How To Check Electrical Wiring In Your Home

May 25, 2021
Electrical inspection in Seattle, WA

Most households heavily rely on electricity for cooking, lighting, running the refrigerator, and other vital appliances. However, a wrongly installed and poorly maintained electric system can be very hazardous. It can lead to a fire outbreak that puts your house occupants and property at risk. Therefore, you should inspect your house wiring often to look for warning signs that indicate the presence of a significant problem and call a professional to fix it. Here are various ways to check for any faults in your house’s electrical wiring.

1. Look for Visibly Damaged Wiring

During your routine electrical system inspection, look for signs of damage on the wires. Keep in mind that electrical wires can get damaged with age or due to pests and wrong wiring. Be wary of frayed cables since they can cause a fire and lead to electric shock.

If you notice chew marks on the wiring, it’s an indication of rodents’ activities. Once you spot such kinds of problems, call your technician immediately to inspect and fix the wiring. Keep an eye on tangled and messy wiring too. This is a sign of rushed and poorly done electric work.

2. Check for Hot Outlets or Switch Plates

Look at all the outlets within your property, touch them, and if they feel uncomfortably hot, it’s an indicator that your home has faulty wiring. Although some electrical appliances emit heat during operation, the outlet should never get hot. Unplug the devices in the hot outlets and don’t use them until a technician troubleshoots and fix the issue.

3. Pay Attention to Frequently Blown Fuses or Tripped Breakers

Circuit breakers trips and fuses blow out in case of a fault in the circuit to protect the house from fire. If the fuses blow often or the breaker keeps tripping, then something isn’t right. Check whether you are using too many multiunit extension cords, which overloads the circuit. This can also occur as a result of a wiring problem. Consult your technician, and they may suggest that you add circuits and install extra outlets to handle the high electric demand.

If you notice that a single piece of equipment like the vacuum cleaner causes the breaker to trip regardless of the outlets you use, the device could be the issue. Equipment like the HVAC unit, driers, or other appliances that require more power will need special circuits to handle the demand. If there is no excess power demand, but your fuses still blow, you may need an electrical panel upgrade.

4. Check for Discoloration of Sockets

A discolored socket or light switch is evidence that the wiring is heating up. In most cases, this happens due to a loose connection or faulty wiring. Such issues cause a short circuit, which leads to a mini fire that discolors the outer surface of the outlet.

5. Don’t Ignore Flickering Lights

Light fixtures need a small amount of power to run at full brightness. Hence, if the lights begin to flicker or deem something is wrong with the electric wiring. In most cases, this happens due to a loose electrical connection.

If the problem affects multiple light fixtures in different rooms, then there is a significant issue in the circuit. If the lights flicker or dim in the entire house, the problem is with the breaker box or the utility drop. This is a complex issue that needs a professional approach.

Dimming or flickering lights could also be a sign of an overloaded circuit. If the lighting fixtures share the same outlet with a high power-consuming appliance, they cannot draw enough power. Unplug the devices to see whether this resolves the problem. If it doesn’t, move the lights to another circuit or try changing the bulb.

6. Check for Aluminum Wiring

In the 1960s and ’70s, home builders used aluminum wiring as a cheap substitute for copper. However, aluminum quickly corrodes when in contact with copper. It also loosens up over time, overheating the plugged-in electrical appliances, which can cause a fire. If you live in an older home, chances are, you have aluminum wiring, and you might want to consider rewiring.

7. Be Careful With Burning Smells

New appliances may produce some strange odors a few minutes after powering them. However, an odd persistent odor coming from the outlets requires immediate attention. If you notice some burning smell in your house, the wiring could be overheating and melting out the outer protective sheath.

It signifies that potential fire damage has begun, and it can quickly spread to the surrounding materials. Disconnect every appliance from the circuit, manually trip the breaker and keep a fire extinguisher close. Immediately call your electrician to check and fix the problem.

8. Pay Attention to Any Unusual Sounds

You shouldn’t hear any sounds from the electric system in a well-wired house since electricity flows quietly and smoothly between connections. However, a damaged wire, loose connections, and other underlying issues can cause electric currents to jump, producing a buzzing sound.

Fizzing and buzzing noise can also signify that the electric current moves from the wires to another conductive object nearby. This happens when the protective sheath gets damaged. Whenever you notice such sounds from an outlet, stop using it until an electricians fix the issue.

9. Don’t Ignore Electric Shocks

If you touch your electrical fixtures and receive a shock, it means that the electric system isn’t properly grounded. Call an electrician to inspect your wiring. They may suggest that you update your electric system and include ground or install ground-fault circuit interrupters to make the outlets safer. GFCIs shut off the power when they detect dangerous ground faults to protect you against electric shock.

Check to ensure that you have the proper outlets in the kitchen and bathrooms. Keep in mind that water is a good electric conductor. Such areas should have shock-resistant outlets, the GFCIs.

10. Check for Loose Outlets

Regularly assess the condition of all outlets in your house. If you plug in a device and the outlet moves around, this can be dangerous. A loose outlet shakes the wires, loosening them, and disrupts the electricity flow leading to sparks, shock, and potential fire hazards.

To fix this issuer, first, turn off the power from the breaker. Unscrew the outlet, ensure that the wires are in their respective terminals, then reattach the outlet and screw it in place.

Bottom Line

Bottom LineAs a homeowner, make it a habit to check the electrical system’s state in your house regularly. Watch out for the issues described above. Constantly inspecting your electric system will help you detect problems and call a technician to fix them before they escalate into significant issues. You will also keep the home safe, prevent appliances from malfunctioning, and keep your electric system efficient. While there are simple tasks that you can fix on your own, the electric system is quite complex, and some significant problems require an expert approach.

If you need professional electric services, reach out to Brennan Electric. Our company offers lighting installation, electrical repairs, and electrical panel services. We also deal with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installation in Seattle, WA, and the nearby regions. Call us now to book an appointment and try out our incredible services.

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