(Updated Feb. 2, 2022)
Electrical fires are incredibly common and can be deadly. There are thousands of electrical fires every year in the United States, most of which could have been prevented by keeping electricity safety in mind. To keep you and your family safe from electrical fires, electrical shock, or other dangerous issues, it is important to know how to check your home’s electrical system.
Here are five things to look for when it comes to determining if your electrical wiring is problematic.
Too Many Extension Cords
Using multiple extension cords at once can create electrical issues for your home’s wiring, as there are additional points where cords can short, get pinched, or kink. Overuse of cords can also lead to tripped breakers and damaged outlets, which can cause an electrical fire. Use extension cords with caution and don’t overdo by overloading the sockets.
Instead, buy a power strip that is equipped with an internal overload protection feature, which will turn off if the outlet is overburdened. These strips come in a variety of sizes and even have built-in USB ports for your charging cords. A family can never have too many of those!
Older homes have character and unique charm. Unfortunately, the electrical system in an older home is not safe. Old or damaged wiring can cause deadly electrical fires. So, if you live in an older home, you should have a professional electrician inspect the wiring closely.
If the home is between 30 and 60 years old (or older), you may need to have the home completely re-wired – especially if the wiring is aluminum-based. If your home has copper wiring, this is safer and less prone to fires, but it should still be examined to ensure it’s operating as it should.
Hot Outlets or Switch Plates
Your outlet should never become hot and if it does, you should get it checked out right away – especially if you see scorch marks near light switches. If it gets hot without anything plugged in, it could be wired incorrectly, and that could be a big fire hazard that causes significant trouble down the road. Contact us immediately if you notice a hot outlet, light switch, or dimmer switch.
Burning Smell or Sparking
This one seems obvious, but if you notice sparking or any burning/odors coming from an appliance, cord, or outlet, there is likely an internal issue. If you experience either, turn off or unplug anything connected to the outlet and call a licensed electrician to look at it.
If it is your breaker panel or fuse box that has a funny smell coming from it, don’t ignore it. These are usually warning signs that something bigger is going on that could be potentially dangerous. And don’t try to fix it yourself because there’s a lot of power entering your panel. You could get seriously hurt.
Broken Cords or Plugs
Look around your home for any broken cords or plugs as well as any frayed or tattered cords. These kinds of cords can overheat quickly and catch fire before you know it. Look closely at your appliance cords as well, so you can be sure they are intact. Replacement cords are easy to get and replace.
If you can’t find a replacement cord, stop using the product immediately, as this could be an accident waiting to happen. Other warning signs include loose outlets or flickering lights. Although these may be simple fixes – tightening the screws on an outlet box or making sure the light bulb is screwed all the way into the light fixture – there may be bigger issues to deal with.
Keep your home, personal property, and your loved ones safe by making an electrical system checklist and following some of these basic precautions. If you are unsure of where to start, we can help! Our experienced team of electricians has the training and hands-on experience that you can trust. We will take a close look at your electrical panel and talk to you about any issues your home has had.
Or perhaps you are just looking for a professional to come to your home and point out any potential hazards that could pop up. We are happy to help with whatever electrical questions, projects, or concerns you have! Contact us today to schedule service.