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Doing things around the home to help maintain its value, usability, and comfort is important. A can-do attitude, a few tools, and a willingness to get your hands dirty means that you can save a lot of time, money, and hassle.
However, not all situations can be handled by a savvy homeowner with a bit of gumption. This is particularly true when it comes to electricity. It can be incredibly dangerous, even deadly. Here are nine situations in which you need to call an electrician.
1. You Have Too Many Items Plugged into a Single Outlet
If you’ve got adapters connected to adapters spilling out of the same electrical outlet, it’s a good idea to get in touch with an electrician to have new outlets installed in your home. Many homes were not designed with your power-hungry devices in mind. It can seem simple to just add a couple of power strips or multi-receptacle adapters.
That can be fine if using just one but having multiple strips/adapters can be incredibly dangerous and can increase the chance of a fire in your home. Hiring an electrician to add new outlets will reduce that risk while ensuring the work is done safely.
2. Circuits Trip Regularly
Various sections of your home’s wiring are controlled by individual circuits and circuit breakers. For instance, most of the wiring in your kitchen is probably on a single circuit, with appliances like your oven having their own dedicated circuit.
The breakers that control these circuits can be found in a breaker box somewhere in or around your home. Flipping the breaker from on to off allows you to cut power to the appliance or wiring in question, making it possible to work safely.
However, if you notice that you are constantly having to flip the breaker back on, it means that there’s an overdraw situation in which too much current is being supplied to the circuit, increasing your chances of a fire. Hire an electrician to solve this issue.
3. Your Lights Dim or Flicker
Ordinarily, turning on the lights in your home should require little thought. You should be able to flip the switch, and then enjoy reliable illumination.
However, if your lights dim when the aircon turns on, or they flicker when you use your hair dryer, it likely means that you need either a dedicated circuit for a power-hungry appliance, or a 20-amp line to service smaller applies. An electrician can determine the best option for your situation.
4. Your Wiring Is Not Up to Standards
If you have ever had to replace a damaged light switch or outlet cover, you have had a glimpse of the wiring in your home. Were the wires cloth covered, rather than plastic covered? This can be an indication that your wiring is outdated, which can be a common situation in older homes.
Aging wiring has inferior insulation, which can be a safety issue. If your home is 25 years old or older, it’s recommended that you have your wiring inspected to make sure that it is safe for you and your family.
5. You Feel the Power
When you plug in an appliance, or you flip a light switch, do you notice a tingly feeling in your fingers or hand? That’s electrical current, and it’s a dangerous situation in which to find yourself.
Hiring an electrician can help you determine if there is too much draw on the circuit, if there’s a problem with the wiring, or if the wiring needs to be replaced. Even very mild tingling or small shocks should be cause for concern – it is not normal and should not be ignored.
6. You See Corrosion
Part of your regular household maintenance should be to check outlets and switches for damage. You should also give the breaker box a once over. If you notice corrosion in any of these locations, it is imperative to contact an electrician, as it is a sign that moisture is somehow affecting your electrical system. Water and electricity should never, ever mix.
7. Exposed Wires
One of the most urgent situations in which to call an electrician is if you find exposed wires anywhere in your home. All wires should be out of the way. Any exposed wires increase the chance for electrical shock and fire. Note that “exposed” can mean visible wires with their insulation still intact, or it can mean wires with damaged insulation (an even more dangerous situation).
8. Smoking Outlets
When you plug an appliance into an outlet, it should turn on without any issues. You should also not notice anything out of the ordinary with your outlet. If you see smoke, or smell a hot or burning smell, it is an indication that there is a safety situation. Smoke or a burning smell from an outlet is an indication that wires are touching or improperly grounded, and it could easily lead to a fire.
9. Warm Switches
The light switches in your home should be room-temperature. You should not notice any temperature difference when you turn on the light and your hand comes in contact with the switch cover. If you notice that the switch cover is warm or hot, you should call an electrician right away.
These are just some of the situations that should be handled by a qualified electrician. The truth is that most homeowners do not have the knowledge or expertise necessary to safely deal with electrical issues in and around the home. Unless you have training as an electrician, the best course of action is to call for professional help. A single misstep here could have deadly consequences.
Electricians can help with any sort of electrical issue you might be experiencing in your home, whether your lights are flickering, or you suspect your wiring is outdated and in need of upgrading. Get in touch with your local electrician if you have any doubts.