal, or burning smells on the wires, this is a good indication that there is a short circuit in the area.
Another common sign of a short circuit is when your fuses or circuit breakers are constantly blowing and you can’t find the source of the problem. This is also a good sign that you need to call an electrician and get the issue taken care of.
While short circuits are usually a major issue that requires professional help, they can also be identified and fixed by most people. It is a good idea to have a multimeter, which can easily detect a short circuit, available at all times. This will allow you to find the source of the problem and fix it as soon as possible. However, if you don’t have any experience working with electricity, it is best to call an electrician for a professional to take a look at the issue.
2. Look for Burning Smells
You may be able to detect an electrical problem by looking for burning smells. If the smell is coming from your furnace or HVAC system, then it could indicate that something is wrong with the heating unit.
If you notice an unpleasant odor from a switch or outlet, unplug it and contact an electrician. It’s usually an indication that there is a wiring issue that needs to be addressed.
Often, these issues are caused by rodents that have chewed on your wiring. This is a dangerous situation that should be addressed by a licensed professional as soon as possible.
Another warning sign of an unsafe wiring condition is if outlets or switches are too hot to touch. This can indicate that a wire is damaged, which will cause electricity to run into a circuit and start a fire.
You’ll also want to check for scorch marks or discoloration on your outlets. It’s also a good idea to replace any missing or cracked switch plates.
Finally, if you’ve had to replace a light bulb several times, that can be an indication that there is an overheating problem. This is especially true if you have an incandescent bulb that’s over its recommended wattage.
It’s important to be aware of all the different signs that you have an electrical problem in your home. The more you know about what to look for, the easier it will be to identify any problems before they become severe and start a fire.
3. Listen for Noises
One way to identify electrical problems is to listen for noises. These sounds could indicate a problem with the wiring in your home or with the appliances themselves.
Often, we hear buzzing or sizzling sounds when we turn on an outlet or plug in something. These sounds usually indicate loose connections or improper wiring. If you hear any buzzing noises, unplug everything and call an electrician immediately.
Another noise that can be a warning sign of electrical problems is flickering lights. Flickering lights can be caused by a power surge, which is a serious problem that needs to be addressed right away.
If you see a flickering light in your house, you should call an electrician to have the lights re-wired. The old wiring in most homes is simply not designed to handle the demands of modern life.
Mice and rats are notorious for chewing on wires, which can cause a squeak or buzz when you flip on a switch or plug in an appliance. If you notice droppings around outlets or in switch plates, it’s a good idea to replace these components as soon as possible.
The sound of mains hum is a normal, non-harmful part of electricity. You might hear it when you walk under power lines or near electrical transformers.
To find out if a hum or buzz is coming from the wiring in your home, first check all of your circuit breakers. Then, walk through your house and try to identify which circuit is responsible for the sound.
If you still can’t locate the source of the noise, try resetting all of your circuit breakers. If the circuit breaker still trips, it’s likely that you have a short circuit somewhere in your home.
4. Check for Leaks
If you see a lot of water on your utility bill or stains appearing in your home, it’s time to check for leaks. Hidden leaks are a huge source of water waste, accounting for a trillion gallons per year in the United States alone!
Most homes have leaks somewhere in the plumbing system, though they can be hard to find. Look for stains or discoloration on walls or ceilings in each room. These are often caused by a leak in the water or sewer lines behind the wall.
Another way to find leaks is by checking your water meter. The meter will have a flow indicator that is usually blue or red and has a rotating wheel. If the indicator is moving and meter readings are not changing, you have a leak somewhere in your house.
Also check your hose bibs for leaks. A leaking hose bib can cause major damage to your property and is one of the most common leaks in a home. If you notice water dripping or puddles in your yard, check the hose bibs for leaks and call a plumber to fix it as soon as possible.
Once you’ve identified a problem, shut off all the water to the hose bibs in your house and outside. Go to each hose bib and listen for the sound it emits, and note where it is.
If the hose bibs are still leaking, you can use a test plug to determine where the leak is located. Fill a tub or shower with water and place the test plug in the drain. If a puddle forms, that’s a good sign of a leak in the drain body.
5. Check for Wiggling Outlets or Switches
If your outlet doesn’t firmly hold the prongs of a power cord, it is likely a sign that it is not secure or has been damaged. This is a common electrical problem that is usually easy to fix by replacing the outlet and reconnecting the wires.
Loose outlets are a fire hazard, so you should make sure to address them immediately. If you do not know how to repair a loose outlet, it is important that you call an electrician.
The most obvious indicator that an outlet is loose is if it wiggles around when you plug something in. Often this is caused by wiring that has frayed and cracked, but it could be from any number of causes.
You can determine if your outlet is loose by removing the cover and plugging something into it. Doing so will help you determine if your outlet is wiggled or if it is physically loose from the wall.
A wiggled outlet can cause electricity to jump and create a buzzing sound. If it does not stop after you unplug everything, this is a sign of a bigger electrical problem that needs to be addressed by an electrician.
If a switch or outlet is hot to the touch, it’s also a sign of an electrical issue that must be addressed by an electrician. It’s also a sign that the switch or outlet is overloaded and using too much electricity.
If you see signs of rodent infestation in your home, it’s a good idea to call an electrician to take a look. These little critters can cause serious damage to your electrical system by chewing on wires and pulling them loose. They may also be responsible for a lot of other electrical issues in your home, so it’s best to have a professional take a closer look at the situation.
If you’re unsure if you’re having an electrical problem it’s best to call professionals at Columbus Ohio Electrician company, and they’ll take care of your electrical problems.