Electrical wiring problems are some of the most common fire hazards that homeowners face. Unfortunately, your home can sometimes have hidden wiring problems that are easy to miss if you don't know what to look for. Here are four signs of electrical wiring problems that every homeowner should be aware of.
Breakers Tripping Often
The breakers are one of the most important parts of any home wiring system, as they are designed to shut off a circuit if it becomes overloaded and starts to overheat. Given their purpose, it is natural to be concerned about wiring problems if one or more breakers are tripping often. However, you must first rule out the possibility of a faulty breaker.
To test a breaker, turn it off and unplug as many lights and appliances as you can that are attached to that breaker's circuit. After you have done this, turn the breaker back on and leave it for half an hour or so to see if it trips again. If it does, it has most likely failed and you will need to replace the breaker. If the breaker doesn't trip, reconnect one appliance or light at a time until it trips. If you can't determine which item is causing the breaker to trip, but the problem continues, you will need to have a professional electrician inspect the circuit.
Uncomfortably Hot Outlets
It is not cause for panic if your electrical outlets become warm from time to time. This effect is commonly caused by phone and laptop chargers, and other devices that contain an internal transformer. Even when using these devices, however, the outlet should never become so hot that it is uncomfortable to hold your hand on it for an extended period. If one of your outlets gets this hot, you should unplug any connected devices immediately and shut off the breaker for the outlet's circuit.
If only one of your outlets are overheating, the usual suspect is the wiring inside of the outlet. Replacing the outlet yourself can be an easy and simple fix for this problem. Multiple overheating outlets will usually require a professional to inspect the circuit.
Buzzing Outlets or Light Fixtures
If you hear a low buzzing sound in your home but can't pinpoint the source, you should listen closely to your electrical outlets and light fixtures. Outlets and fixtures will often make a buzzing noise when the wiring inside them has started to fray or come loose. This can be caused by electricity arcing between the wires due to the loose connection. You should stop using the outlet or fixture and repair or replace it as soon as possible to avoid the risk of these arcs coming in contact with flammable materials.
Flickering lights can occur due to a variety of causes. A bulb that is about to fail is one of the most common culprits, but if flickering still occurs after changing the bulb, it is possible that the wiring inside of the fixture is loose or faulty, rather than the wiring behind your wall. This is especially true if all of the lights on the fixture are flickering and you haven't noticed any problems with anything else on the same circuit.
If multiple light fixtures on the same circuit are flickering, it is likely that the circuit is producing an inconsistent amount of power. This could be caused by something as simple as connecting too many high-draw devices to the same circuit. It could also point to a more serious problem that requires professional repair, such as a corroded or loose neutral wire.
Keep these signs of home wiring problems in mind so you can remedy the problem quickly and protect your home and family from the risk of an electrical fire. Learn more by contacting companies like Sun Coast Electric & Networking Inc.