Residential electrical fires rarely appear out of the blue. In many cases, there are telltale signs that mean something is wrong with the electrical system; it's only that many people aren't tuned to spot these problems. Here are some of the common signs of a potential electrical disaster:
There are many reasons your lights may start flickering. For example, a little flickering may mean that some electrical loads are drawing more power than usual (even appliances at your neighbors' houses). However, too much flickering may point to more serious problems, such as a loose electrical connection. If a connection is loose, its electrical resistance increases, which results in elevated temperatures that can easily start a fire.
Warm or Burned Electrical Outlets
An efficiently functioning electrical outlet shouldn't overheat. Appliances that draw a lot of power, such as a hairdryer, may make an outlet feel warm to the touch, but not too hot. However, if you haven't plugged in any such appliance, you should suspect a more serious problem.
For example, overheating may occur if you are drawing too much power from the outlet than it was designed to handle. The same thing can happen if the outlet is worn out and can no longer handle the amount of power it was designed to handle. In serious cases, the cover to the electrical outlet may even appear charred or burned out. Both of these problems may result in fire outbreaks.
Shock When Using Appliances
An electrical appliance shouldn't shock you as long as you are using it as it was meant to be used. Therefore, if you are feeling electrical shocks where there shouldn't be any, it definitely means the current is reaching where it shouldn't. For example, it may mean that a hot wire is touching the appliances' casing. Such haphazard flow of electricity can cause a short circuit that may cause a fire outbreak.
Constantly Tripping Of Circuit Breakers
A circuit breaker trips and a fuse blows if the circuit is overloaded, shorted, or if there is a ground fault. If any of these things happen once, then you probably had a momentary problem such as circuit overload caused by an appliance drawing too much power. However, if you keep experiencing the same problem, you should dig deep and deal with the cause before it causes an electrical fire.
For example, it may be that the electricity your appliances are using has surpassed the limit of your circuit breaker or fuse. It may also mean that a hot wire is touching a neutral wire. Both scenarios are dangerous since they can lead to sparking or overheating and eventually fire outbreak.
If you notice any of these serious problems, it's time to call an electrician for a professional solution. Don't adopt a wait-and-see attitude because the first symptom may be the only one you get before something more serious happens.
To consult with an electrician, contact a company such as McCaine Electric Ltd offers Electrical Contracting.