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Seven Common Winter Electrical Issues


Winter is here, and you’re probably using more electricity much more than usual. With all the lights, appliances, and the furnace constantly running, there’s a good chance you’ll run into electrical issues. Whether it’s bad wiring, a damaged appliance, or a power surge, electrical problems can happen at any time. The good news is that while there is a list of common electrical issues, there are also solutions to ensure your home stays lit and safe this winter.An electrical issue can happen at any time, but most of them can be prevented with the right care and practices. To be better prepared and safe, here are seven common electrical issues that can pop up this winter:

Flickering lights. Considered one of the most common electrical issues, you might experience a few flickering lights. Make sure the light bulb is tightly screwed in, if that doesn’t work, replace it with a new one. If replacing the bulb doesn’t seem to work, however, the issue is most likely a bad connection. Fixing any wiring issues should be left to a licensed electrician, as they can safely repair your light fixture.

Burnt out light bulbs. A light bulb that burns out too quickly is another sign of electrical issues. It’s most likely the issue is with the bulb itself. The problem could also be that your power company is delivering more power than your light bulb is designed to handle, shortening their lifespan. Replacing the light bulbs in your house with ones that can receive a higher voltage might solve the problem.

Sparking electrical outlets. Plugging into an outlet can occasionally cause a few sparks to fly, but not all sparks are harmless. A sparking outlet can be a sign of a much bigger electrical problem. When an outlet gets too hot, it can melt away the protective coating on the wires, causing electricity to jump through the bare wires. A sparking outlet should be treated by an electrician right away as it puts you at risk of an electrical fire. It’s also a concern if one or more outlet’s don’t work at all. 

Circuit breaker frequently trips. Every homeowner deals with a tripped circuit breaker at some point, but if it frequently trips, it could be a number of problems. If your circuit breaker is tripping constantly, it could be overloaded.  You can try plugging a few appliances into different outlets. You can also consider upgrading your electrical panel so it can handle a larger electrical load. Power surges, which can be caused by power outages, can also cause your circuit breaker to trip. A short circuit could also be the culprit. Whatever is causing your circuit breaker to trip will need to be inspected by an electrician.

Damaged and frayed wires. Be on the lookout for damaged, frayed, and exposed wires as they put you at risk of electrocution and electrical fires. Look for any patches of exposed wire, cuts, black or brown stains, or a nasty burning smell, as that usually indicates damaged wiring. If your home has damaged wires, replace them immediately.

Buzzing sounds and foul odors. If there is an electrical issue, you might smell it or hear it before you see it. If you can smell burning coming out of an outlet, call an electrician immediately. Outlets and appliances that function normally should make little to no noise, but if there is an issue, it can produce a buzzing sound. If you hear buzzing from any of your outlets, call an electrician immediately.

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