How to Spot a Potential Electrical Hazard in Your Home

Potential electrical hazards are very common and can be found in almost all kinds of property. Whether it’s a newly bought house, or your old home that you have paid a significant amount of money to renovate recently; the chances of the property being in danger from a potential electrical hazard are always there. The only way to know for sure would be by looking for the following signs.

The Circuit Breaker is Doing Its Job Far Too Often

Before we proceed, you must understand why the circuit breaker is there in the first place and how it works to keep everyone and everything safe from electrical hazards.

Without complicating things too much, the circuit breaker can be defined as the simple gate that cuts off the electrical supply to the circuits that it’s connected to, if the breaker senses an overload or overheating danger. It’s a simple yet tremendously effective solution which saves electrical appliances, as well as preventing electrical fires.

Therefore, if the mechanism is being triggered far too often, then it’s a sign that the circuit breaker is preventing electrical hazards way too often as well. The following scenarios could be responsible for the circuit breaker being tripped frequently:

  • Any particular appliance is drawing too much electricity from the main source
  • There are too many electrical appliances in your home and the main supply is not equipped to handle so much load
  • The wiring in your house is not capable of carrying the kind of heavy electrical loads that your home needs
  • A short circuit is the culprit; it could be an electrical appliance or a problem with the home’s circuitry itself
  • The circuit breaker is malfunctioning, which is the least likely cause

Should You Just Reset Your Circuit Breaker Every Time It Happens?

Resetting the circuit breaker is primarily what you are supposed to do under normal circumstances, but if it is happening frequently and sometimes even more than once a day, call an electrician immediately, because you have just spotted a potential and dangerous electrical hazard.

Finding an expert electrician near you is quite easy these days, thanks to Porch. Visiting immediately enables the user to locate reputable electricians near their location and book the electrician’s services directly from there.

It is very likely that if you reset the circuit breaker enough times and ignore the frequent overloads, the breaker switch just won’t trip anymore after a while. As this failure of the circuit breaker has fire, appliance damage and home disaster written all over it, don’t let it get to that point.

The Burning Smell

If something smells like it’s burning, then well, something is burning! Unless you live near a chemical lab, or a manufacturing plant, from where such smells could be emanating, there is an ongoing electrical overload/overheating/fire in your house.

Now, burning food and burning electricals smell distinctly different, and you should be able to tell the difference easily, given that electrical fires always have a chemical smell to them in the beginning.

Even if there’s no visible smoke, but the smell persists or intensifies, get out of the house and call an electrician. If you can locate the source of the smell by yourself and can see smoke, keep in mind that the ONLY safe way to dowse such fires is to use a gaseous (CO2) fire extinguisher. If the fire is already sizable, or if there’s a lot of smoke, do not go near it and call the fire department/911 immediately.

The Sign of Burn Near Outlets and Switches

Sign of burns near outlets and switches is the most passive and commonly overlooked sign. If any of the outlets or switches look burned or discolored, it’s a sign that a large spark or multiple of them have been the cause. Sparks are short bursts of fire and they are not supposed to char switches or outlets! It’s only a mater of fact before one of those sparks manages to become a fire.

Sometimes, people live in hazardous conditions for decades without even realizing something is wrong with the way their wiring is set up. they may not ever consider fact that the bulbs flickering on and off every now and then is a sign of unregulated power fluctuations. The problem is, such places are like trip wires, where one wrong move at the wrong time could result in anything from electrocution, to the whole house going up in flames. Never take chances and make sure that a professional periodically checks your home for signs of potential hazards annually. or every six months.