When the electrical infrastructure in your home is properly installed in the first place, you should have many years of use with no problems at all. However, occasionally issues do come up and when they do, you shouldn't take any risks. If you suspect that something is wrong, what should you be on the lookout for and what should you do?
Why You Should Be Aware
An electrical fault, no matter how small or inconsequential you may think it is, should always be addressed by a qualified electrician as soon as possible. Even the tiniest issue can in the end cause significant damage to your appliances, or could start a fire when you're not at home.
Any of These Sound Familiar?
- Have you noticed that some of the lights in your home flicker occasionally, or may go dim before coming back on to full strength?
- You may notice that a light switch feels very warm to the touch.
- You may be unable to pinpoint a strange humming or buzzing noise which appears to be coming from behind the light switch, or a power point outlet.
- Do you notice a rather odd tingling sensation when you touch a specific power outlet, or turn a light switch on or off?
- Have you noticed that your kettle seems to take a lot longer to come to the boil now than it used to?
- Are you constantly having to change fuses or reset circuit breakers that have tripped?
Note that it may be normal for lights to briefly dim when another appliance in your house that uses a lot of power switches on, such as your refrigerator or air conditioning unit. This is nothing to worry about, but if those lights dim at other times, it's unusual. Also, if you notice that there are any cracks around power point fittings, or some discolouration, this is a warning sign you should act on.
What You Should Do
It's best to err on the side of caution and get a qualified electrician to visit your home if you have any worry at all. They will be able to carry out an inspection and determine if and where any problems exist and advise the urgency of the situation. It's good to have a professional electrical audit like this periodically, in any case.
In the meantime, try not to overload any power outlets by fitting adapters, or by connecting extension cords. Far too many people connect a range of electrical items to one power point, which could cause an overload. Make sure all appliances are well maintained by themselves and don't allow any buildup of grease or dirt, that could affect the way they operate.