Electrical problems are tricky. It’s one area of home maintenance where a DIY approach is almost never appropriate. This means calling in the professionals when things get dicey.
Generally, every homeowner should have the electrical checked once every three to five years. Your electric system might last a long time before needing maintenance, depending on factors such as:
- Age of the home
- Age of the wiring
- Electrical fixture upgrades
- Damage to home
In Coeur d’Alene, DNA Electric works with home and business owners on a variety of electrical needs. Here, we’ll talk about the 5 top signs it’s time to replace or repair your home’s electrical.
1. Buzzing in the Walls
Nope, it’s not a hoard of bees taking up space in the walls (well, it could be, better get that checked). It’s most likely a faulty wire. The buzzing sound is caused by the flow of electricity being disturbed at the point of a break or loose wire.
You can tell the difference between electrical buzzing and other buzzing like insects by when it starts and stops. If you only hear the sound when a light switch is on, it’s a power-related problem.
It’s important to get this tended to quickly. A loose wire or faulty circuit could cause more than sounds. Sparks lead to fire. If an electrical fire starts, you may not detect it until it’s coming in through the walls.
2. Dimmer Than Usual Lighting
Dim lights are a sign your circuits breaker is overloaded. Too much energy is trying to make its way out into your home, and not enough is reaching the lights. Another sign of this is flickering lights.
Dimming and flickering sometimes happen because of normal electrical amp changes. Unfortunately, it could also mean there’s bad wiring somewhere in the house, or that the breaker is bad.
Keep an eye on changes in lighting. If it becomes a regular occurrence, it’s time to call the professionals.
3. Sparks and Shocks
Outlets and light switches should be safe to use. When you plug in an appliance or flip a light switch, electricity should flow smoothly and safely into the device in use. If you see sparks or get zapped when switching on, there’s something wrong.
Now, it could be that the specific device is malfunctioning. For example, if a hair dryer sparks when you plug it in, it might be the dryer that needs replacing. Try a different appliance to see if it works better. There’s also a higher risk for shocks in winter when the air is dry, and friction is high.
In the case of shocks and sparks, talk to a professional to see if there’s a problem. In most cases, a small fix will make a big difference.
4. Outdated Outlets
Outdated electrical hardware is a big problem. When you move into a new home, look for inconsistencies in the outlets. Modern outlets are developed to be safe and grounded. They include a third port and wire to do this. If you see two-port outlets in your home, it’s time for an upgrade.
Outlets with room for only two prongs aren’t grounded. This means if there’s a power surge, it could cause damage to your appliance, the breaker, and even your home. Be extremely careful using these outlets, and update them as soon as possible.
The grounded three-prong outlet became widely used in the 1990s. If your house was built before then, talk to a professional about upgrading the electrical setup.
5. Lights That Don’t Work and Wires that Look Frayed
If your home has any light switches that do absolutely nothing, it’s probably not a fluke. These switches were likely designed to turn on ceiling lights, or outlets in the room. If you flip the switch and the light doesn’t work (despite bulb change attempts), it’s time for some electrical work.
These non-working switches are probably being impacted by faulty connections. In other words, there are wires in your walls with damage you can’t see. These hidden wires could be brushing against other wires, woodwork, or metal pipes.
Similarly, if you notice any visibly damaged wires or outlets, call in the troops. This is an issue you should never try to tackle on your own. Damaged wires are a big cause of electrical fires. They can spark at any time.
Contact DNA Electric Today
Looking to learn more about electric systems in Coeur d’Alene or have work that needs to be done? DNA Electric can help. Call us today!