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How to Spot Signs of Electrical Issues

There aren’t many words that can strike fear in a homeowner’s heart as much as “electrical problems.” Electrical problems can be serious and ultimately very costly. Here are some warning signs:


If you get shocked from an appliance, the problem may result from a ground fault or the wiring. While it may just be more of an annoyance than anything, shocks shouldn’t be ignored because they could get worse.

Circuit Breakers

When a circuit becomes overloaded, circuit breakers are designed to trip. The breaker prevents wires from overheating, which could lead to a fire. If your breakers are frequently tripping, they could be overloaded or because they are old and need to be replaced.

Switches or Outlets

If your light switches don’t always work, this may be another sign of loose wiring. The device could have an internal crack as well. Additionally, if your plugs are loose in their sockets, this could cause a shock when someone tries to unplug them.

Flickering LightsElectrician Working in Home

If replacing the bulb doesn’t help, there could be an issue with the fixture itself. The connection to the fixture or the writing in your electrical panel could also be loose.

Burning Odor or Sparks

Two big signs of electrical problems are a burning smell or sparks. The burning odor in particular should not be ignored because it could indicate an impending electrical fire. Large or frequent sparks are a sign of an outlet or circuit problem.

If any of these problems are constant, it’s important to have a professional come out to assess the situation. Only a trained electrician can diagnose and fix the issue.

How to Find and Prepare for An Electrician

Finding a good electrician isn’t difficult, but it does take some work on your part. Here are the areas you should focus on before making a hiring decision:

Credentials – Make sure to check all licenses, as well as permits.

Insurance – Ensure that the electrician has the necessary liability insurance

Costs – It’s important to get several estimates for what you need done. Also, when you decide on an electrician, make sure the agreed upon estimate is in writing.

Price Isn’t Everything – You shouldn’t necessarily go with a company offering the lowest rates, and conversely, the electrician with the highest rates isn’t guaranteed to provide the best service.

Warranty – Good electricians offer written warranties for their work that specify what they will do if any problems arise.

References/Reputation – Talk to people you know who have used electricians to see if they are satisfied with the work. Also, online reviews provide valuable information.

Before an electrician comes out to your location, it’s important that you prepare ahead of time. To save time (as well as money), make a list of everything that should be looked at or repaired. In addition, ensure that the electrical box and any other areas the electrician will need to get to are easily accessible.