Electrical malfunctions are a leading cause of house fires – over 50,000 a year – but the majority of these fires are preventable. Inadequate or faulty wiring is the most common culprit, but they often go unnoticed because homeowners don’t recognize the symptoms.
Homes are often only inspected during a renovation, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends having an electrician look over your electrical system every 10 years. If your inspection is overdue, or if you recognize any of the following warning signs, call an electrician to inspect your home and fix any potential hazards.
Common Signs You Need an Electrical Upgrade
- Too many extension cords – Aside from creating a messy tripping hazard, there’s a reason electrical wires are kept in the walls: a protected wiring system suffers less wear and tear. Exposed cords can get pinched, kinked, or shorted out, leading to tripped breakers, damaged outlets, or even a fire. Extension cords should be used briefly and sparingly, such as for the holidays or other short-term uses. If you find yourself consistently needing more outlets, Farryn Electric can install them for you.
- Funny odors – A new appliance may produce an odd odor the first few times it’s used, but it you notice an unusual smell coming from an outlet, turn off and unplug anything connected to it immediately. Don’t use the outlet again until you’ve had it inspected by a qualified electrician. If your fuse box or breaker panel smells funny, call your Farryn Electric right away.
- Hot outlets or switch plates – Even if you are using a heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater), its outlet should never become hot. A switch plate may be slightly warm, but if it is too hot to touch, remove any plugs. If it remains hot without anything plugged in, the outlet may be wired incorrectly. Consult your electrician, who may advise you to shut off the breaker for that outlet until your system can be serviced.
- Frequently blown fuses or tripped breakers – Circuit breakers and fuses are designed to fail before they overload your system. If an appliance routinely trips a breaker, regardless of the outlet used, the appliance is likely at fault. But if a particular outlet repeatedly blows its fuse, the circuit is probably overloaded. Call Farryn Electric to discuss upgrading the circuit or adding a new line.
- Buzzing – When your electricity is working properly it shouldn’t make any noise: it flows quietly between connections. But if there are loose outlets, prongs, or fraying wires, the current will jump, causing a buzzing sound. If you hear buzzing from an outlet, stop using it and call Farryn Electric.
Whether you need to upgrade your electrical service or replace faulty outlets, Farryn Electric’s skilled electricians will complete your job with quality and care. Our company is built on a reputation for high-quality work and friendly service, and we work hard every day to maintain our reputation by being mindful of your time and respecting your home. If you’re in need of an electrical upgrade, we service the Greater Main Line area and much more. Check out some reviews from past customers and please call us today!
This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that having lots of extension cords indicates that you need more outlets. I’ve had to start using extension cords and power strips in both my kitchen and home office. I hadn’t considered that this could be a safety hazard, but I’ll definitely look into having an electrician come and install some more wiring and outlets to accommodate my needs. Thanks for the great post!
Thanks for pointing out that you should get your electrical wiring looked at if any outlets in your home are hot to the touch. When I was unplugging my phone charger this morning, there was noticeable heat coming from the outlet. I’ll definitely call an electrician to see if my wiring needs repair.