Popping or crackling in an outlet. The sudden hush of appliances as a breaker pops. These sounds can indicate a problem with your electrical system. But did you know that there are signs you should be on the lookout for that are less noisy, yet no less serious? Here are 10 silent clues that your home may have a serious electrical problem.
Many electrical appliances generate heat during operation. However, the outlet itself should never get hot. If you notice heat at an outlet, immediately unplug any cords and do not use the outlet until you can troubleshoot the issue.
Switch cover plates should be treated in the same way, with one exception: Dimmer switches commonly get warm to the touch, since they are dissipating the excess electrical energy in order to create the dimming effect. However, even dimmer switch cover plates should never be uncomfortably hot to the touch. Excess heat is why you should always check the wattage before you install a dimmer switch.
Sure, Hollywood movies would have us believe flickering house lights are a sure sign of ghostly visitors. But it’s much more likely there is a loose electrical connection. If the flickering is contained to a single light fixture, the fix is usually fairly straightforward. If it’s affecting multiple lights or rooms, then the problem is likely farther back in the circuit. If it’s the whole house that flickers, the problem may lie in the breaker box or at the utility drop outside your home. In that case, your best bet is to contact a licensed electrician to handle the troubleshooting for you.