Whether you've just moved in or whether you've lived in the same house for years, regular electrical inspections are vital to maintaining electrical safety in your home. Don't wait until you have a dangerous electrical problem before calling in an electrician. Use these three signs to help you detect the need for another inspection.
1. Irregular behavior
If your electrical system starts behaving differently when it hasn't been worked on recently, that could be a sign of deterioration. For example, if you have to reset the circuit box more frequently than you used to, you could be overloading your system by using. more electricity than it was designed to provide. On the other hand, this could be a sign of one or more short circuits somewhere in the system or even a result of an aging circuit breaker box; but in any case you'll need an inspection from a licensed electrician. Some other types of misbehavior that may start suddenly or sneak up on you include:
- Lights that flicker when an appliance turns on
- Warm outlets or light switches (these should feel cool when operating safely)
- Outlets that spark when you plug something in
- Outlets that are so old and worn out they let plugs slide out of them
- Any burning smells, smoke, or electrical shocks that you notice at any part of the system
2. Time since the last inspection
In any of the above scenarios, you'll need to have an electrician in no matter how recently you've had an inspection. But if nothing seems to be wrong with your electrical system, it's easy to forget to schedule the occasional inspection. In fact, electricians recommend inspections only once every five years, as well as the twice-annual testing of your GFCI outlets (which, of course, you can do yourself). What this means is that if you haven't had an inspection in several years (or can't remember the last time you had one), it's definitely time to do so again. Try to find the records from the last inspection and call for another. On the other hand, if there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with your wiring, don't worry if you're a few months late remembering to set up the appointment; just go do it now before you forget again.
3. Outdated wiring system
One of the things your electrician can check for during the inspection is old wiring that's no longer considered safe. For example, some ancient forms of wiring such as knob-and-tube wiring and aluminum wiring are still in use in houses today. But if you know that you have one of these unsafe types of wiring, having an electrician in to determine just how unsafe it is may save you from a hazardous situation in the future. Or if you know that the system hasn't been updated for several decades, it's probably time to ask an electrician what can be done to graft in modern safety features (such as a circuit breaker box rather than a fuse box).
These three signs may indicate that your house is ripe for a wiring inspection. Since having a functional wiring system is crucial for safe use of appliances and technology, you should be careful to call for an electrician at the first sign of abnormal electrical function. For more information, contact a company like Palmer Electric Inc.