Heads Up On Electricity And Home Fires!

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, electrical failures cause more than 50,000 house fires each year.  The majority of those fires can be prevented especially if you pay attention to what your lights, switch plates, electrical outlets, power cords, and fuse box are telling you. While most municipalities only require an inspection during a renovation or addition, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends having a professional electrician inspect your electrical system every 10 years.

Let’s take a look at some, but not all, of the most obvious culprits and what they may indicate.

Buzzing

There are several causes of electrical humming or buzzing in the home, and they can range from a simple loose screw to more dangerous wiring complications. When everything is working properly, electricity makes no sound. Generally, it should flow smoothly and quietly between connections.

Outlets, loose prongs or frayed wire can all cause the current to jump, which can result in a buzzing sound. Overloaded circuits, higher than recommended wattage of bulbs, and outdated, inefficient appliances are all common reasons why you may hear an electrical buzz in your home.

Dimming or Flickering Lights

Dimming or flickering lights is rarely caused by the light fixtures themselves because they draw only a small amount of power. Even bad weather, like thunderstorms, may temporarily cause flickering and dimming. The more likely reason relates to energy hogs like major appliances or space heaters on the same circuit.

If only one bulb is dimming, it may just be a faulty bulb. You can easily test this by replacing the bulb to see if the condition persists. Do you notice whether all the lights in just one particular area dim or flicker while others do not? This may point a finger at a compromised connection in one circuit. However, if you have many lights all over your home flickering or dimming at various times, for more than 3 or 4 seconds at a time, then there is likely a poor connection at the main wire connection in the panel, main breaker, meter, or possibly even at the power company’s main line.

Sparking

Occasionally you may witness a small, brief spark when an appliance is plugged into, or pulled out of an outlet. This is not usually a major cause for concern. Quite often that small spark has a blue color to it.  However, on the whole, sparks from an electrical outlet are not a good sign; they can suggest a short circuit, and that could mean the risk of an electrical fire. Water can also cause electrical sparks at an outlet.

If you see sparks from an outlet, it’s likely that excessive heat has burned through the insulation and you now have bare wires touching each other.  More often than not, sparks at an outlet indicate either wear and tear of an old switch, or an excessive load from a large electrical circuit. It’s extremely important that the installed light switch or outlet is correctly rated for the circuit amperage.

Know When To Call A Professional

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, you should call a professional if you experience:

  • Electrical sparks from an outlet or breaker panel
  • Flickering lights
  • A burning smell
  • Recurring tripped breakers or burned out fuses
  • Discolored or broken wall outlets

Quality Craftsmen helps you experience a quality home renovation or remodeling and delivers a superior, custom product on schedule and within your specified budget. With over 25 years of experience in the construction and renovation business, we can help you keep your family and home safe by preventing fires caused from electrical breakdowns.  

If you have any questions around electricity in your home and identifying the warning signs, or you need a free quote to fix an electrical malfunction – you can call us at (404) 483-7446, or simply fill out the contact form and a Quality Craftsmen representative will be in touch! 

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