Every year, fire departments across the United States respond to over 46,000 house fires resulting from electrical issues. Seemingly minor signs of an electrical problem can indicate major issues with your wiring.

Keep your family and your home safe when you reduce the risk of fire. Here are a few indications you should contact an electrician to troubleshoot and make repairs.

Lights That Flicker May be Signs of an Electrical Problem

Flickering lights can be a sign of a problem. If it is just one light, the problem may be the lightbulb or the fixture itself. Try to tighten the bulb or replace the fixture. However, this could indicate a more serious issue if it’s happening throughout the house.

Hot Outlets

Some appliances generate a small amount of heat during regular operation. While the cord or plug may feel slightly warm, the outlet should never feel hot to the touch. Hot outlets and switch plates are some of the most common signs of an electrical problem. If you notice a hot outlet, don’t use it. Unplug appliances and devices and call a professional.

Unexplained Burning Smell

An urgent sign of an electrical problem is a burning smell. The odor may be described as smelling like melting plastic. Try to determine if the smell is coming from a specific outlet or the breaker box, and immediately turn off the power to that part of the home until an electrician can assess the situation.

Loose Outlets

An electrical outlet that feels loose or cannot grip the plug’s prongs is a hazard. The wiring inside can become damaged, leading to a fire. The problem will worsen with time, so it’s essential to call an electrician to repair or replace the outlet.

Circuit Breaker Issues are Signs of an Electrical Problem

The circuit breakers in your home keep everyone safe by stopping the flow of electricity the moment that a circuit is overloaded. The circuit won’t overheat, and an electrical fire is less likely to occur. It should be rare that a breaker trips. If you regularly trip a specific fuse, this could indicate a problem. Hire a trained electrician to determine if the breaker is going bad, if you have too many items powered by the circuit, or if there is a more serious electrical problem.

Coastline Home Inspection provides inspections in the Hampton Roads area. Contact us to schedule an appointment if you’re buying or selling a home.