An NFPA report suggests that between the years 2015-19, electrical wiring and related equipment failures accounted for 68% of home fires and 60% of direct property damage.
Electrical wiring that is outdated, faulty, or poorly installed can lead to untoward events such as damage to property and serious injury. Hence, regular maintenance and thorough check-ups of electrical wiring are prerequisites for safer homes.
In this blog, we discuss some of the early warning signs that can help us spot faulty/dangerous electrical wiring.
1. Flickering, buzzing, or dimming lights
Appliances that are used in heating or cooling tend to utilize more power.
Flickering, buzzing, or dimming of the lights can be signals for an issue related to the incapacity of the system to power all the fixtures.
It might also happen if the wiring connection to a light fixture is loose. In such cases, consulting an electrician in North Shore, Auckland, is advisable.
2. Bundling of extension cords
Electrical wiring, which is left undisturbed, can work effectively for a long time. Whereas if it’s constantly altered, it may have the potential to cause trouble.
Even an extension cord can create an additional point, leading to short circuits, damaged outlets, and tripped breakers. For prevention, extension cords should be used sparingly for a limited period. Having an electrician install them at the time of need can be the best approach.
3. Sparking in the electrical wiring
It is a bad sign!
Call a reliable electrician if it involves a fuse box, breaker panel, or outlet.
Although it may also mean that a fixture is damaged, proper precautions must be taken.
4. Smell of burning and odours
Smell for any burning, odd or smokey odours at the point of circuits, outlets, and electrical panels.
Burning might indicate that damage has already started to take place. In such cases, it becomes essential to call for professional help to fix the issue.
5. Frayed or chewed electrical wiring
Usually, rodents, house pets, or amateur handymen can cause damage to the electrical wiring.
It is important to inspect and find the source of the problem to replace the damaged wiring as well as any ancillary damage that took place.
6. Tracking the circuit breaker trips
It is common for circuit breakers to trip as they are designed to shut the power off whenever the system is getting overloaded.
Usually, you will be able to switch it back on and continue.
However, if circuit breakers trip multiple times a month, it is symptomatic of a larger issue. Seek professional help!
7. Electrical shocks from outlets and switches
Electrical shocks occur when a component short circuits.
If it is mild, a ground fault in the appliance or improper wiring might be the cause. For any other type, it’s advisable to consult an electrician.
Tips to Ensure Safety
Examining your electrical outlets, switches, and visible wires comes under visual inspection. If you see any damage like broken wires, loose connections, or burn marks, there is a high chance of damaged electrical wiring. Also, discolouration around electrical outlets is a sign of overheating. If you notice any of these issues, immediately address them and seek help from a licensed electrician.
Regular inspection by an electrician
You can do a visual inspection. But a professional inspection requires a licensed electrician. A professional electrician will do a thorough examination, like checking hidden damages within walls and circuits. An in-depth assessment can save you from potential hazards before it’s too late. Also, it can save you money by preventing costly repairs in the future.
Plugging in too many devices at one time leads to overheating. Overheating can cause serious hazards like life-threatening electrical fires. This can be easily avoided by using only a few devices or spreading the electrical load across circuits. Otherwise, additional outlets can be installed.
Keep wiring away from moisture because they do not go together. Make sure all your electrical outlets are dry, free of moisture, and away from water sources. Residents can use GFCIs in outlets for moisture-prone areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoors.
GFICs and AFCIs
GFCI are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters safety devices that protect against electric shocks, whereas AFCI is Arc fault Circuit Interrupters that protect against electric fires. You can test GFCIs by pressing Test and Reset buttons to ensure functionality. Similarly, AFCIs also have Test and Reset buttons; you can check by pressing them and seeing their breakers if they indicate an on or off position.
If your home has outdated wiring or it doesn’t meet today’s safety standards, consider upgrading it to ensure safety.
But after all the safety practices and guidelines, it can still go out of hand. Unfortunately, if you were to face any mishappenings, what would you do? If an electrical output catches fire, what are you supposed to do? Do you know that? If not, don’t worry. We are listing some immediate responses that one should take as soon as the incident breaks out or they discover it.
- Stay calm: Stay calm to avoid any hasty decisions. Such decisions may get you in more trouble.
- Assess: If it is safe, only then try to find the source of the situation. If you see smoke coming out or sparks, it might be an electrical fire. On top of that, if you see damaged electrical components, then it is likely an electrical hazard.
- Be safe: Personal safety should be your priority. Don’t touch anything, not even those outlets which seem safe. If you see an electrical fire, don’t extinguish it with water. You might get an electric shock or electrocute.
- Cut off the electricity: If it is safe to reach the primary circuit, cut off the power supply to your home. It will reduce the risk of further damage and make it safe to touch the electrical. But in case of major electrical fire or hazards, don’t touch anything immediately.
- Call for help: Immediately dial the emergency number if the situation is out of your control or getting worse with time. Always have emergency numbers saved in your phone. If you suspect wiring related problem, you can call a licensed electrician.
- Evacuate: If the situation keeps getting worse, evacuate immediately with all the members. Better call for help outside.
Remember, in such situations, your safety is the top priority. And to prevent these accidents, set up regular professional checkups.
Visual inspection, regular professional checks, installing GFCIs and AFCIs, upgrading outdated wiring, avoiding overheating and overloading, and keeping away from moisture are important safety practices.
By adopting these practices, you can ensure your peace of mind, maintaining a safe and secure home for yourself and your loved ones. If you suspect anything doubtful about the electrical system of your place, consider seeking a professional electrician for assistance. Don’t panic. Keep your peace of mind and take suitable action.
Hopefully, this was helpful.