How to Spot Faults in Your Home’s Electrical Circuit

Bad Electrical Wiring in Kirkland, WA

An efficient electrical system is essential for the safety and comfort of modern households. But with time, the circuit can develop issues that could increase your utility bills and cause hazards. However, carrying out regular inspections is the best way to find faults and prevent fires. Here are signs that may indicate there are malfunctions in your electrical system.

Pay Attention to Dimming and Flickering Lights

If you notice the lights dimming or flickering, it is usually a sign of an electrical problem. There are several reasons why the lights may be dimming.

First, if you are using dimmer switches, you need to rule out the bulbs. The bulb will flicker when you use CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamps). You can replace the bulb with an appropriate LED light to test if it will work.

Before making conclusions, you should also consider problems with the grid. In stormy weather, the lights may flicker due to faults on the grid, such as a blown-up transformer. If the issue is not the dimmer switch or your local electrical grid, it is probably a fault in the circuit. Your electrical system could be overloaded, meaning it cannot handle the load from all the appliances in your home.

If your electrical circuit is overloaded, you will notice flickering lights when you use an energy-intensive appliance. In such cases, you should call an electrician to inspect your electrical unit. Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning can upgrade your system to protect your Kirkland home.

You Are Using Too Many Extension Cords

If you frequently have to use extension cords, it usually indicates that your home’s circuit needs an upgrade. Your home has too few outlets, and that’s why you have to have extension cords to power multiple appliances.

Overusing the extension cords can be dangerous and may even start a fire. When you exceed its power rating, overheating is likely to occur. If you notice the extension cord is getting hot, you should stop using it altogether. You should avoid passing the extension cords under the carpet or in-between furniture. It can accelerate damage to the cable and the plug. It is also advisable to check its ratings before using it with high-powered appliances.

Ultimately, the solution is to increase the number of outlets in your home. According to the U.S. CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission), extension cords are responsible for 4,000 emergency room visits annually. Upgrading your circuit will reduce the risk of electrical fires.

Strange Burning Odors

If you notice the smell of burning plastic, wire insulation, or tar, it is a sign of a potential electrical hazard. Most electrical components are made of materials that can resist heat. But if the temperatures rise beyond a given point, they will melt or burn.

Several malfunctions in your electrical system may be responsible for overheating. Overloaded circuits and fuses or breakers with the wrong capacity will not regulate the current effectively, causing components to burn. Loose wires and defective insulation can also lead to a fire in your home.

A licensed electrician can quickly find the fault in your electrical system. Depending on the source of the problem, you may have to upgrade your circuit’s panel. If you detect burning odors in your home, you can trust Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning in Kirkland for quality electrical services.

Buzzing and Sparking in the Outlets

Have you noticed buzzing in the outlets or around the circuit breaker? Components of the circuit are designed to run quietly without making any detectable sounds. So, when there’re sounds like buzzing, humming, and sparking, it is often a cause for concern.

Buzzing is a sign of a defective outlet that needs a replacement. Sometimes wires can get loose, leading to sparking. Overloaded circuits can speed up the deterioration of outlets, leading to dangerous arcing that can cause fires. Buzzing or humming around the breaker panel indicates that there are dangerous arcs within the circuit breaker. It could be incorrectly rated components in your circuit as a result of substandard electrical installation.

Regardless of the cause, an electrician should inspect your electrical system immediately. The continuous buzzing will deteriorate other components of your breaker panel with time. Therefore, you should address the fault quickly to avoid costly repairs and eliminate the risk of a fire hazard.

Frayed Wires and Loose Outlets

As you inspect the wiring in your home, you should look out for unsecured outlets and frayed cables. If you have loose outlets, you can turn off the power in your home and tighten the screws. It is also worth noting that if one outlet is loose, other outlets will need tightening as well. You ought to inspect the faceplate for burns or scorch marks. Frayed wires can also be a sign of electrical faults in your circuit.

If there are signs of burns or scorch marks, you may need to replace the outlet and upgrade your electrical system. Burns often indicate that the circuit is overloaded or is arching. If you are unsure about the condition of your electrical system, consult with Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning in Kirkland.

Your Home’s Circuit Is Outdated Wiring

Your home’s electrical system may be outdated. Older homes tend to have wiring that does not match the demands of a modern household. As a result, the circuit becomes overloaded, and you may notice burns, scorch marks, and buzzing around outlets. Some houses have knob-and-tube wiring, which consists of porcelain insulating knobs and copper wires. Those circuits could only support a small number of outlets and lighting fixtures. Even though they were sufficient for the time, the electrical load is inadequate for modern homes.

Another problem with outdated circuits is that they do not have ground. Grounding is critical for modern systems as it protects your expensive appliances from damage. Sensitive electronics such as computers are at a high risk of failure when there is a power surge. Additionally, outdated wiring does not comply with the National Electrical Code. The knob-and-tube wiring is not robust enough for modern systems. Renovation activities can easily damage them. Because of NEC regulations, insurance companies may be reluctant to cover your home.

The National Electrical Code also requires the addition of GFCI outlets in rooms with a high risk of shocks. Areas in your home, like the kitchen, are prone to electrical faults due to water exposure. Check the outlets in the kitchen or bathroom. If they are similar to outlets in the rest of your home, you ought to consider an upgrade.

Electricians recommend organizing a wiring inspection every three to five years. With time, outlets, fixtures, and other components in the circuit can succumb to wear and tear. A licensed professional may check parts of your system if you detect arching, burning, or overloaded outlets. Finding faults in the circuit at the earliest stage prevents costly repairs and protects your home from fires.

Contact Us Today for Electrical Service

Regardless of the size of your project, you can rely on Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning for dependable services in Kirkland. We have a team of highly skilled, experienced, and licensed electricians who can inspect and repair your system. You can consult our staff for lighting fixtures, dedicated line installation, generator services, amongst others. For quality electrical solutions in Kirkland, don’t hesitate to contact our help desk today.