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Keeping Your Homes Electrical System Safe

Electrical Safety Foundation International estimates that over 50,000 house fires a year in the US are caused by electrical malfunctions. While house fires can occur any season in Myrtle Beach, SC, they are more common during the winter months since many homes have extra electrical items such as space heaters and Christmas lights plugged in.

Proactively seeking out electrical services to check your home electrical safety can save your family from a disastrous house fire. Most people don’t realize they have an electrical issue until it is too late, but you don’t have to be one of them if you get the proper electrical services. There are several telltale signs that you need to call Mister Sparky® of Myrtle Beach to your home. Here are a few of the most noticeable signs that there are electrical problems in your home.

Electrical Odors

You know that funny smell that new appliances emit sometimes when they are first plugged in? Usually this is caused by the appliances finish or paint and is not troublesome. However, when you smell an odor like that coming from an electrical outlet in your home you need to turn off all power to that area of the home and call an electrician for electrical services. Do not use the outlet until it has been checked and proper electrical services have been rendered.

An electrical outlet should never have an odor, and if you smell one this is likely a sign that something is burning or fraying behind the outlet cover. Additionally, there should never be any smoke emitted from an outlet. You should also never smell an odor coming from your fuse box or breaker panel. All of these situations would be considered an electrical emergency and you should call a Myrtle Beach, SC electrician directly after turning off the power.

Continuous Use of Extension Cords

Extension cords themselves are not an issue, but electrical wires are tucked away into the walls of your home for a reason. Electrical wires should not be continuously touched, kicked, played with, etc. Extension cords allow wires to be out on the floor or wall constantly where they kink, get pinched, or short out and catch something nearby on fire. If you run too many extension cords from one outlet, you increase the chance that the circuit will blow or even cause a fire. This can be easily remedied with the right electrical services.

Therefore, you should only use your extension cords sparingly for short term electrical needs. Plugging lights in during the holidays is generally not an issue unless you have five or six extension cords running back-to-back through your home. On the other hand, if you have to use extension cords to power daily items in your home, then you should seek out electrical services from an electrician. At this point you should have more power outlets installed at your home in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Flickering Lights

Old homes in particular are susceptible to flickering lights. Sometimes you may notice the lights flicker when the heating system kicks in, or maybe when the dishwasher starts. Flickering lights do not indicate an electrical emergency, but they are usually a sign that your appliances are making a high demand on the electrical services system that it is struggling to meet. The lights flicker when there is a power surge, and over time this surge can hurt both your electrical fixtures and appliances.

Before something burns out or you start tripping the circuit on a regular basis, it may be time to upgrade your home wiring or add another circuit to alleviate some of the stress on the one that is causing the flickering lights. A Mister Sparky should be able to take a look at your system and recommend applicable electrical services to solve the problem.

Overheating Ceiling Fixtures

Since most people don’t tend to reach up and touch the ceiling or light fixtures, this sign tends to be overlooked by many. However, it is a significant fire hazard so taking the time on occasion to feel your ceiling fixtures could actually help you prevent a house fire. If your ceiling fixtures are getting too warm, this could be a sign of insufficient insulation.

This could also be a sign that you are using bulbs with too high a wattage rating. Wattage recommendations in most cases are not just a recommendation. You need to follow them because they are indicating that the fixture cannot handle higher power. If you need more light, then it is a better idea to install a different fixture. Switching from CLF bulbs from LED bulbs can also help reduce heat issues because they do not produce as much heat.

Rodent Droppings in Your Wiring

Believe it or not, finding mice poop may be an indicator that you need to have the electrical wiring in your home checked. Rats enjoy chewing on electrical writing, so if they if you find droppings near your wires or behind the walls, you may also find frayed or damaged electrical wires. Any damaged wires are a potential fire hazard, but you may not be able to see them if they are tucked into the walls.

For this reason, if you start seeing rat droppings in the basement around electrical fixtures or in the attic you should call an electrician to come take a look at the problem. With any luck you won’t need any electrical services, but if you do, you can get them taken care of promptly before a fire ensures. Be on the lookout for the odd odors mentioned above, because if there are frayed or damaged wires from rat chewing you may smell electrical odors before the fire starts. Of course, you will want to call a pest infestation specialist also so that the same issue does not keep recurring.