Not all electrical troubles are major problems or costly repairs. However, because they could pose a safety hazard for you and your family, keep an eye out for these signs of electrical problems in your home.
Hot Outlets are Signs of Electrical Problems
If any of your outlets feel warm or hot to the touch, you should look into it further. As soon as you notice this, cut the power to the outlet in question. Check all of the wires for breaks in insulation that could be causing the electricity to arc between wires and other metal parts. Make sure all the connections are secure and properly covered. If all of the connections are secure, it might be time to replace the outlet or switch.
Sparks When You Turn a Switch On or Off
Sparks may simply be a bad connection, but they can also be caused by other issues that should be addressed immediately. Cut the power to your switch and contact an electrician to diagnose the problem.
Breakers Keep Tripping
Circuit breakers that are continuously getting tripped are signs of electrical problems. While it may be that you are overloading a breaker with too many devices, this could also be an indication that your breaker is worn or faulty.
All the Outlets Look the Same
If all the outlets in your home are the same type, this could be a safety concern. Bathroom and kitchen outlets located near a sink should be specially designed ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) that disable the outlet if it gets wet. This is to reduce any risk of electrocution. So, outlets in these areas that are not GFCI are safety hazards. You’ll be able to see the reset button on a GFCI outlet.
Dimming or Flickering Lights
Flickering or dimming lights are often caused by an energy-draining appliance or heater being plugged into the same circuit as your light fixtures. If you notice, for example, that your living room lights dim when the water heater kicks on, then you can assume that’s what is causing the electrical problems with the lighting.
What to Do if You Notice Signs of Electrical Problems
If you notice any of these or other signs of electrical problems in your home, turn the power off to the area in question. For anything that requires repairs to in-wall wiring or your breaker panel, call a licensed electrician who will diagnose the problem and how to best fix it. If you decide to complete any work yourself, turn off the breakers in that area before removing any covers or handling the wiring.