Electricity makes life easier. We rely on the power grid for heating and cooling, cooking, and lighting our homes. Electricity can also be dangerous. Electrical issues cause over 50,000 home fires annually. It’s important for a homeowner to know how to spot an electrical problem in the home.

Burning Odors

If you notice a burning smell coming from your electrical outlets, switch the power off and call a qualified electrician for repairs. A faulty appliance may cause the issue, or it could indicate a wiring problem. The burning odor is often caused by the melting of the plastic sheath around the wire. It could indicate the start of an electrical fire. Do not use the receptacle until the problem has been fixed.

Sparking Outlets Indicate an Electrical Problem in the Home

Sparks when you first plug in a device are not uncommon. Sparks that happen frequently indicate an issue with your circuit or the electrical outlet. If you often notice sparking, contact an electrician right away. They can troubleshoot and make repairs.

Circuit Breaker Issues

Circuit breakers are designed to switch off when a circuit is overloaded. This prevents the wiring from overheating and possibly starting a fire. Circuit breakers also trip when they are old and worn out. Occasionally tripping a breaker is a sign that the circuit was overloaded, but you should contact a professional to evaluate your electrical system if it happens frequently.

Flickering Lights

Flickering lights can be a sign of a loose or defective bulb. If bulb replacement does not fix the issue, contact an electrician. The problem may be in the light fixture itself or caused by loose wiring in the breaker box.

Buzzing Sounds are Signs of an Electrical Problem in the Home

Electrical switches and outlets should function silently. If you hear cracking, sizzling, or buzzing sounds when flipping an electrical switch, cut off power to the fixture immediately and contact a professional electrician.

Faulty Switches and Outlets

Another electrical concern is outlets or switches that only work intermittently or stop working completely. This happens due to loose or damaged wires. If wiring is loose, you or a family member could get an electrical shock when using the outlet. An electrician can safely remove the outlet or switch cover and repair or replace the wiring.

We need electricity to power devices and lights and keep the home comfortable, but make sure it is safe. Electric issues should be diagnosed and repaired by a qualified electrician. By recognizing these signs of electrical problems, you will know when to call a professional.

Homeworx Services Inc. offers home inspections to customers in Northern Virginia. Contact us to request our services.