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Outdated, damaged or otherwise poorly installed and maintained wiring is not something to take lightly. There are hundreds of thousands of residential electrical fires in the United States each year that leave households with expensive repair and hospital bills. 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 whenever the system is overloaded. In most cases, you should 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.

  • 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 huge 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 an electrical contractor or wiring professional to inspect and replace your home’s wiring.

  • 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, you can be sure 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 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.

Trust your senses and trust the professionals. If you see, hear or smell any of the above warning signs, don’t let family, friends or yourself tinker with it. Pick up the phone and contact the Electrical Connection to be connected with the largest selection of professional electricians and electrical contractors in the greater St. Louis area. The Electrical Connection is a partnership between International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local One (IBEW) and the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). Try out our Find a Contractor Directory Search to get started and have your electrical wiring fixed today.

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