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Energy CostsIN CHARLOTTEApril 18, 2022by AndrewElectrical Issues You Can Safely Check

We take electricity completely for granted. We just assume it’s there and we depend on it. How can you recognize simple electrical issues at home? What are issues which are fine to take care of yourself? Then, if you shouldn’t DIY it, when can you notice issues and get help before a problem gets a lot worse? Here are some signs or electrical issues you can safely check, then what it means.

Electricity can go from safe and routine to a danger in less than a second. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, more than 50,000 house fires happen a year from electrical problems. Some of these could’ve been prevented with seeing a sign in the home, then knowing what steps to take from there.

Check for Frays

Frayed wires, cords and cables should not be ignored. Any worn or damaged electronic parts or equipment is a risk of shock or fire. This is an easy thing to check and easy to replace. The importance of checking goes up in homes with kids or pets. It’s possible for cords to be chewed, pulled, played with or be in a tangled mess where you might miss something.

What do Flickering Lights Mean?

Flickering or dimming lights may mean a number of things, from a power surge to a weak bulb to a damaged switch to a circuit problem or a voltage problem. Some of these issues certainly need an electrician to handle them. At least though, the sooner you notice a sign and act on it, the quicker the fix, hopefully the fix is less expensive, and the safer your house is.

You can try a new bulb and see if that takes care of it. You may try moving high-load appliances or devices onto another circuit – so you don’t have multiple high-power users on the same circuit.

Have Child-Safe, Tamper-Resistant Outlets

If you’ve got kids, or regularly have little ones on your home, it’s worth taking safe measures such as using outlet caps or covers. You can use outlet covers and tamper-resistant electrical receptacles.

Any playing with outlets can lead to shocks, burns and fires. It’s very dangerous. Outlet caps provide good defense, but it is possible for kids to remove them.

Another step is tamper-resistant receptacles, which are spring-loaded devices in the outlet slots. When a proper plug is correctly inserted, the springs allow for it to be inserted. When another thing is inserted wrong or partially or isn’t made for the right size of the slots, the springs do not open, so there’s no contact with the electricity. This is another good safety step to consider and recommended by the National Fire Protection Association.

Check the Electrical Panel

Old, worn or damaged electrical panels can cause fires. Panels and circuits can become overloaded, which is a hazard and can cause more damage or shocks. Electrical panels don’t last forever. No electrical component or part does. Panels likely last about 20-30 years in a home. You might not even know how old your panel box is. You can call a manufacturer and find out.

Use Your Nose

If you smell something off or unfamiliar, let it spark your interest. A new appliance may cause a new smell, and it could be nothing. Anything that smells definitely electric or metallic is something to check, or call a pro to check. A smell clearly from an outlet, device, box, wall or panel is time to call a pro.

Broken Switches, Loose Outlets

If you have a loose plate on an outlet, this is a safe and easy fix, but it’s important to fix so a larger problem doesn’t happen with a cable, cord or wire. A switch that isn’t working, or sometimes doesn’t work, could be a sign of loose wiring, which is a hazard. Loose outlets or loose wiring is a higher shock risk. A loose outlet could lead to a partially exposed outlet, which is also an elevated shock, spark and fire hazard.

Electrical Issues You Can Safely Check
Electricity can go from safe and routine to a danger in less than a second.

Extension Cords

Using an extension cord properly and as instructed is just fine. Using multiple extension cords, especially an extension cord plugged into an extension cord, or extension cords as permanent fixtures is not what they are built for. You should not power an appliance all the time on an extension cord. Don’t power heavy power use appliances or devices on an extension cord. You shouldn’t use extension cords when they are unsupervised. If your house needs more outlets or circuits, this is a job for an electrician, so this is your real answer.

Counterfeit Items

If you’ve ever shopped at a flea market or some other vendor and found very inexpensive electrical items, such as power strips or extension cords, this might not be the smartest idea. You might not have known it, but you could’ve bought counterfeit products. These products might not meet industry or safety inspection standards. This isn’t an ok risk with electrical goods. You should check for a UL seal. Beware anything electrical which is too cheap and doesn’t have UL approval.



When is it a Good Time to Call an Electrician? Your best bet? Hire an expert to do the job. South End Electric has the background and understanding to ensure a safe and smooth installation. We can provide everything you need when thinking about a whole home generator for your home and family. Our professionals provide whole-house generator sales and installation to meet your needs. See everything South End Electric can do for you. Call us direct at 704-368-4694.