Photo By freeman98589 at istock
Most people are not experts concerning electricity and wiring in homes. Electricity can actually be frightening for those of us that don’t know much about it. Luckily, professional electricians are available in Bedford, TX, to take the mystery out of electricity and make sure our homes are safe.
Flickering lights are a common problem for many homeowners. The cause is probably not a supernatural disturbance, or anything out of the ordinary. Flickering lights during use of heavy appliances, such as heating and air systems, washers and dryers, and refrigerators are most likely caused by an outlet that was not meant for high-power appliances.
An electrician can fix this problem by dedicating a circuit to power-heavy appliances and updating the wiring. Flickers that occur randomly without any association with a particular appliance may be due to a conductor issue in the panel. This is a potentially dangerous problem and should be addressed by an electrician as soon as possible.
Humming Breaker Boxes
A buzzing or humming sound from breaker boxes is fairly common. The sound is produced by the energy moving through the box at all times. This humming can become part of the background noise in a home and is usually not noticed
unless something changes.
A louder hum than normal or fluctuations in intensity can indicate a problem. It may seem reasonable that the sound would be louder when a high-powered appliance is in use, but this is not necessarily true. A properly wired home should not produce louder sounds during operation of commonly used appliances.
Rodents are a common concern for homeowners in Bedford, TX. Damaged wires may not be the first thing that comes to mind after noticing rodent droppings. Unfortunately, mice and rats almost always chew electrical wiring. Chewed wires are a fire hazard. The damaged wiring may not be immediately obvious, but chances are that damage has occurred somewhere if rodents have established themselves in a home.
A visual check of wiring in basements, attics, and other areas where rodent droppings are found may identify potential hazards. Rodents can also get inside walls and crawlspaces that homeowners can not view easily. An electrician knows what to look for and has the necessary knowledge to check areas that may be overlooked by untrained homeowners.
Water damage presents a threat to a home’s electrical wiring. A damaged roof or leaky window allows water to enter the home. Turn off the power to any outlets that may have been exposed to moisture. The structural or roof damage must be fixed, and it is also a good idea to have an electrician check wiring and outlets in area of the home exposed to moisture.
Any outlet exposed to water should be replaced. Sometimes water damage is not obvious. Small leaks can exist for a long time without being noticed, and damaged wiring inside of walls exposed to moisture can go unnoticed as well.
Some signs to look for include sparks from outlets around windows or water sources and unexplained outlet malfunctions. Consult a professional if appliances and devices plugged into a certain outlet suddenly stop working. Outlets do not lose power for no reason, so a malfunctioning outlets means a problem in the wiring exists somewhere.
Arcing Plugs and Outlets
Electrical arcing when plugging in an appliance or any kind of electrical device should not be ignored. It could indicate a problem with the power box or wiring. A spark always occurs when plugging an electronic device into an outlet, but it shouldn’t be visible in a plug that is operating normally.
A small flash of white or blue light is fairly common. This flash looks threatening, but it is normal and does not present a threat of electrocution beyond a small static shock. Flashes that last longer than a few seconds or flashes with yellow or orange coloring may indicate a problem. A warm outlet also indicates a wiring problem. Stop using an outlet immediately if unusual visible arcing occurs or if the outlet and surrounding wall surface feels hot.
Stop using an outlet if you notice a visible arc and call an electrician. Arcing can damage the plug or cause fires. It is important to take note of strange odors. A smell similar to ozone or undercurrents of burning plastic could indicate a fire has occurred, even if it is just a small one. Examine outlets and plugs closely. Misshapen plugs or black soot around an outlet mean something produced enough heat to melt plastic and burn materials in range of the plug.
A melted plug surrounded by black soot is a very dangerous sign because it means there was enough heat to burn or melt everything around the outlet. Contact a professional electrician if you have any doubts or suspicions. It is better to be overly cautious than ignore a problem that could seriously damage your home, and injure the people inside. Call emergency services for active fires and sparking. The underlying problem can be fixed by an electrician after the immediate threat is addressed.
Dangers of Electrical Fires
The National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, states that electrical failures or malfunctions were the second most common cause of house fires in the U.S. from 2012-2016 and made up 13% of all residential structure fires. Approximately 24% of these fires started between midnight and 8 am. Electrical fires were responsible for 18% of civilian deaths and 20% of direct property damage caused by fire during the same four-year period.
Homeowners can protect themselves by consulting an electrician immediately at the first sign of electrical problems. Call the professionals at Tioga Plumbing, Electric, and Glass in Bedford, TX, to make sure your home’s electrical wiring is safe and keep appliances, lighting, and heating or cooling systems running reliably.