Signs Your Electrical System Might Need Repair

July 07, 2011
outlet with plug

Find out what’s going on with the wiring in your walls

Picture this: It’s a quiet night and you’re calmly reading a classic Stephen King novel in bed when, for no reason, the lights suddenly dim. While the possibility of an evil spirit haunting your home is scary, the real possibility of electrical trouble should probably frighten you even more.

Faulty wiring, poor connections and overloaded sockets can all cause problems ranging from pseudo-hauntings to very scary, very genuine fire hazards. Because the safety of your home and family is more important than anything else, you need to deal with electrical issues as soon as they arise.

Some of the most common home electrical problems should be addressed by a professional. These are a few of them:

Flickering or blinking lights

Assuming the bulb is tight, flickering lights are typically caused by a poor connection somewhere along a circuit. The more widespread the flickering throughout the home, the bigger the issue.

Dead outlet or switch

If you haven’t simply blown a circuit, switches and outlets that go dead without warning are usually a sign of a poor connection somewhere. These can be caused by loose or broken wires and should be dealt with immediately.

Popping light bulbs

Popping bulbs, or some lights running bright while others go dim, indicate a bad main neutral connection. This problem can be progressively destructive and can even cause appliances to die without warning. Consult with an electrician immediately

Frequently blown fuses

Both an annoyance and a hazard, fuses that blow frequently are a sign of an overloaded circuit. While you can throw a switch for a quick fix or even learn to balance your energy usage, the best solution is to have an electrician create a new, separate circuit.

Sparking outlet or loose plug

Over the years, frequent plugging and unplugging causes outlets to deteriorate. One sign of a worn outlet is a loose-fitting plug that either wiggles in the socket or falls out entirely when lightly touched. Worn outlets are a common cause of injury and fire. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there are nearly 4,000 injuries per year associated with electrical outlet problems. If you suspect a worn outlet, unplug all items from the receptacle and call an electrician right away.

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