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7 Signs That You Need to Contact an Electrical Contractor


Last updated on February 9th, 2022 at 12:45 pm

7 Signs That You Need to Contact an Electrical Contractor

Electricity is an essential part of modern lving but it can be prone to problems. Here are 7 signs that you need an electrical contractor.

Have you ever done a simple fix to solve a home electricity problem? Maybe you overloaded an outlet with an extension cord? Or you wrapped cellophane tape around a fraying wire? Lots of people do these things.

Of course, these are really bad ideas. But how often do we call an electrical contractor instead?

Your home electrical system is not something to take for granted. It serves you well most of the time. However, if you don’t have it maintained and repaired as needed, it could put you, your home, and your loved ones in danger.

In this article, we identify seven signs that should tell you it’s time to contact an electrical contractor. For your safety, keep reading!

Spotting Signs of Electricity Problems in Your Home

Like your plumbing and HVAC systems, your electrical system runs through the entire house. Of the three systems and their components, electrical wiring is probably the hardest to see.

That’s why it’s best to let only a licensed electrical contractor or technician work on it. Even an electrician needs special tools, like a magnetic stud finder or voltage detector, to know where the wires run through the walls and how to find problems.

Indeed, a lot could be going on behind the walls without your knowing. What follows are signs to watch for if you suspect there might be hidden electricity issues in your home.

1. You’re Having an Abnormally High Number of Tripped Circuit Breakers

If a home’s electrical wiring has too much current flowing through it, circuit breakers shut off power to the affected circuit until the problem can be fixed. Without circuit breakers (or fuses), household electricity would present many dangers.

It’s normal for circuit breakers to trip occasionally—this is why you have them. Ordinarily, when a circuit breaker trips, you should check for overloaded outlets or any appliances using a lot of electricity. Then reset the switch

If a breaker starts tripping too often, though, you should call an electrician. They will either repair the problem circuit or recommend a solution, such as balancing the load on the circuits or upgrading the electrical panel.

2. Your Lights Flicker, Buzz, or Fade In and Out

Irregular light or noise coming from your lighting isn’t uncommon. The cause could be a brief power disruption in your area or nothing more than a bulb that’s on its last legs.

If it’s a fluorescent bulb that’s flickering, that’s a typical problem inherent to the technology. Fluorescent bulbs are antiquated and inefficient. Consider replacing them with LED bulbs to resolve the flickering issue.

If you can’t think of a cause for the inconsistent incandescent or LED lighting, there could be a problem, such as an overloaded circuit or faulty wiring. You should monitor the situation since it could signal a problem more severe problem.

As with the circuit breaker trips discussed above, irregular lighting might prompt your electrical contractor to recommend redistributing the circuit load or upgrading the service panel.

3. Your Outlets Look Melted, Have Burn Marks, Feel Hot, etc.

Since your electrical outlets are some of the few exposed and directly handled parts of your home’s electrical system, they can go through a good deal of everyday wear and tear.

The wear on your outlets could come from overloading them with power-sucking devices or appliances. It could be as simple as repeatedly bumping them while vacuuming or moving furniture.

That, along with routine maintenance, is why you should check all your outlets regularly for any signs of damage. Another, of course, is for safety. It doesn’t cost much to repair or update an electrical outlet.

As soon as you notice that your electrical outlets are damaged, call your electrical contractor right away. Damaged outlets can easily lead to fires.

4. Your Visible Wiring Has Evidence of Insulation Damage

Any exposed wiring in your home is subject to decay, damage from pests, or just aging. If you can see the wiring—in the attic or basement, for example—be sure to monitor its conditions, especially the integrity of its insulation. Exposed wiring can be especially dangerous.

Did you know that homes over 90 years old (of which many are still standing and occupied today) were built using electrical wires wrapped in cloth or rubber? It’s called knob-and-tube wiring, and you might have it in your home if it’s an older one.

In fact, you might have seen the covering turn to dust when you first encountered it in the open air.

We mention this as an example of how fragile your home’s wiring might be without you being aware of it. Any exposed wiring likely has been replaced with newer materials, but it’s less likely that wiring deep in the walls has been touched since the house was built.

When dealing with an older wiring situation, an electrician might recommend extreme caution to someone embarking on home remodeling that calls for opening or removing walls. We recommend having an electrician on-site if and when you do such a project.

We recommend having your wiring checked out by an electrician to make sure it’s safe and up to code, no matter how old it is.

5. You Have Bathroom and Kitchen Outlets Lacking GFCIs

GFCI (or GFI) stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter. A ground fault occurs when a flow of electricity escapes its transmission medium (usually a wire) and seeks grounding via the nearest route—which may be a nearby human or animal.

The risk of electrical shock is the reason for having three-pronged outlets. The third prong grounds the charge, so you should never saw it off to fit a two-pronged outlet. Ask an electrician to install a new outlet instead.

Circuit breakers offer another level of defense against ground faults when they shut off an overloaded circuit.

Even so, areas where a lot of water is present need more protection from ground faults. Hence the GFCI outlet, which shuts off its own electrical flow when overcharged, can be reset.

Think of a GFCI outlet as a “mini circuit breaker.” If your home doesn’t have these outlets in wetter parts of the house, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms, you need to ask an electrician to install them.

Not having GFCI outlets in rooms with plumbing violates the National Electrical Code.

6. You Smell Smoke but Can’t Detect the Source

Did you know that most electrical fires are odorless when they start? Did you know that it only takes about three minutes for an electrical fire to take over your house? If you see smoke in your home that you can’t account for, call 911 ASAP.

The most common causes of electrical fires include:

  • Older appliances and worn appliance cords
  • Light bulbs with too high a wattage for the fixture they’re in
  • Using extension cords instead of plugging appliances directly into an outlet
  • Misuse of space heaters by locating them too close to combustible objects or surfaces
  • Overloading outdated wiring

Every one of these causes can be prevented by reading labels, common-sense electrical safety practices, and routine maintenance and inspection—by a licensed electrician. Don’t risk lives by taking foolish shortcuts!

7. You’re Installing New Appliances, Fixtures, or Smart Home Technology

Today’s technology manufacturers make DIY installation seem simple. Perhaps we unknowingly conflate this with their promise that the latest appliances and devices will make our lives much more convenient once installed.

Manufacturers might not say, especially in the tiny-print instructions that come with their products, that a professional electrician should install them. It’s the best and safest way to set up anything that runs on electricity.

Why go through the frustration of trying to figure out which wire goes where and guess the amount of power your new product will consume? Why risk your life trying to show your technical prowess or save some pocket change?

Have Your Electrical System Inspected Regularly

To follow up on all the topics just discussed, we want to remind you that poor maintenance is the leading cause of electrical fires. Following in short order are old equipment and appliances and home or business owners who fail to keep up with safety codes.

For these and other compelling reasons, we recommend having your home electrical system inspected professionally at least every ten years or if you’ve recently had a major electrical problem or repair. Many states or utility companies mandate the latter.

Call Your Electrical Contractor

Most of what we’ve discussed here relates to urgent electrical situations. However, electrical contractors also do a lot of remodeling work, such as installing recessed lighting and ceiling fans.

If you go to our Services menu, you will see the broad array of electrical services we offer—from installing light switches to home automation and from adding GFC outlets to a complete service panel upgrade. We also install and repair Home generators.

So, go ahead and name the electrical product or project you want. There are very few, if any, that we can’t take on.

Call us today and discover what we can do for you and your home’s electrical system!

How Can Our Electricians Help?

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