Two Signs Your Home's Wiring Is In Danger Of Causing An Electrical Fire

When you live in an older home, you may worry about the condition of its electrical wiring, especially if you have not had it inspected or replaced since you moved in. If your lights seem to dim and flicker, or if the breaker trips every time you use certain appliances, you may be thinking about having the wiring checked. If you notice either of the following signs, you need to have the wiring checked sooner rather than later, as your wiring could be in danger of causing an electrical fire.

1.  Black Marks Appear on and Around Outlets and Switch Plates

One warning sign that should alert you to a serious problem with your home's electrical wiring is the presence of black marks on and around your outlets and switch plates. Unless these marks are the result of dirt, you should never see these marks.

If you have electrical surges caused by wiring that is broken or deteriorating, or if the wires' insulation is worn, the electrical current running through the wires will no longer be contained. As a result, the electricity will arc between wires, as well as other metal surfaces.

Because there are metal components underneath the plates for your outlets and switches, and because the prongs on plugs are metal, these electrical arcs are most noticeable and prevalent. If you are seeing black marks, there may be even more problems within your walls that you cannot see, which may be putting your home at risk for a fire.

2.  Burning Odor Is Detected 

Even if you do not see any black marks around your outlets and switch plates, there may still be arcing electricity inside of your walls. And, although you may not be able to see it, you may still be able to detect these arcs by using your nose.

Because electricity can singe or burn areas around it, you may start noticing an odd odor of which you cannot locate the source. In the beginning, it will smell like burning metal or rubber. However, if you start detecting the odor of wood burning, the electrical arcs may be coming into contact with your home's structures, which could start a fire if not corrected as soon as possible. 

If you notice either of the above signs, your home's wiring is no longer safe and should be inspected by a professional as soon as possible. Contact an electrical contractor to have them test your wiring and discuss your available options, which range from replacing the faulty wires or circuit breaker or even rewiring your entire house.