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How to Check Your Home for Hidden Electric Hazards

Flickering lights. Tripped circuit breakers. Buzzing noises. No, your house isn’t haunted (and it isn’t the ghost in the attic you keep joking about, either). The culprit behind these strange signals is more frightening than a Halloween haunted house: Faulty electric work!

Did you know that October is Fire Safety Month? There’s no better time to call an electrician to check out that lamp that keeps flickering, that fuse that keeps blowing, and other hidden electric hazards.

The NFPA reports that U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated average of 45,210 home structure fires caused by electrical problems per year. More than half (57%) of these fires involve electrical distribution or lighting equipment such as wiring, lamps, cords or plugs.

Leading types of home fires include wiring and related equipment (67%)lamps, light fixtures and light bulbs (20%); cords and plugs (11%); and transformers and power supplies (6%).

Detect Hidden Electrical Hazards

If you’ve noticed any odd activities from the list below, contact Mister Sparky to fix your electric issues before they turn into something bigger.

  • Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
  • A tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance
  • Discolored or warm wall outlets
  • A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance
  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • Sparks from an outlet

Fire Safety Tips

There are a few simple steps you can take to safeguard your home from common electric hazards. If you detect an issue, don’t tackle it yourself. Always have electrical work done by a qualified electrician. Mister Sparky electricians are on call 24/7.

  • Only plug one heat-producing appliance (maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) into a receptacle outlet at a time.
  • Major appliances such as refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, and microwaves should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Extension cords and plug strips should not be used.
  • Ask a Mister Sparky technician about installing arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) to shut off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs. Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) should be installed bathrooms, kitchens, garages, and basements.
  • Flames aren’t the only things to start a fire! Prevent scenarios that invite heat to build up, such as a cord placed under a carpet.
  • Make sure electrical cords are not running across doorways or under carpets.
  • Ask a Mister Sparky electrician to add more receptacle outlets so you don’t have to use extension cords. Extension cords are intended for temporary use.
  • Use a light bulb with the correct wattage. Look for the light and lamp sticker that lists the right number of watts.