6 Warning Signs of Faulty Electrical Wiring in Your Home

Outdated, damaged or otherwise poorly installed and maintained wiring is not something to take lightly. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA),"Home fires involving electrical failure or malfunction caused an estimated average of 440 civilian deaths and 1,250 civilian injuries each year in 2012-2016, as well as an estimated $1.3 billion in direct property damage a year." Don’t let your household be one of them. Keep your senses alert for these easy to spot warning signs of faulty electrical wiring.

WARNING: These warning signs are meant for inspection purposes only. If you find any problems with your electrical system, do not attempt to fix or tinker with it yourself. Contact a local IBEW/NECA electrical professional.

  • Keep Track of Circuit Breaker Trips

    It’s common for a home circuit breaker to trip. That’s what they’re designed to do - shut off your power through the circuit whenever the system is overloaded. In most cases, you can just switch it back on and continue with your tasks. However, if your circuit breaker trips frequently – multiple times a month or more – that’s a surefire sign that there is a deeper, potentially dangerous problem in your home’s electrical wiring or you are taxing that circuit with too many high-energy demanding devices or appliances. 

  • Look and Listen for Flickering, Buzzing or Dimming Lights

    Just because your circuit breaker hasn’t tripped, doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem with your electrical wiring. Another symptom of out dated or damaged wiring is flickering, buzzing or dimming lights. If your lights buzz when they’re turned on or flicker/dim when you use multiple appliances, this is a definite sign that you’re home’s wiring requires a professional upgrade.

  • Look Out for Frayed or Chewed Wiring

    Usually caused by rodents, pets and amateur handymen, any damaged wiring like this is a significant shock and fire hazard. It’s of the utmost importance that if you find or suspect that there is any problems of this kind, you should contact a licensed electrical contractor to inspect and replace the damaged wiring and look for any ancillary damage.  

  • Search for Discoloration, Scorching and Smoke

    Keep an eye open at the outlet points in your home. If you notice any discoloration or scorch marks on your outlets, that is a sign that the wiring in your home has been damaged in some way and is releasing heat. That heat is already damaging your home and has the potential to do much worse if left unchecked.

  • Feel for Warm or Vibrating Wall Outlets

    Another way to find out if the wiring in your home has gone bad is to check by feel. Without touching any wiring directly feel your home’s electrical outlets for heat or vibrations. In the case of either, have an electrician check for and replace any loose or damaged wiring.

  • Smell for Burning and Odd Odors

    Use your nose to sniff out the source of the problem when you suspect an electrical issue in your home. Smell for any burning, smoky or odd odors at the point of outlets, as well as at your electrical panel. Burning smells mean that fire damage may have already begun and, if that’s the case, it’s imperative to have it fixed by an electrical professional immediately.

Unfortunately, many faulty wiring problems can be traced to installations performed by individuals who have little training in safely installing electrical infrastructure.  They entice with a cheap price, but leave you with a potential life threatening hidden danger. When it comes time to sell your home, any reputable inspector is going to find non-code compliant installations and wiring hazards and require you to hire a professional to fix it.  Why live with a hazard when it will have to be fixed when you sell your home?  The Electrical Connection has the largest data base of licensed, code compliant electrical contractors and skilled electricians in the greater St. Louis area. As a partnership between International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local One (IBEW) and the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), we are committed to the highest standards of safety in delivering electrical installations.  Visit our Find a Contractor Directory Search to get started and have your electrical wiring fixed today.