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Electrical wiring safety: When to call an electrician

by First Choice Realty Inc 11/16/2022

While many homeowners would prefer to either ignore or take a DIY approach to common household problems, electrical wiring should be reserved for licensed professionals. Even minor electrical issues can be dangerous if left unaddressed, and trying to fix them yourself can be risky.

But how do you know when it’s time to call an electrician? Here are the seven things you should always contact a professional for:

Unexplained buzzing or humming sounds

If you notice a new buzzing or humming noise in the house, it could be an electrical system issue. Try to find the source of the noise if possible, even if it’s just a general area of the home.

Dim or flickering lights

Dim or flickering light fixtures can be annoying, but a minor inconvenience you might simply ignore. While in some cases flickering or dimming can indicate a dying light bulb, other cases are more serious.

For example, you could have deteriorated or damaged wiring somewhere in your home due to pests. Rather than risk losing power throughout the house, it’s best to contact a qualified electrician as soon as possible.

A constantly tripping circuit breaker

It’s common for your circuit breaker to trip sometimes, especially when using certain appliances. However, if you notice it happening frequently, it’s time for a professional to investigate. The circuit could either be overloaded, or there could be an electrical wiring issue elsewhere.

A burning smell

One of the most serious consequences of residential wiring problems is fire. If you notice an unexplained scent similar to burning plastic or rubber, try to find the source immediately. Make sure to note any issues like discoloration on switches or black marks near power points.

Small shocks from outlets or appliances

Static electricity can build in the home and manifest in tiny shocks. While generally this is a common annoyance, sometimes it can be a faulty electrical wire somewhere in the house. Instead of risking serious injury, have an electrician find the source of the issue.

Visible sparks

Have you ever noticed a spark when plugging something in to an outlet? This can be a serious fire hazard and indicate something wrong with your home’s electrical system. Avoid using any outlet where you’ve noticed sparks and call a professional right away.

Moving to a new home

Home inspections are part of every home buying process. However, it’s worth hiring a licensed electrician to inspect your new home specifically for electrical issues. They can identify any potential risks or problems before you make your final decision.

Electrical wiring is complex and requires specific training and tools to repair. While you might be tempted to address issues with electrical wires yourself, it’s safer to contact a licensed electrician.