Regular electrical maintenance is always a good idea when you own or rent a home. Not only does it help keep you safe, but it also helps to keep the costs of running your home down by ensuring you’re working with efficient systems. By knowing what to look for in terms of electrical maintenance, you can give yourself peace of mind and wallet.
How to Know When Your Home Needs Electrical Repairs
If you’re unsure whether or not your Baton Rouge home needs electrical repairs or maintenance, here are the top five signs you can look for to indicate that something is wrong.
Unusual noises or smells
High-pitched or loud buzzing, ringing, cracking, sizzling, and other unusual sounds can indicate an issue with your electrical grid. This is often caused by a disruption in the flow of electricity through wiring, usually because a wire has been damaged or come loose.
If left unattended, this disruption can quickly become an electrical fire, which can not only be incredibly dangerous to you and your loved ones but can also cause massive, irreparable damage to your home. Fires caused by this kind of electrical failure are especially dangerous because of their hidden nature; often, the faults are invisible and the only sign of their presence is the sound.
If you notice a burning odor in your home, identify the source as quickly as possible. If you can’t find an obvious source, call an electrician immediately. In the best-case scenario, you have an overheating electrical system that is desperately in need of maintenance. In the worst-case scenario, you are experiencing an electrical fire and need immediate emergency help. If you find an electrical fire, call 911. Always keep an extinguisher in your home that is safe for Class C fires.
Frequent breaker trips
Your breaker panel is a series of circuit breakers, or electrical cutoff switches that shut off power to sections of your home in the event of overload, overcurrent, or short circuit. It’s typically located in a lower-traffic area of the home, like a basement, closet, or even the garage.
If your circuit breakers are constantly tripping (triggering a cutoff), you may need to call in an electrician to assess the electrical use in your home. You may have too much power running through a particular part of the circuit, which may mean that you need to reduce the number of appliances you use on that circuit or upgrade your electrical system to be able to handle an increased load.
If you notice any rust or damage to your breaker panel, or if the panel is hot to the touch, you should call an electrician immediately to replace it. You should also replace any panels older than 25 years.
Dim or flickering lighting
Flickering is normal when it happens only occasionally – this might happen because of brief power fluctuations or failing lightbulbs – but if your lights are constantly flickering or even going out completely for periods of time, you may have a more serious electrical issue.
Flickering is often caused by faulty switches, loose plugs, or voltage drops due to an excessive pull of electricity elsewhere (such as a large appliance being newly plugged in). Repeated abrupt voltage changes can cause serious damage to electronics and are a fire risk, so it’s best to ensure that your system is working properly if you notice flickering.
Sparks and shocks
If you go to plug in an appliance or flip a switch and see sparking, you should call an electrician immediately. There should be no open spark ever when using your home electrical system – this is an indication that there’s some fault in the system that needs to be addressed.
Even worse, you should never feel any kind of shock or current when plugging things in, using switches, or touching the breaker panel. This means there is a high risk of electrocution, especially in the winter time (when the air is dry and friction is higher than usual); contact a licensed electrician immediately to resolve the issue.
Old, outdated, or damaged hardware
Fraying cables are a common sign of wear that can come from a number of factors including age, animal damage, and weather damage. If you notice that any of your cables are fraying, contact an electrician to replace them. You should also replace any older cables with fabric insulation, as this is a fire hazard.
Additionally, if your home has two-port outlets (rather than three-port outlets that incorporate grounding), it’s time to have them upgraded. Grounded outlets have been in common public use domestically since the 1990s, meaning that a home with two-prong outlets likely hasn’t had their electrical system upgraded since then. Ungrounded outlets are not protected from power surges, meaning that if the current changes rapidly in your home, it’s likely to fry any electronics or appliances plugged into them. Not only that but running on an old electrical system can be wildly inefficient, meaning you’re likely paying more than you need to for utilities.
Other common problems to look out for with hardware include discoloration in outlets, which can happen for a number of reasons including improper installation and short circuits, and loose outlets (outlets that cannot snugly hold the prongs of a plug).
Home maintenance is important. It keeps you and your family safe and makes sure your home is as efficient as possible. If you’re looking for experienced, high-quality electrical service in Baton Rouge, Rhino Electric is happy to be your source of licensed electricians who care. You can contact them today for inspections, repairs, and upgrades to your home.