7 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Electrical Outlets
Home electrical fires, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, account for about 51,000 fires each year and more than $1.3 billion property damage.
Of course, a large number of the reason for this is that many of us ignore the tell-tale signs our electrical outlets and appliances give us. Well, actually, there are quite a number of us who don’t know these signs and can’t read the obvious handwriting on the wall.
Knowing the signs to look out for is going to help stop a lot of emotional stories. There are a handful of those signs actually. We’ll be laying out seven of the most important ones for you.
1. If it Smells Bad, Then it’s Probably Bad
When you buy a new appliance, it may give off a few off-odors the first few times you power it up. This is okay. However, when you begin to perceive one of those off-odors on your old appliances – something that wasn’t there before – then know that something smells ‘fishy’. This may be a sign that you need to do something quick about your electrical outlets.
But first, maybe you need to quickly turn off the outlet, unplug anything connected to it, and have a qualified electrician have a look over for you (You can find one here).
2. Not All That Sparks Is Gold
When you see sparks coming from your appliances or electrical outlet, know that this is danger! A sparking appliance, of course, may mean that the appliance itself is smashed. That would only require that you take it to an appliance repair shop. The thing about this, however, is that the spark may have been caused by a defective electrical outlet – in which case you should contact a qualified electrician.
3. Too Many (Extension Cords) is Bad For the Eye
Too many wires create an unpleasant interlocking that will lead to a situation where your cords may kink or get pinched. This is one of the leading causes of tripped breakers, damaged outlets or even a fire.
According to William Burke of the National Fire Protection Association, “an undisturbed wiring system will more or less work forever. But when it’s disturbed or altered, there’s potential for trouble.”
Come to think of it too, this is one of the reasons why electric wires are concealed within walls. Other than for safety issues, they also add to the aesthetic beauty of our homes.
Extension cords are supposed to be used sparingly and only for short periods of time. When you find yourself needing more outlets in your home, then it is time to contact a qualified electrician and upgrade your electrical outlets.
4. Buzz. Buzz. Buzzing
If you can’t see the warning signs that your electrical outlets need an upgrade, you may still be able to hear it.
Listen out for the sound that your outlets make when they are connected. Silence and lack of whirring or buzzing may mean that your outlets are satisfied with the nature of things generally.
When you hear buzzes coming out, that is literally your electrical outlet sending out an SOS! Refraining from using that outlet is the safe way to avoid a backlash on your appliances or even prevent a fire.
5. Dimming or Flickering lights
When your light fittings dim or flickers the moment you plug in a high power appliance, don’t sleep on it.
Usually, the light in your own homes should only require a small amount of power. A dim or flickering situation could be caused by a high-power appliance (say a washing machine) being connected to the same circuit with your light fittings.
This shouldn’t be happening.
It means that your outlets are not compatible with the amount of charge you’re putting on them. You may have to find an electrician that would help you upgrade and move your big appliances to different circuits or have separate lines installed for major appliances.
6. The Heat Must Come From The Right Place
For appliances like toasters or hot plates, the heat should be on the appliance- not the outlet!
While a little warmness on the switch plate is still okay, an unusual heat or hotness is a sign that all is not well.
You may turn this off and try it in another outlet. What if this still doesn’t help? What if you also find out that you have some outlets that get hot even when no appliance is plugged to them?
You may have to flip the breaker or remove the fuse for that outlet pending the moment that you swiftly contact an electrician.
7. When Fuses Blow Away and Breakers Are Tripped
Circuit breakers and fuses are like a kind of safeguard for your appliances to prevent an overload.
If you find that an appliance regularly trips a breaker regardless of the the outlet it is plugged to, the problem must be with the appliance.
However, when fuses are blown by a single outlet, it most likely means that the circuit is overloaded and you may have to call a qualified electrician about an outlet upgrade.
Why You Shouldn’t Sleep on Getting an Electrical Upgrade
Safety is very important. Don’t ignore any of the signs above or delay an upgrade. The consequences of a constantly overloaded circuit breaker can be costly and hazardous.
Perhaps the least concern of this is that you can end up causing damage to your home’s electrical wiring, an outlet or one of your high-end appliances and devices.
Worse, you run the risk of electrical arcing, serious electric shock, and fire caused by a worn-out or malfunctioning electrical outlet.
None of the consequences are savory when they can be avoided. Whenever you notice the sign above or anything unusual, call in a qualified electrician as soon as you can.
How to Do a Quick Outlet Installation
You may think you have the expertise to run a quick fix for your faulty electrical outlets. It is not something that difficult (or maybe it is if you don’t have the know-how). If you want to do this yourself, take the following steps:
- Turn off the power at the circuit breaker or fuse.
- Remove the existing outlet.
- Prepare the circuit cable.
- Strip and identify the wires.
- Install the pig-tail wires.
- Connect the ground wire.
- Connect the neutral and the hot wires.
- Mount the outlet and place the GCFI into the wall box.
- Install the cover plate.
Self-Help Doesn’t Help Sometimes.
While there are some electrical problems you can handle yourself, there are a host of others that you can’t. Don’t leave the quality of your electrical outlets and appliances to chance!
Ensure you get in touch with a qualified, licensed electrician. You can get in touch with one now at Right Electrical Services, LLC. Give us a call today to discuss your home electrical service and electrical repair needs at 919-359-1017 or submit an online request to schedule service. We are your certified, licensed, and insured Raleigh electricians who guarantee a job done right the first time. Let us help you… “Do it the Right way”!
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