Key Signs of Electrical Problems in Your Home

Electrician fixing electrical problem in basementA safe and efficient electrical system is essential for every home but when electrical issues creep up, they can have severe consequences if they’re not repaired quickly. From costly repairs to endangering the safety of your loved ones, avoiding electrical problems is the first step in proactive home maintenance.

Signs of Electrical Problems in Your Home

The Breaker Keeps Tripping

Just like in commercial buildings, the circuit breaker in your home is designed to cut off electrical flow when a fault is detected. Frequent “tripping” of the breaker can usually means that the system is overloaded, or that there is a fault somewhere in the electrical wiring.

What to do: If your circuit breaker trips a lot, don’t continue resetting it and forgetting it because it could end up being a big problem. At this point its good to call one of your local residential electricians to diagnose and fix the problem before it gets worse.

You Hear Unusual Sounds or Unusual Odours

A home’s electrical system should work without making any odd noises or smells. If you start to notice some buzzing sounds or smell a light burning odour, it could mean that something is wrong with your electrical system – something like faulty wiring or an overloaded circuit – which are both potential fire hazards.

What to do: Definitely don’t ignore these warning signs. Turn off whatever electrical component or outlet that is causing the problem and do some research as to why it’s happening. If you can’t figure out how to fix the problem yourself, simply consult with a local electrical company.

Flickering and Dimming Lights

Ceiling lighting in kitchenFlickering or dimming lights in your home can be more than just annoying and instead usually signal an issue with some part of your home’s electrical system.

This could mean there’s a problem with the circuit itself or a larger issue like an inadequate electrical supply.

When homeowner’s experience flickering lights, they don’t usually think it’s a big problem, but 90% of the time its a problem only an electrician can fix.

The other 10% of the time, solving the problem could be as simple as tightening a loose bulb, replacing a worn-out light switch, or just swapping out an old lamp or fixture.

What to do: First check indoors and outdoors for loose bulbs, and replace old switches or old fixtures. If that doesn’t work, reach out to an electrician. They’ll conduct a thorough inspection and resolve the issue.

Outdated Wiring Problems

Unfortunately many older homes are equipped with wiring that may not meet modern electrical standards. Outdated wiring can lead to inefficiencies but also pose significant safety risks like electrical shocks or fires.

An example of this is if you experience a shock when you go to plug things into an outlet. Sometimes you won’t see a shock but will eventually start to smell a burning odour. 

These are more common signs of old electrical wiring problems:

  1. Frequent circuit breaker tripping
  2. Dimming or flickering lights
  3. Overheating outlets or switches
  4. Electrical shocks
  5. Burning odors or sparks
  6. Inconsistent power supply
  7. Unexplained spikes in energy bills

What to do: At this point you should consider having an electrical inspection – especially if your home is more than 20 years old. An electrical upgrade combined with rewiring could be necessary too to get your system updated to current electrical standards.

You See Spikes in Energy Bills

Spikes in energy bills are usually caused by many issues that are unrelated to your electrical system. These include things like seasonal changes in energy use, rate hikes, or use of high-consumption appliances like air conditioners.

However, an uptick could also be a sign that something is actually wrong with your home’s electrical system. If it’s electrical-related, the problem could be damaged wiring, electrical leaks, inefficient electrical appliances, outdated electrical panels, a recent renovation, poor insulation, malfunctioning circuit breakers, or even electrical theft.

What to do: Look around your home to see if the spike is due to a change in your environment. Also consult with your electrical company to find out if they raised their rates. If nothing seems out of order, hire a local electrician to do an energy audit.

On the positive side, if you find the spikes in your energy bills are really high and happening every month, an electrical audit will turn out to be an investment that could give you long-term savings.

If You Have Electrical Issues in a New Home

Kitchen cabinet lighting exampleWhen you buy a new home, you generally expect that the electrical system was designed to work perfectly, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. 

Sometimes new houses start to present electrical problems early on which are usually because of simple reasons like a faulty electrical installation or simple human error.

Here are some things you can do if your new house as electrical issues early on:

  1. First check your warranty: Check that your builder’s warranty because it usually covers repairs, including electrical problems. Review your warranty carefully and determine what is covered and for how long.
  2. Contact the builder: If you are under warranty, the builder is responsible for fixing any defects that arise within the warranty period, so they’re your the first person you should call.
  3. Get a second opinion: Even if the builder is willing to fix the issue, it may be wise to get an independent evaluation from an unbiased home electrician. If there’s one electrical problem, there could be more. An independent inspection can identify other issues that the builder could have missed.
  4. Document everything: Keep a record of all communications with the builder and log any repair work they are responsible for. This information can be invaluable if legal action becomes necessary in the future.

New homes are not immune to electrical issues, so it’s essential to be proactive. Take advantage of any warranties and don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. It’s better to address potential problems early on, ensuring the safety and functionality of your new living space.

Be Diligent About Your Safety

Did You Know?

Did you know that 33% of electrical related deaths in Ontario between 2017 and 2021 were residential related? According to the Ontario Electrical Safety Authority there has been 53 electrical-related fatalities in Ontario from 2012 and 2021.

Just remember that both safety and efficiency are the goal. Recognizing key signs of electrical problems in your home should immediately prompt you to take action. Combine that with regular professional inspections, you can make sure minor issues don’t turn into major problems that can be costly and jeopardize your loved ones.

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Don't let faulty wiring or outdated equipment hold you back. At Dynamize Electric Inc., our licensed electricians are ready to provide you with efficient and effective electrical services from repairs, troubleshooting, installations and upgrades. We've got you covered. Are you ready to experience the peace of mind that comes with knowing your electrical needs are in capable hands?

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