Your home should be where you feel most safe. Yet a worrying number of accidents take place in Australian homes every year, many of which are preventable.
Your home's electrical system is an obvious source of potential danger. Fire brigades respond to more than 300 domestic electrical fires each year. And then there are all the accidental burns, electric shocks, and fatal electrocutions.
But what kinds of electrical issues can homeowners face? And what's the best course of action if you spot them? Let's take a look!
1. Flickering Lights
Flickering lights are one of the most typical electric problems that homeowners can experience. This issue can be a sign of a circuit overload, faulty wiring, or something else. Flickering lights can even lead to arcing - a dangerous electrical phenomenon.
To avoid the possibility of corroded or loose connections making intermittent contact, you should hire an electrician right away to locate and resolve the problem.
2. Hot Power Plugs
Plugs that are warm or hot to the touch aren't that easy to spot unless you're on the lookout for them. But if you do happen to notice that your power plugs warm up through use, this is an electrical safety issue.
Hot power outlets can often be a precursor to a potential electrical fire. This makes them a serious concern that you should never ignore.
3. Frequent Light Bulb Blowouts
You might assume that blowouts are due to overuse or faulty or low-quality light bulbs. But the problem could be a lot more serious than that. The real cause could be a loose connection in the circuit or socket.
If you have recessed lights in your kitchen or elsewhere in your home, experiencing frequent blowouts with these could be due to nearby insulation causing overheating. These fixtures shut off when they get too hot to prevent fire.
But, while this can protect your electrical safety in the short term, you should still call in the help of electrician services to check or upgrade your lighting and avoid this problem getting worse.
4. Sparking Power Points
If you notice sparks flying from your power points whenever you plug in appliances, this can be a sign of arcing.
Not all sparks are a cause for concern. Sometimes, they can be due to energy overloads, although it's best to get clarification from a professional rather than dismiss the problem.
Sparks that last longer than a split second, for example, mean that improper wiring is likely to blame. You should also pay attention to the colour of the sparks as those that are white or yellow are more problematic. To avoid these sparks turning into flames, it's imperative that you hire an electrician right away.
5. Broken Light Switch
A lot of older homes across the country have light switches that seem to do nothing. While this can be confusing or annoying, a broken light switch could also be a sign of faulty wiring or a bad connection somewhere in the wall. Neither of these are very comforting thoughts.
Since only licensed electricians are allowed to fix or install light switches in Australia, you'll be breaking the law if you attempt to have a go at fixing the issue yourself. Even if you understand how everything works, the tiniest mistake could cause an electric shock or increase the chances of an electrical fire.
What's more, doing DIY electrical work without a license can also jeopardise your insurance. With this in mind, you'll need to hire an electrician to fix your broken light switch for you.
6. Electric Shocks
Experiencing a small static electric shock when you touch a plug isn't necessarily anything to worry about in itself. But you need to be aware that should be a very occasional thing. If it's happening every time you use a certain appliance or outlet, it's time to call an electrician.
Not only will a professional be able to find the source of the electrical issue, but they'll also be able to protect you and your home from this problem leading to a fire.
7. Buzzing Sounds
No household appliance works in complete silence - least of all fridges with their humming sounds and other quirks. But it's far from normal to hear loud buzzing or zapping coming from other appliances or power points.
The cause of these buzzing sounds could be anything from a loose screw at a termination point to faulty wiring. But the only safe way to find the source of the buzzing and stop the noise is to hire an electrician to investigate.
8. Tripping Circuit Breakers
Certain electrical appliances - such as space heaters and hairdryers - can often trip or short circuits. If this happens when you use a specific appliance, you'll know that it's the appliance causing the issue and not your home electric system.
Resetting the breaker will fix the problem. Although, you might also want to think about replacing the appliance if it's old or low quality. After all, it's far from convenient to have to reset the breaker every time you want to warm up or dry your hair!
On the other hand, if this happens regardless of which appliance you're using, this isn't something you should ignore. Especially since circuit breakers are your home's first line of defence against electric problems. A professional will be able to tell you what's wrong, such as a short in the wiring or an overloaded circuit. And if it's the latter, you might want to consider upgrading your electric services.
Common Electrical Issues To Watch Out For Around The Home
When everything in your home is working as it should, the electricity powering everything should be completely unnoticeable.
But, as these common electrical issues show, there's a lot that can go wrong with your home's electrics. This is why anytime you do notice anything unusual is a cause for concern. And, a very good reason to call in the professional services of an expert electrician.
Got questions about these common electrical issues and how to spot them? Feel free to contact our team at N-Tech Electrical today!