4 Things That Can Cause Common Electrical Issues
Electrical fire starters may be hiding within the walls of your home. Knowing how to spot the signs of electrical damage before they progress is essential to keeping your home safe. Learn more about the four things that can cause electrical issues and how to prevent them.
Whether you’re powering appliances or illuminating your home, you want to ensure that the electricity you rely on is running faithfully and efficiently. Many electrical fires hide within the walls of your home. However, spotting the signs of electrical damage or other warning signs like bad odors, warm outlets, and various other warnings can prevent you from facing more expensive problems. Here are four things that can cause common electrical issues.
1. Condition of System
It’s not something we often think about, but when your home ages, so does your wiring. Old wiring can be problematic for your electrical system and can even be outdated by electrical code regulations. Insulation wears out, connections loosen, and outlets die, so it’s important to have an experienced electrician inspect your system and help prevent more significant electrical problems – like a fire. Roughly 51 percent of home fires are caused by electrical issues, so utilize your preventative maintenance options before it’s too late. This goes for old electronics as well. If the wires are exposed on your plug or your appliance is reaching the end of its life, then you may want to reevaluate what you’re plugging into your home.
2. Improper Installation
Just because you can DIY, doesn’t mean you should. Many homeowners take on electrical wiring when they don’t have the necessary experience in an effort to save money. With older homes and various owners, many electrical problems can pile up from improper DIY fixes. The biggest wiring problem is usually from ungrounded wires (three prongs vs. two prong plugs) and unprotected wires. If you suspect anything isn’t working how it should or something doesn’t look quite right, then have it checked sooner rather than later.
3. Power Surges
Because of the risks inherent with electricity, homes are typically equipped with safety features designed to cut off power at the first sign of problem. Safety triggers include tripping your circuit breaker, GFCI outlets shutting off connections, and fuses or breakers in your main electrical panel “blowing”. If you experience a quick, microsecond shut off of power in your home, then you’ve had a power surge. Electrical surges can be caused by anything from faulty appliances, lousy wiring, tripped circuit breakers, power line over surges, lightning strikes, and more.
Since surges can be quick, you might miss one when it happens. The average home can experience many small surges throughout the entire house. 80 percent of surges are internally generated, meaning they are transient. If they’re frequent, it can cause a lot more damage to your electrical components and even to your plugged in devices. Don’t fry your laptop by plugging into an overloaded circuit! If you start experiencing frequent surges, you may have an electrical device plugged into the home grid or wiring itself. Try unplugging any cheaply made devices from the outlet and see if your surges stop. If they don’t, contact a local electrician to have your wiring inspected or have a whole-home surge protection device installed in your home.
4. Lack of Annual Maintenance
Maintenance in your home is easy to overlook. If there isn’t an active problem, then you might not give a second thought to what’s happening in your home, especially when it’s hidden behind your walls like your electricity. To ensure that your home stays up to code and to prevent major damage from occurring, have routine maintenance performed by a licensed electrician. This can be done annually or more frequently if you prefer. Out of all of the routine tasks that are performed around the house, electrical maintenance might be the most important. Afterall, it has the biggest risks if you don’t have it inspected. While you can perform some general tasks on your own, most of the maintenance is better left to a licensed electrician who is better equipped to perform electrical tests.
If you have questions or concerns about your home’s electrical system, feel free to give us a call or check out our blog post on other solutions for your common electrical issues. We’re happy to help!