Electricity is necessary in modern homes for lighting, heating and cooling, and to power our appliances. The electrical system makes everyday life easier, however, it can also be dangerous. Electrical issues may cause shock and even lead to a house fire, so it’s important that you know how to spot trouble. Here are a few common signs of an electrical problem in the home.

Signs of an Electrical Problem: Loose Outlets

Loose electrical outlets need to be repaired immediately. The wiring in the outlet can become disconnected and cause a shock when using the outlet. Since they disrupt the flow of electricity, they are prone to arc faults, which is a fire hazard.

If you have outlets that become loose, have an electrician inspect them to determine the problem. You may have older wiring that needs to be replaced.

Burning or Melting Smell

A burning smell from an outlet is an urgent warning sign. This means the protective plastic covering is beginning to melt from the wiring. A wire is overheating and this can lead to damaged electrical components or a house fire. Turn off the breaker that provides power to that outlet and call an electrician.

Flickering Lights are Sign of an Electrical Problem

Flickering or dimming lights may seem harmless, but they can be signs of a serious problem. If you notice flickering lights, first check to make sure the bulb is firmly twisted into the socket. You might also try replacing the bulb.

If this doesn’t resolve the issue, call an electrician. Flickering lights could be due to a defective fixture or loose wiring connections. A professional will be able to troubleshoot the issue and make repairs.

Frequently Blown Breakers

Your electric panel contains breakers that control power to different areas of your home. If a breaker is frequently tripping, you may need to replace the breaker. If your breaker trips, open the panel and turn it completely off before switching it on again.

If the same breaker experiences issues, this usually means that you have too many devices relying on the power from that circuit. Check your appliances and relocate one or two to another circuit. If you continue to have problems with the breaker, call an electrician. He or she might replace it or add another circuit to handle the electrical load.

Altamont Inspections provides home inspections to customers in Western North Carolina. Contact us to schedule an appointment.