Electrical fires are the. Even though rates of electrical fires (and fortunately, all residential fires) are consistently trending downwards, these catastrophes still do happen.
A Scorched Outlet Spells Trouble
If you discover a blackened or scorched outlet, call an electrician right away. Don’t plug anything into this outlet. There are a number of issues that may lead to this kind of outlet damage, from electrical arcs to loose wiring in the electrical box or walls, worn or loose outlet structure, and more. All of these require immediate repair to decrease your risk of shock or fire.
An early warning sign, while not as dramatic as scorch marks, is a warm or hot outlet (or light switch). These warrant the same prompt attention, as they can be symptoms of the same potentially disastrous issues. It’s important to note that lots of light switches – particularly dimmers – can feel slightly warm to the touch normally. If you notice that it’s particularly hot, however, call an electrician. Above all, trust your intuition.
Popping, Fizzing, or Crackling Sounds from the Walls
These sounds should warrant an immediate call to an emergency electrical service. Sounds like this coming from the wall may be the result of a short from worn insulation or even a nail driven through the wall to hang a picture or a TV.
Even if you hear these sounds but then notice that they stop, call an electrician right away. An electrical fire in the wall is a major threat, and you don’t want to take any chances. This scenario also holds if you notice a faint burning smell with no discernible source.
Electrical Shocks Upon Touching or Plugging in Appliances
This one should go without saying: if your electrical system is shocking you, call an electrician. Nonetheless, it’s all too common for individuals to ignore shocks because they are tiny, seeing them as a nuisance and nothing more. As with the warm outlet, however, these shocks can be symptoms of bigger problems, such as an issue with your ground fault.
This list is by far not comprehensive; there are a host of other symptoms of electrical problems, including flickering or dipping lights, constantly tripping circuit breakers, and more.
The bottom line is this: if you feel unsafe for whatever reason operating an electrical appliance or system in your home, it’s better safe than sorry. will at the very least give you peace of mind, and could mean the difference between an electrical catastrophe and safety for you and your family.