We usually take electricity for granted, don’t we? We walk into our house, flick a few switches, turn a dial or two, and – voila! – our lights go on. Throughout the day, we hear the hum of the refrigerator, the voices on the television, the buzz of our computers, and we give little thought to the fact that – if not for our well-running electrical service – none of this would be happening.
But the time can come when you need to tend to your electrical service. You might be noticing problems, perhaps, that indicate a potential situation that could be dangerous, including:
- Flickering or dimming indoor lights – Unless your lights are on a dimmer switch, they shouldn’t be dimming nor should they flicker on and off. Quite often, this is the first indication that your electrical panel is malfunctioning in some way. While occasional flickering, like during a storm, could be an issue with your utility company, regular problems such as this should send up a red flag that perhaps your electrical panel needs to be upgraded or replaced.
- Faulty wiring – If there isn’t a problem with your panel but you still have flickering issues or – worse yet – if you detect a scent of burning wire or see discoloration around your plugs, you’ll want to act quickly to have your wiring inspected. This is a huge fire hazard and can be a common problem in older homes. If you own a “vintage” property, you should have your wiring checked regularly.
- Circuit breakers tripping frequently – Yes, everyone experiences a tripped circuit breaker now and then; you just reset it and move on. But if yours are failing regularly, it’s a pretty good indication that there’s a problem like an overloaded circuit or a malfunctioning circuit breaker.
- Turning on an appliance trips your breaker – If you’ve noticed a pattern, such as a breaker tripping when you turn on your microwave, chances are it’s time to take a look at your electrical system. Up-to-date systems should be able to handle the load of larger appliances and, if they can’t, an upgrade is likely necessary.
- Electrical panel feels warm – If you’ve wandered over to your electrical panel to check something and it feels warm to the touch, that’s not normal. Just because it’s an “electrical” panel doesn’t mean it should be hot. Quite the contrary! The heat could be a sign of damaged wires behind the panel and should be addressed immediately.
Other times to consider calling your electrician for an examination of your electric service include the following:
- You’re remodeling – If you’re getting ready to remodel your home, put on an addition, or do something else that’s going to drastically change the landscape of your house, you’ll want to have your electrical panel/system examined before your start. Show your electrician your blueprints or plans and allow him/her to make the proper adjustments to handle your “new” home.
- You’re installing new appliances – If you have a new HVAC system going in or if you’re adding a new fridge to your basement in-law suite, you may need to make adjustments to your electric, especially if you’re adding more appliances than you currently have in your home.
- Your home is aging – If your home is north of 20 years old and you’ve never had the electrical service checked, it’s time to do so. The demands on our electrical systems today as compared to 20 years ago are drastically different and your system may not be keeping up. Remember, an old system is potentially hazardous so it never hurts to have a technician take a look in case there are issues to be addressed.
If any of these scenarios apply to your home, a service upgrade might be in order. Sometimes, just the electrical panel needs to be replaced but, other times, there are more serious issues that come into play. Only an experienced, licensed electrician can determine what’s necessary to keep your home safe from electrical fires and other issues caused by outdated electrical service.
To learn more about our upgrade services, call Stapleton Electric Inc. at 778-985-9395.