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When Your Home Needs an Electrical Safety Check

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

5 Surefire Signs You Need an Electrical Safety Check

A light bulb is illuminated in a tiny wooden home

Power is an important commodity. From hot water to cellphones, to ranges and washers – so much of your life depends upon electricity. That’s why it’s imperative to keep your home’s systems up to date! But unlike plumbing, where you need an inspection yearly, electrical checkups are needed the moment an issue occurs.

Here are a few warning signs that tell you it’s time to call the home pros!

Home tip! When dealing with electricity, we suggest you err on the side of caution. Unplug a device and don't use it again until a professional electrician is able to service it. Be mindful of warning signs, such as buzzing noises, burning smells, and hot equipment. These can signal a fire or the beginnings of one.

#1 – You keep tripping circuit breakers

A homeowner flips a circuit breaker in the breaker box

Almost every home has a breaker box, usually in the basement, garage, or utility closet. Inside, you'll find what appears to be switches or circuit breakers. When you use a certain level of electricity, the circuit breaker cuts the current to the problem area (hence "tripping a circuit breaker"), which prevents an overload and an electrical fire.

A homeowner sitting on a couch during a blackout throws up her hands in frustration

If you notice a breaker looks damaged or appears to be burned – you might have an overloaded circuit. Turn off the main breaker. (It's usually the biggest breaker at the top of the panel, but it could be on the bottom or along the side.) Call a qualified electrician immediately.

What does it mean when a circuit breaker keeps tripping? It probably means you're using a lot of electricity – such a wall unit air-conditioner, a blow dryer, and microwave, all at the same time. Try using a lower setting on these items or alternating uses. Sometimes moisture from a shower or cooking can also trip breakers. If you can’t fix the issue, contact a qualified electrician to investigate.

#2 – Your lights keep flickering

A homeowner is highlighting a frayed wire that is currently plugged into a power strip

Flickering lights can be a real fire hazard, but before you call in an electrician, check that the bulb you are using is the correct wattage. Also, check for any frayed or loose wiring. If you find any, stop using that appliance immediately. If the issue occurs in an area you can’t visually inspect, such as the wires of a fixture, shut off the corresponding circuit breaker until a professional can assess the situation.

Smoke rising and being detected with Savvi app

Undetected fires can destroy a home in minutes. Being alerted to a fire before you smell the smoke is critical, so you and your family can escape safely. Our detectors are equipped with a 85dBm alarm and send alerts to your smart phone and our 24/7 monitoring center for rapid action from first responders. Get savvy about fire safety with Savvi Smart Home Insurance.

#3 – You see shocks in an outlet

An appliance cord is being plugged into an outlet

When you touch an appliance – your smart refrigerator, a toaster oven, a crock pot – and you feel a shock, that could be the appliance or faulty wiring. Check the appliance for frayed or damaged wiring, and keep it unplugged until a professional can service it. Also, observe the original outlet. If it's sparked before, the outlet probably has faulty wiring and needs to be repaired or replaced.

#4 – Wall switch or ceiling fixture is hot to the touch

A switch has remnants of fire damage after getting too hot

If you put your hand over a switch and it's warm, that could be an indication of a problem. First, check to see if the unit is a dimmer switch. Those can be warm as long as they aren't "too" hot and are handling no more than 600 watts. If it's not a dimmer switch, shut the switch off immediately and – you guessed it! – don't use it again until a professional can assess the situation.

As for a warmer-than-average bulb – try a lower wattage bulb or switch to LED or CFL bulbs, which produce less heat (and last longer). If neither of these options work, turn off the light and call a professional.

#5 – You don’t have GFCIs installed in your home

A cord is plugged into a GFCI outlet

Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) help to prevent a dangerous situation from happening in your home. These outlets are required in the "wet" areas of your home – bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room – and "trip" a breaker in the outlet or the panel when they detect an interruption in the power.

(Think dropping a curling iron into a bathroom sink.)

If you live in an older home, you may not have had these installed. Call a qualified electrician to install them immediately.

Savvi Insurance Group, Inc., based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is committed to helping families and individuals prevent losses, stay safe, and protect the people and things they love. We do that by providing our customers with our cutting-edge smart home security system along with a suite of services and benefits designed to proactively predict and prevent losses from happening in the first place.

We then back that up with comprehensive, modernized insurance protection and concierge-style claims handling, at prices that recognize and reward the benefits of a smarter, better protected home.

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1 Comment

Chris Gaffaney
Chris Gaffaney
Nov 17, 2023

It's great to see a Locksmith Durham NC company placing such importance on electrical safety. Your commitment to ensuring a secure environment not only protects your team but also adds significant value to your services

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