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5 Signs of Bad Electrical Wiring in a House

Repair of old electrical switchgear. An electrician replaces old electrical wiring devices

As a homeowner, it’s simple to take the convenience of electricity in your house for granted, but what happens when the electrical wiring goes bad? Remodeling an older home can be a challenge, especially when much of the work is hidden behind walls. According to the National Association of Homebuilders, 52% of American houses were built before 1980. That makes over half of houses in America over 40 years old. With older homes, the chance of incorrect electrical wiring or wiring in need of an update significantly increases. If you are concerned about your home’s wiring and would like an expert’s help, schedule an appointment with Mr. Electric®.

What is Faulty Electrical Wiring?

Faulty wiring means there is either damage to the wires, or incorrect voltage running through them. This could be the result of an electrician cutting corners on safety, wires that have deteriorated with age, or wires damaged by rodents. In any case, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs of bad electrical wiring.

Related Topic: Is Your Home’s Electrical Wiring in Need of Updating?

Can Faulty Wiring Increase Electric Bills?

When electricity does not flow properly, wires are likely to release more electricity than is necessary to run appliances. This leakage increases electricity usage and cause you to spend more money on electricity each month.

Can Faulty Wiring Cause Fires?

Not only can incorrect wiring drain your bank account, it can cause electrical surges in places that are not equipped to handle the heat, which creates a greater fire hazard. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that electrical outlets are involved in 5,300 fires every year.

5 Signs of Bad Wiring in a House

Considering more than half of American homes are at least 40 years old, residential electrical wiring issues are extremely common. Concerned your house might be at risk? Here are five tell-tale signs you may have bad wiring.

  1. Frequently tripping circuit breakers. It’s not uncommon for breakers to trip. That is exactly why we have them—to stop the flow of electricity when the circuit is overloaded. However, if breakers are frequently tripping, the first step is to reduce the number of devices plugged into the circuit. The next step is to replace the circuit breaker. If neither of those measures resolves the issue, the wiring should to be inspected to avoid a fire hazard. It is also possible the circuit is simply overwhelmed by too many high-energy devices.

  1. Flickering lights. Keep an eye out for lights that flicker, buzz, or dim. When you plug in an appliance and the lights dim, this is a sign the electrical current is not flowing properly. Also listen for any light switches that buzz when you turn them on—this is another big red flag.

  1. Hot electrical outlets. Because faulty wiring sends too much electricity to outlets, keep an eye out for hot, darkened, or scorched electrical outlets. This could be an indicate that there is an energy leak heating up the wires and the outlet. This surge of electricity could fry appliances, or—if severe—could cause a fire.

  1. Frayed or chewed wiring. If you notice frayed or chewed wiring, the concern goes beyond rodents in the house. When the protective plastic covering is broken, exposing the wires inside then the electrical circuit is open. This allows electricity to arc, which can cause dangerous electrical shocks and a fire.

  2. Burning or smoky smell. If you smell burning, or melting plastic near an outlet, the wiring has already caused fire damage. Unplug everything from the outlet and contact a licensed electrician to inspect the wiring immediately.

Get Expert Help with Incorrect Electrical Wiring

Maintaining an aging home requires attention to the things you can, and can’t see, like the wiring in your home. There are many basic repairs you can do around your home, but some jobs simply demand the experience and expertise of a professional. Determining if your home is wired correctly is one job you should leave to the pros at Mr. Electric. We can assess your current wiring, identify any issues and help you get it fix so you and your family stay safe. To schedule an appointment with us, call (844) 866-1367 or go online today.