According to the National Fire Prevention Association, electrical problems are the second leading cause of house fires in the U.S. Electrical distribution, such as wiring and breaker boxes, is a significant cause of these fires.
Homeowners could reduce that grim statistic if they became more aware of the warning signs of an outdated electrical system.
Learn about signs of bad wiring in a house before diving into the details further below.
- Experiencing frequent circuit breaker trips
- Finding damaged, frayed, or exposed wiring
- Dealing with dimming or flickering lights
- Uncovering smoke or scorch marks on outlets
- Realizing your outlets are warm to the touch
- Hearing weird noises, like buzzing or sizzling
- Owning an older home with aluminum wiring
Keep An Eye Out for Circuit Breaker Trips
It’s not unusual for a circuit breaker to trip. When multiple appliances are running from the same circuit, this is especially true. Overloads will eventually happen. Occasionally tripping circuit breakers, however, should raise alarm. A dangerous problem may lie in the electrical wiring of your home, or your electrical panel may need to be upgraded.
Typically, electrical panels last between 25 and 40 years. Today’s homes require more electricity than old panels can handle. If you are installing new appliances, such as a larger refrigerator or hot tub, you might want to upgrade your electrical panel to 200 amps.
It is never a good idea to ignore frayed wiring. You should contact an electrician if you discover frayed wiring during a remodeling project since this is a fire hazard and a shock hazard.
When a thunderstorm or windy weather occurs, it’s normal for your lights to flicker on and off. Possibly a tree branch has fallen on the power lines.
It is possible that your home’s electrical wiring needs to be upgraded if your lights flicker regularly. It’s possible that your old wiring can’t handle your home’s increased energy demands.
Smoke and Outlet Discoloration
Don’t wait to act if you smell smoke or see it in your home. Smoke indicates fire. Damage may also be apparent if further investigation is conducted. Look out for scorch marks on an outlet. The electrical outlet could have loose wiring that caused an arc. Unplug your appliances until an electrician arrives, just to be on the safe side.
Warm, Vibrating Outlets
Take note of a warming sensation when near an outlet. It should be cool to the touch when it’s working properly. There may also be a vibration from the outlet. Damaged wiring is probably the cause. This problem cannot be ignored. A cord plugged into the wire could catch fire, engulfing your entire home.
A potential wiring issue can be detected with your ears. The sound of buzzing or sizzling is often heard from an outlet. The sound is also produced by light fixtures. Even though replacing the bulb may fix the problem, bad wiring cannot be ruled out.
Old Aluminum Wiring
If your home was built in the late 1960s or early 1970s, it’s time to update its wiring. Aluminum wiring was common in homes during this time. Buildings with aluminum wiring are more than 50 times more likely to experience fire damage, according to research. Wiring made from copper is more heat-resistant.
You should schedule a home safety inspection if you’re unsure about the condition of your home’s electrical system. Wire integrity, panel functioning, GFCI protection, and more are all checked for malfunctions and safety hazards by our electrical inspectors.