It may be the last thing on your wish list for home improvements, but electrical wiring could be unsafe, inadequate, or both and needs replacing. Even though the expense may seem high, it’s well worth doing given what’s at risk.
The signs of bad wiring include:
- Flickering lights or bulbs that dim when you turn on an appliance. This almost always indicates that the circuit breaker for that outlet is overloaded.
- Sizzling sounds coming from an outlet or discolored outlets. Electricity should be silent. Discolored outlets could indicate overheating.
- Circuit breakers that trip frequently. When too much power goes through a circuit breaker, a contact point builds too much heat and it shuts itself off.
- Burning rubber smells or excessively hot cords. Anytime you smell a suspicious odor coming from an appliance or a cord feels hot, you should turn it off or pull it immediately. The problem may be the device you’re using. If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to contact an electrician to identify the problem.
- Aluminum wiring. Home builders used aluminum wiring to cut costs in homes built between the 1960s and 70s. While it may not be a problem, it can be. Work-arounds may be available to reduce the danger associated with this type of electrical wiring.
- Lack of grounded outlets or no GFIs. Any outlet that isn’t grounded should be changed, and GFI circuits reduce the risk of an appliance or device being exposed to water.
- Overloaded outlets. If you have to use surge protectors or power strips throughout your home, you probably need more receptacles, especially when you’re plugging higher wattage appliances into them. Vacuum cleaners, space heaters, hair dryers, and some televisions use more power than others, and need to be plugged directly into an outlet for safety.
Inadequate or unsafe electrical wiring accounts for the majority of preventable home fires. If you suspect yours is inadequate or you’ve experienced any problems with it, contact Roth Heating & Cooling. We provide trusted HVAC and electrical services for Portland-area homeowners.