Electricity is such a fundamental part of our lives that sometimes we take it for granted. We rely on it to such an extent that we can forget how dangerous it can be and how difficult it is to live without it (even for a short period of time).
So, if you’re noticing seemingly minor electrical issues around the house, you could call an electrician before a minor problem turns into a serious safety risk.
Here are some of the signs that you may need an electrician.
Fuses can blow for a number of reasons. Sometimes it may just be that the circuit is overloaded and you’re trying to use too many electrical devices at once. However, more serious reasons include short circuits, ground faults or arc faults. Any of these three can be potentially dangerous, with an increased risk of shock and electrocution.
Fuses are designed to blow rather than carry this potentially dangerous charge in order to warn you of a problem. If you’re seeing an unusual number of blown fuses, it could be a sign of a more serious household wiring problem.
Circuit breaker trips
Circuit breakers monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit and detect a problem that may pose a risk to personal safety and turn the power off within 0.03 of a second. They provide short-circuit and over-current protection. If a circuit breaker is continually tripping, it could be a problem with a particular appliance or a circuit. While there are some things you can do to determine the cause of breaker trips, it’s always best to call in a licensed electrician.
Large increase in your electricity bill
You can expect a few fluctuations in your electricity bill from season to season. Sometimes there are unseasonably warm days that mean you run the air conditioning more than usual. Other times you might have spent a week of holidays playing the latest video game or binging a cult TV series.
However, if your electricity bill is steadily increasing with no real changes at home, then you’ve got a problem. A range of wiring problems and even faulty electrical appliances can use more power than necessary. As the wires get more worn, they may continue to use even more power.
If you’re unsure about your power usage, visit Compare Energy.
Flickering lights can be caused by something as simple as a globe that isn’t screwed in properly or a faulty lightbulb. However, flickering could be a sign of more serious issues.
If your lights flicker when you use certain appliances or devices, the circuit may be overloaded. Alternatively, the wiring in that part of the house may be failing.
Light switches and outlets are warm to touch
If light switches or power outlets are warm to touch, this means they’re overheating from unsafe levels of electricity passing through them. It’s a short step from overheating to sparking, which poses a major fire risk.
You can also look for blackening or discolouration on the switch and outlet plates. This indicates significant overheating.
Any smell of electrical burning from appliances, wiring, switches or outlets should be investigated immediately. It could be a sign of a circuit overheating or a defective appliance. Either way, you should contact an electrician immediately.
Listen closely around outlets and light switches. If you can hear a buzzing sound, this may indicate a problem. While a buzzing sound can be caused by loose screw terminals, it can also be a result of wiring issues. It’s best to have a professional find out exactly what the problem is and solve it.
If the wiring in your home is older than 30 years old and hasn’t been updated, you should call in an electrician straight away for an inspection. Older wiring generally doesn’t conform to current safety standards and is at much higher risk of electrical fires.
If you notice any of the above signs, it’s important to call in the professionals as soon as possible. Otherwise, things could quickly start going wrong in your home.