Spotting signs of electrical failure
Faulty or old wiring in electricals is a common cause for fires occurring in the home or workplace and these can be prevented. By regularly checking your fuse box and knowing what the signs of an electrical issue are, you can help protect your home and your workplace from any electrical fires.
You can hear buzzing
When electricity is running correctly, you shouldn’t hear any noises as generally electricity flows smoothly and quietly between connections. Any loose outlets or fraying wiring can cause disruption to the current which causes a buzzing sound. If you can hear buzzing or any sort of noise coming from your outlet, stop using it and get in touch with an electrician.
You get a shock from switches or outlets
Have you ever got a slight shock from a switch or outlet? This is a sign that something is wrong.
If you are plugging something into the outlet and you get a slight shock, either the appliance your plugging in is faulty or there could be a problem with the outlet itself. Establish if it is the appliance or the outlet by plugging something else in. If the issue persists, it’s advised to get the wiring examined by a trained electrician.
Flickering lights or dimming lights
Flickering lights can be a sign that there may be faulty wiring or the circuit is overloaded. Sometimes it can just be the light itself that is faulty so the first thing to do is just test the light on a different circuit or outlet. If more than one light is persistently flickering then it could be a wiring issue which needs to be checked by an electrician.
You can smell a burning odour
It’s not uncommon for a new appliance to produce some sort of odour the first few times you plug it in, however, if you smell a burning odour coming from any outlet, turn the power off at the source and call an electrician. The majority of electrical wiring has plastic insulation so an electrical fire can initially smell like plastic burning but the short can be in the outlet or in the wiring inside a wall and be harder to locate so just be wary.
Hot to touch outlets
Electrical outlets should be cool when you touch them. Even if the appliance you’re using is supposed to heat up like a toaster, the outlet it’s plugged into should never become hot. If your outlets are ever uncomfortably hot, you see scorch marks or smell burning, shut off the power and contact an electrician. The cause of heat could be the result of a faulty appliance, wiring problems or an electrical overload.
Employers, institutions and landlords have a statutory responsibility to ensure that all portable appliances on their premises are safe for use, and regular Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) plays an essential part in documenting this duty of care. Most electrical defects can be found by visual examination but some types of defects can only be found by testing. At Circuit we offer PAT testing services and you can find out more here.