Of all the possible issues that can negatively impact your home, electrical problems are probably the most dangerous. While a plumbing problem can inflict a significant amount of water damage and an HVAC issue can leave you uncomfortable for a while, an unchecked electrical problem can result in electrocution or fire. Therefore, it’s essential that you have your wiring checked at least once every few years—without this inspection you’re substantially increasing the likelihood that a problem will occur.
Even with routine maintenance, however, there’s still a chance that electrical problems could happen, especially if you have an older home. We’re sharing this information with you now so that you’ll be familiar with some of the telltale signs of an electrical problem. If you notice any of these indicators, please contact a professional electrician right away.
We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that your house isn’t haunted.
At least, flickering lights aren’t necessarily a sign that it is.
This is usually due to a short circuit in the electrical system. If it’s happening with just one lamp or light fixture, chances are that you just need to replace that single fixture and nothing else. If it is impacting an entire section of your home, however, then the short circuit is probably somewhere throughout your electrical system and is a much bigger problem.
If you notice this symptom on a regular basis, we recommend calling a professional as soon as you can, before the problem has a chance to grow any worse.
Have you ever put your hand on a light switch, or even a random spot on the wall, and felt that it was warm? Many times, hot spots like this indicate points in the electrical system where current is flowing in a direction it shouldn’t be.
Electrical current that is diverted to a point that it’s not supposed to go, such as another wire or directly into the drywall, throws off a lot of energy as heat—this is what you’re feeling when you notice a hot spot in your home.
A hot spot such as this is an indication of a very serious breach in your electrical system—one that could possibly cause a house fire. This is definitely not a sign you want to ignore, so be sure to call for repairs as soon as you discover it.
Do note, though, that dimmer switches operate a little differently than standard on/of switches, and may be slightly warm to the touch regardless.
Frequent Circuit Breaker Tripping
Your circuit breakers are designed to protect your home from power surges. When a portion of your home’s electrical system suddenly starts to carry voltage beyond safe limits, the circuit breaker trips and that part of the system is shut down until you either reset the circuit breaker, or the problem that caused the circuit breaker to trip is resolved.
More often than not, the cause is an overloaded circuit. Unplugging a few things and then resetting the breaker are often all that’s required.
However, if the same circuit breaker, or multiple circuit breakers, keeps tripping, then it may be a more serious issue with that circuit. It’s also possible that the circuit breaker itself is malfunctioning. But the only way you’ll know is by contacting a pro.