The electrical system in our homes is often taken for granted. Not only do we rely on them daily without a second thought, but they are also concealed behind our walls, rendering them even more invisible. However, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) reports that home electrical problems cause nearly 55,000 home fires each year.
These numbers show us that home fires caused by faulty electrical systems occur far more frequently than we might think. Use this blog by Arnold Electric Services to learn the warning signs that could suggest your home needs rewiring to stay safe and up to code.
If you recently replaced a bulb and noticed your lights flickering more than usual, it’s likely that the bulb wasn’t correctly inserted or twisted in. This is a simple fix that doesn’t require scheduling a visit from your local electrician.
If you re-insert the bulb and the flickering continues, it could be a sign that your wiring needs to be replaced. Fortunately, this is a common issue in homes and doesn’t always suggest a failed electrical system.
However, if the flickering goes ignored for long enough, it has the potential to become a serious fire hazard. Arnold Electric recommends having flickering lights checked as soon as possible if it lasts more than a few days.
Discolored Outlets or Burning Smells
Electrical wiring that is frayed or has fully broken down can cause shorts that create sparks. When this happens, the sparks can char your outlets and turn them brown or black over time. Also, electrical burning like this goes hand-in-hand with burning smells. There are cases where sparks singe the plastic casing of an outlet but not to the point of changing its color. So, even though there are no visible signs of burning, you may be able to smell it.
These issues clearly pose a serious fire risk. If the sparks become more frequent and intense, they have the potential to burn not only the outlet’s plastic casing but also the surrounding area. If you have either of these problems in your home (but especially if you have both), you should immediately contact an electrician to inspect the area.
Buzzing noises, like flickering lights, may appear harmless on the surface because they don’t always suggest underlying electrical problems. If you hear buzzing noises near electronics, for example, the sound is likely caused by alternating currents flowing through the wires.
This “buzzing” noise is more akin to a low, constant hum. However, if the buzzing is loud or coming from an outlet, it could indicate an electrical problem, such as loose prongs or frayed wires. Each of these issues causes jumps in the currents flowing through your wiring, which results in a buzzing sound.
Generally, low humming is probably not a cause for concern, but harsher, louder buzzing should be investigated. If you can’t tell the difference, getting a second opinion from a professional never hurts.
Frequent Breaker Trips
A circuit breaker is an essential part of every electrical system. Anytime a circuit within a home or other structure exceeds the maximum number of amps needed, a circuit breaker will cut off all electricity to prevent a fire.
Like any other major electrical device in a home, circuit breakers can experience general wear and tear over time. If yours begins to trip more frequently, you’ll know it’s starting to slow down. This is not only frustrating, but it is also a major safety concern. Circuit breakers, like fire alarms, notify you when something is wrong with your electrical system. You shouldn’t put off any of the concerns mentioned above, least of all this one.
According to the United States Census Bureau, half of all homes in the country were built before 1973. If your house falls into this category, it’s probably time to have it rewired.
In a study conducted by The Fire Protection Research Foundation, 30 older homes were inspected to determine the condition of their electrical systems and potential hazards. It was discovered that these homes had electrical hazards that put them at a significantly greater risk of fires than newer homes. A few of the issues found include:
- Outdated aluminum wiring
- Improper wiring installation and maintenance
- Worn-out wiring devices
- Misuse of extension cords
Aside from the issues mentioned above, older homes were not designed to accommodate today’s devices. Every year, Americans use more electricity, which means that modern devices are likely overburdening older electrical systems. As a result, it may only be a matter of time before yours gives out. Try to contact an electrician (preferably one specializing in older homes) to avoid the safety risk and the financial strain.
Contact Arnold Electric Services!
If you’ve noticed any of the above issues in your Chicago home, Arnold Electric Services is ready to help! For more than a decade now, our electricians have made it a priority to provide quality electrical repairs to ensure our client’s safety and bring them peace of mind.
Our electricians are prepared to be put to the test, regardless of whether your home requires a partial rewire, a full rewire, or repairs on a specific part of your electrical system. Contact us today!