A recent joint study from Macquarie University and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Co-operative Research Centre found house fires kill more Australians each year than all natural hazards combined. One of the major causes of residential house fires is faulty electrical wiring. Here are some warning signs homeowners should be sure not to ignore.
Your Light Bulbs Flicker Or Quickly Burn Out
The occasional flickering or dimming of a light isn't a sure sign of an underlying issue with your electrical wiring. However, if the lights in your home frequently flicker or the light bulbs don't last nearly as long as they should, you may have a problem with irregular voltage fluctuations.
Your Switch Plates And Outlets Are Discoloured Or Sparking
Old outlets and light switch plates may have built up dust, corrosion or wiring that has worked its way loose and may spark or smoke as a result. You may even detect a faint burning smell or see melted plastic around the outlet or switch plate.
But another common cause of discolouration and sparking is an overloaded circuit. As technology advances, it's not uncommon for the average homeowner to rely more heavily on electrical appliances and gadgets.
Extension cords and power boards are convenient for hooking up computers and peripheral appliances such as a printer, but adding extra outlets doesn't necessarily mean your wiring can support the load.
You Receive Electrical Shocks
Nothing is more jolting than receiving an unexpected electrical shock. It's painful and scary. If your electrical cords and appliances are in good working order and you aren't standing in a puddle of water when you plug something in, you shouldn't be getting shocked.
Outdated outlets may not be up to today's standard codes, which could cause a shock. Loose connections and damaged wiring inside the outlet and switch plate boxes can also cause a shock when using.
Your Home Is Older
If your home was built in the 20th century (or earlier) and you're uncertain if the wiring has been updated in the past, your current wiring may not be able to meet the demands of the typical 21st-century lifestyle.
If you are routinely dealing with a blown fuse and must regularly trip the breaker switch to reset the circuit or you have outdated porcelain fuses, this is a good sign it's time to find a qualified electrician to assess your electricity needs and update your electrical wiring.