The Buzz on Your Home’s Electrical System

by Jacklyn Renz,. The REal Estate Book, March 31st, 2016

We often don’t realize the dependency we have on our electricity until lightning strikes and the power is out. Everything from our entertainment, to our cooking, to our hygiene depends on our home’s electricity to be working smoothly and without fault. But let’s face it: most of us don’t know the red wire from the blue wire, nor can we wrap our heads around the intricacies of the system. Here is a quick list of outward signs that there could be an inward problem in your system along with some tips on how to hire help.

You Hear a Buzz

Electricity should be quiet and never announce itself. If you hear any sort of buzzing in an outlet then it is cause for concern. Rather than the electricity smoothly making its trip from wire to plug, it is making a jump over a frayed wire or a loose prong or outlet.

Use the Right Outlet

Not all outlets are created equal. Kitchens and bathrooms require a special outlet called a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). The untrained eye can recognize this by the two buttons in the center of the outlet. These prevent electrical shock in locations where water is present. If you don’t have them, get them.

Hot Outlet

Often times a heat producing appliance may become hot to the touch during use, which is normal. However, if the outlet becomes uncomfortably hot to the touch too, turn off the appliance, unplug it, and check to see if the outlet remains heated. Still hot? It could be a sign of incorrect wiring or a bad fuse.

Weird Odors

If you smell a funny odor coming from your outlet, stop using it and get an electrician to check on it. This scenario is even worse if the smell is coming from the fuse box. Drop everything and call an electrician out right away. This sign is a top warning tip off that something could be wrong.

Seeing a Spark

When it comes to electricity, seeing sparks fly is never a good thing. If it’s happening between an outlet and appliance, it may be the latter. To save your wallet, have the appliance checked out first by an appliance repair person, especially if it’s under warranty. However, if you see sparks at your fuse box, contact an electrician for an emergency call.

How to Hire an Electrician

The art of electricity is a specialized field, suitable only for the knowledgeable and well-qualified. Firstly, call an electrician that specializes in existing systems. and who knows how to artfully add to or take away from the existing system in your home. Ask to see an electrician’s state license and his or her proof of insurance. Be sure that both of the documents are up to date. Another good qualifier is the neatness of the electrician’s work. If it’s a big overhaul that your electrician is doing and you notice things such as crooked outlets, then think again before having the person do more work. The neatness of a wiring job often coincides with how safe the job was done.

Our home is laced with an intricate network of wires that we never see but heavily depend on. Now that you know the buzz on your system, stay on top of the sparks and head off the heat with qualified help.

sources: safebee.com, thisoldhouse.com

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