Depending on the square footage of your home, you could have anywhere from 750 to 3,000 feet of electrical wires strung behind your walls, connecting to your outlets and fixtures. The older the house, the older the wiring, which can present safety concerns. Fortunately, an experienced electrician will be able to bring your wire up to code. You need to watch out for the following red flags to determine if you need to schedule electrical repairs.

1. Older Wiring

The age of your wiring is the first consideration for a potential red flag with your electric system. Over time, wires can degrade and fray. There could also be issues with the outlets in your home that aren’t up to current codes. If you ever plan on selling your home or having it appraised for refinancing, you would need to bring those outlets up to code.

The best course of action with an older home is to arrange for a thorough inspection from a certified electrician. Based on their findings, they can recommend to either replace the entire system or just focus on upgrading the outlets.

2. Overloaded Circuits

Another significant sign that your home may need electrical repairs is if your circuits are overloaded. A good indication of an overload is a flickering light when you run other electrically powered devices like a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner.

If you constantly trip your breakers by operating too many appliances in the same area, then your circuits are being strained to the breaking point. Also, when your electric bill spikes up without additional use, it could be another sign that your circuits are straining to deliver power.

3. Hot Outlets and Switches That are Hot to the Touch

You often plug something into an outlet and forget about it until you have to unplug it again. However, you should pay attention to your outlets. If those outlets are excessively hot to the touch, it’s a sign that the wires in your walls are outdated and frayed. In addition to the warm outlets, look out for discoloration around the plugs, too. That is another sign of potential problems with the wiring behind the outlet.

4. Burned Out Light Bulbs

Light bulbs aren’t meant to last forever. However, if you notice that your light bulbs are burning out faster than usual, it could indicate that you have higher currents running through the electrical wiring. Those currents speed up the duration of the bulb and that can create hazardous conditions in your home.

5. Lights Dimming

You can hire an electrician to install dimmer switches in your home that allow you to control the light levels. However, if your lights seem to dim on their own, that can be a clue that you’re having electrical problems with a diminished current flow. Unlike the bulbs burning out because of too much power, this is a situation with too little power. Whatever is preventing that current charge from flowing through your wiring as it should needs to be looked into.

6. Humming or Buzzing Sounds

Some fluorescent lights are notorious for emitting buzzing sounds. That is normal under certain circumstances. However, it would help if you listened for those buzzing sounds coming from your outlets. Be sure to listen for those humming sounds when you plug in any device. That could spell trouble with your wiring.

7. Loose Outlets

Your outlets should be securely placed on your walls. If outlets become loose or hang from those walls, it could demonstrate a wiring situation that needs to be looked into by a certified electrician. A loose outlet could explain flickering lights, but it’s also signal a potentially dangerous situation that calls for rewiring.

8. Porcelain Fuses

Porcelain fuses date back to home electrical systems from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. If your home still uses these types of fuses, they no longer meet current safety regulations. That entire electrical system will need to be replaced, and an up-to-code circuit breaker box will have to be installed. You’ll go from swapping out burnt fuses to flipping a circuit breaker. It’s much safer and more efficient.

9. Lack of Outlets

If power strips or multi-plug adapters crowd your outlets, it’s a clear sign that you need more outlets to provide power for all your devices. Adding outlets can solve that problem, but that is not a DIY task. This is a job that should only be handled by a professional electrician. Those outlets can be positioned around the same wiring lines that are already in your home. One additional outlet can make a huge difference.

10. Strange Odors Coming From Outlets

You need to pay attention to any strange odor that suddenly emits from your outlets. These can include musty smells or the scent of something burning. These odors could be an indication that your wiring has become damaged, perhaps by a rodent chewing through it. There could also be another type of short in the wiring that is causing the problem. If you smell anything strange coming from an outlet, it’s best to have it looked at immediately.

11. Flickering Lights

When lights flicker on and off at random intervals, it’s usually attributed to a problem with your circuit breaker. You could be overloading the system. However, it could also indicate a bigger problem with your entire electrical wiring system. The flickering might stop if you turn off additional lamps or other devices, but that is not a helpful fix. This is yet another red flag that calls for an inspection.

12. Slower Switches

There should never be a “slow” flip of an electrical switch. When a switch gets stuck in one position or is slow to engage, it’s often a sign that your wiring is working harder than it should. This is called overburdening the switch. A switch should always move swiftly and easily.

An electrician can repair that wiring but also replace the switches. You can change to a dimmer switch or a touch plate that doesn’t have a switch. Those upgrades can also integrate your switches into a smart home app. You could control your lighting from your phone without getting up from the sofa. Ask us about our GFCI upgrades too!

13. Sparks Around Outlets

One of the most obvious signs that you need immediate electric repairs is sparks coming from an outlet. Those sparks can happen when you plug in a device or turn it on after it has been plugged in for a while. If you experience this situation, you should immediately shut off the circuit that runs to that outlet and call an electrician.

Contact the Professional Electricians

Even the smallest issue with your electrical systems should be looked at by the team from Bryant Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric. We have been providing electrical diagnostic and repair services since 1940. Our service areas include Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. In addition to our electric services, we provide support your heating and cooling systems. Our crews are available 24/7. Call Bryant Heating, Cooling, Plumbing & Electric for an inspection or emergency repair at any time.

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