25 Apr How to Detect Faulty Wiring, and What to Do About It(Last Updated On: October 7, 2017)
Faulty wiring in your home is no laughing matter. In fact, faulty wiring is one of the five most common causes of electrical fires. The good news is there are some warning signs that can indicate faulty wiring. Additionally, by detecting faulty wiring early, you can avoid devastating fires. Plus, avoid the inconvenience of flickering lights and inconsistent electrical performance.
Know the Signs of Faulty Wiring
Faulty wiring shows some noticeable signs. For example, dimming or flickering lights are signs of faulty wiring. Plus, if you experience frequent blown breakers or fuses, there’s a good chance that faulty wiring may be to blame. Other common symptoms of faulty wiring include charred or darkened outlets and switches. Also, hot ceiling fixtures, light switches and outlets that emit shocks more frequently indicate faulty wiring. Finally, address any burning smell immediately because this indicates a wiring issue that’s quite serious.
Sometimes, our actions (as homeowners) cause these issues. For instance, multiple extension cords connected together or overloading electrical outlets can be rectified. A few notable wiring issues of this nature include:
- Too few outlets, relying on multiple extension cords and power strips.
- No ground fault circuit interruptors (GFCIs) particularly in areas such as the kitchen and bathroom.
- Frayed wiring.
- Damaged or bent electrical plugs.
- Ungrounded receptacles.
- Uncovered junction boxes.
It is possible to remedy these potential concerns. For example, lightening the load on individual receptacles, repairing or replacing frayed wiring address basic concerns. Plus, cover all receptacles and junction boxes, along with installing GFCIs where applicable. Once you’ve addressed these issues, you should follow safe electrical practices. Additionally, ensure your family members understand the dangers of risky behaviors.
Have a Licensed Electrician Inspect Your Wiring
If you’re unsure if your wiring is faulty, enlist the aid of a professional electrician. A proper electrician inspection reviews the wiring throughout your home. Licensed electricians are knowledgeable in identifying potential dangers and wiring issues. Typically, electricians detect small, seemingly insignificant wiring issues that could become major problems and safety hazards over time.
Additionally, a licensed electrician will compare your home’s wiring to the current building codes, identifying code violations. However, not every code violation is necessarily a cause for immediately rewiring your entire home. Some codes have grandfather clauses, meaning if your home was constructed prior to the implementation of a particular code. Although, you may not be required to make immediate updates to bring your wiring up to code. That said, codes exist to ensure minimum safety standards. As a result, it’s a good idea to start thinking about a rewiring project if your electrician pinpoints any violations.
Some code violations are easy to fix, such as light fixtures powering bulbs that exceed the fixture’s maximum wattage. Even an issue such as having too few electrical outlets in a room can be corrected without incurring the expense of rewiring the entire home in many cases, provided that there are no other serious wiring flaws. A licensed electrician will provide you with a detailed analysis of any violations, their level of risk, and their recommendations for updating your wiring.
How to Address Faulty Wiring
Homeowners without electrical experience should never attempt to replace their home’s wiring on their own. There are many building codes, industry standards, and safety considerations. Qualified electricians follow these standards when working with electrical wiring and electrical panels.
There are some wiring issues that homeowners can (and should) take care of on their own as part of regular home maintenance. For instance, you should monitor your receptacles and immediately replace outlets that are worn out or damaged in any way, and homeowners with the skill and knowledge can replace outdated circuit breakers and fuses when necessary. However, for more advanced electrical wiring projects, enlist the help of a licensed electrician. It may seem tempting to save a few dollars by doing it yourself, but electrical wiring is one of those tasks that requires skilled expertise.