Electronics play a big role in the lives of most modern households, making it important that your wiring system meets the electricity needs of your household. You probably already know that circuit breakers that constantly trip warrant a visit from a professional electrician, but there are other indications that can signal a problem with your household electrical system. Following are several signs that your household wiring may be ready for a checkup.
Occasional flickering lights may be no real cause for concern, but if the situation worsens over time, that's a clear sign that you need to have your wiring system checked out by a professional. Different types of flickering, however, indicate different electrical problems. For instance, if others in your neighborhood are experiencing the same issue with flickering lights, chances are that the root problem lies with your power company. This situation generally poses no danger and is often caused by natural phenomena such as trees falling on power lines.
Other causes of flickering lights include bad connections or faulty bulbs in individual light fixtures, issues with the circuit system, large appliances not being optimally wired, and loose connections within your home's wiring system. An obvious sign of loose connections in the system is flickering lights appearing at random throughout the house. Loose connections pose serious fire hazards, so call a qualified electrician as soon as possible if you suspect that this is an issue with your household wiring.
Electrical Shocks From Appliances
If your toaster shocks you while you're preparing your morning toast, you're probably likely to blame it on the toaster itself --- but the real culprit could be your household wiring. Try plugging the appliance into a different outlet and see if the result is the same. Keep in mind that static electricity from your own body may also be a factor here -- static electricity is experienced as a short, single shock accompanied by a cracking sound rather than the tingling and buzzing associated with genuine electrical shocks.
Burn Marks Around Electrical Outlets
Discoloration on or around your electrical outlets may be caused by heat generated by loose connections or other wiring issues. Immediately unplug any electronics from outlets showing possible signs of overheating, and contact a professional electrician as soon as possible. Surface areas on or around electrical outlets should also be cool to the touch at all times.
Signs of Rodent Activity
Rodent sightings and other signs of rodent activity such as droppings found on indoor surfaces signal a possible mice or rat infestation -- and this can mean that they've been chewing on your wiring. Rodents like to make their nests within the walls of the home, and this is where wiring is located. This often takes place in the late fall when rodents are moving indoors to get away from seasonal temperatures. Rats in particular are gnawers by nature because their teeth never stop growing. It's best to err on the side of caution and contact a professional electrician if you notice a significant presence of rodents in your home in order to ensure that they have not damaged your wiring.
If you hear a buzzing sound coming from a wall outlet or other electrical fixture, that is the electrical current -- and the fact that you are able to hear the noise made by the current indicates that the outlet is faulty or that the connection is loose. The outlet may need to be replaced, or the connections may need to be tightened in order to stop the buzzing noise.
For more advice on how you can keep your electrical wiring system serving your household needs safely and efficiently, please feel free to contact an electrical contractor like All American Air & Electric, Inc. for assistance.