The holidays are just around the corner and that means lights, lights and more lights — on Christmas trees and home exteriors, over fireplaces and candles burning galore. Homeowners are lighting up their homes and unfortunately increasing their risk of electrical fires. To stay safe, here are a few warning signs of faulty wiring or malfunctioning electrical systems that homeowners should be on the lookout for:
Flickering or dimming lights
If the lights start to flicker then you might have a problem with the light bulb (it’s not screwed in tightly or you have the wrong bulb type for the dimmer switch), a loose light plug, a faulty light or fixture switch, or an appliance pulling large amounts of current. You may have an even more serious electrical issue, such as sensory overload on a circuit, voltage fluctuations, loose or outdated wiring or a problem with the electric utility service.
Hot and smelly switches or outlets
When a circuit overheats, you may have a fishy or urine-like smell coming from the plastics and heat-resistant chemicals used in outlets, circuit breakers or wiring insulation. This issue can be caused by overloaded circuits, undersized wiring, undersized circuit breakers, loose plugs in outlets, short circuits, damaged outlets that are arcing or sparking, or frayed or damaged electrical insulation.
Discoloration can be caused by arcing, smoldering, burning, damaged or improperly installed wiring in the outlet, or a problem with the receptacle. A discolored outlet is a serious warning sign and homeowners should call in an experienced electrician to identify the cause and address the issue.
This can easily occur if you have too many appliances or lights plugged into an outlet and overload the capacity of the fuse. If the lights suddenly go out and the party has just started, then you need to reconsider how many lights you actually need.
Tips for Staying Safe
Homeowners should follow the following tips to keep their homes and families safe this holiday season:
1. Follow existing codes when making electrical modifications.
2. Schedule regular inspections and maintenance of outlets and switches.
3. Schedule an inspection before moving into a home or making repairs.
4. Replace outdated or malfunctioning circuit breakers and fuses.
Reach out to your local Blue Apple Electric team for any questions about issues with your home’s electricity this holiday season for quick, quality service.