Electrical problems can pose serious threat to you and your family. Electrocution can cause permanent harm or death. Electrical fires are extremely dangerous. If one starts, attempting to douse it with water will cause the fire to spread. This is because water conducts electricity. If a live wire comes into contact with water, electricity is passed into flammable objects like carpets, which then ignite. If you suspect that you have an electrical issue in your home, contact a certified professional as quickly as possible.
There are several issues that are quite easy to identify if they occur.
The following 3 issues are obvious signs of a very serious problem.
Hot wall outlets
This is a very serious issue and usually a good indicator that there is a major issue with the wiring in a home. The wires leading to an outlet should be insulated. This means that heat and electrical currents are kept within the wire. If the insulation is damaged, it would let heat escape and make the outlet hot or warm to the touch.
The danger in this situation is that wires with damaged insulation can easily cause electrical fires if they come into contact with flammable materials.
If you can see sparks coming from a wall outlet or if it shocks you, cut the power to the room immediately and call an electrician. Sparking outlets are a sign that the wiring in an outlet is making contact with a conductive material that should not be there. This could be caused by a damaged outlet or from damaged wiring. Either way, plugging in an appliance could cause severe sparking that could result in a fire.
A burning odour
As with hot or sparking outlets, a burning odour is a clear sign of a very serious problem. If you can smell something that smells like burning plastic or vinyl, cut off the power to the room immediately and call a professional electrician. If there is a strong burning odour, it is usually caused by an exposed wire coming into contact with plastic or rubber in the wall. If the wire ignites the plastic or rubber, it will cause an electrical fire.
The next few issues are not as serious as those above, but should still be taken very seriously.
Sometimes this can raise a false alarm. If your local electrical grid is unstable, it can cause the power supply to your home to fluctuate. When this happens, the lights will dim and brighten sporadically. Another cause could be wind from a storm interfering with the electrical wires outside your house.
If your lights are constantly flickering, it could mean that neither of these issues is the cause. If this is the case, there is a good chance that you have a problem in the wiring leading to the lights.
Constant circuit breaker tripping
This is often an issue in older buildings. Older circuit breakers were designed to manage the smaller flows of electricity that were available at the time. Since then, power grids and appliances have increased in capacity and requirement. If an appliance is trying to draw more power than the circuit breaker can handle, it will cause it to trip. This is often the case when several appliances are connected to a single outlet, like kettles, microwaves and clothes irons.
If this is a common issue in your home, it is a good sign that you need to replace the circuit breaker with a more modern version.
Light and outlet switches that are not working
If a light switch seems to fail to turn on a light, switch it to the off position and remove the light bulb. If the bulb is not damaged, replace the bulb with a different one and try to turn on the light again. If it fails to turn on, switch it to the off position and call an electrician. There are many things that could cause this type of issue. The most common is faulty wiring in the light fixture.
If an outlet fails to provide power to an appliance, try to use a different appliance with the outlet. If it still fails to provide power, check the circuit breaker to ensure that power is being supplied to the outlet. If it seems that the outlet is receiving power then call an electrician to investigate the issue. It could be a damaged outlet but it could be damaged wiring within the house as well.
Buzzing sounds from outlets and switches
If you can hear a buzzing sound from an outlet or a light switch, you should call and electrician. The problem may not be serious but it points to other issues. It could be a damaged switch that will damage the wiring in the house if it is used.