Electrical systems aren’t something most people give much thought to until, suddenly, there’s a problem. One of the biggest mistakes people make is assuming that they can do certain types of electrical work themselves. While it may be possible, it can also be extremely dangerous. This article will discuss all of the situations in which you should enlist the help of a licensed electrician.

Electrical Installation Work

The National Electric Code and most local codes require that most electrical installation projects be performed by a licensed electrician. While a task like replacing a light fixture isn’t that difficult, it is best to not attempt it yourself. There is always a risk you could get electrocuted if you don’t shut the power off correctly. However, the main reason you should hire an electrician is to ensure that the work is done correctly. Improper electrical installations can be a significant fire hazard. If any of the electrical connections are even slightly loose, it can lead to the electrical current arcing between the live and neutral wires. This produces sparks that can quickly start a fire. Many types of major electrical installations often require an electrical permit and an inspection in order for work to begin. This includes things like rewiring or adding a new circuit to your home. Other common scenarios include upgrading your electrical panel or installing a standby generator. Only a licensed master electrician can apply for the required permit and schedule the inspection. If you don’t get a permit for the work and don’t have it inspected, you could potentially receive a large fine. You’ll usually be forced to have all of the work completely redone by an electrician, so it’s better to hire a professional in the first place.

Lights Flickering When Using Large Appliances

One fairly common electrical issue is when lights in different parts of the home flicker when a major appliance comes on. This can include your HVAC system, microwave, clothes dryer, vacuum, or even a hair dryer. While many people think of this issue as merely an annoyance, the fact is that it can be a sign of a relatively major electrical issue. In some cases, flickering lights indicate that the home doesn’t have sufficient electrical service. You may need to upgrade to a higher-amp electrical panel. However, it can also be a sign that you have old, damaged, or deteriorating wiring or circuits that are overloaded. Both of these issues can also be significant fire hazards. It’s always crucial that you have an electrician perform a complete safety inspection in this situation.

You Notice an Electrical Burning Smell or Smoke

Any time you notice a burning smell or have an outlet that starts smoking, you need to immediately act. These issues are emergencies and are highly likely to lead to a fire. These issues are almost always caused by damaged wiring or a loose connection. Both can cause the wires to heat up or produce sparks that start melting the outlet. If you see an outlet start smoking or know where the burning smell is coming from, you can turn off the power to that part of the home. This is done by shutting off the appropriate circuit breaker. If you’re unsure of where the smell is coming from or don’t know which breaker to shut off, you should shut off the main breaker. As long as you act quickly and immediately shut off the power, you should be able to prevent a fire from occurring.

You Have a Circuit Breaker That Frequently Trips

Circuit breakers are designed to immediately trip and stop the power from continuing to flow to an individual circuit if it ever gets overloaded. You can easily overload a circuit and cause the breaker to trip if you have too many things plugged into it. This is especially true if there are multiple items turned on at one time. If you have a particular circuit breaker that frequently trips when you’re not drawing much power from it, you will want to have an electrician inspect it as soon as possible. In most cases, this issue indicates that the wiring in the circuit is damaged. Damaged wiring can cause the current to jump from the live wire to the neutral wire. This causes a short circuit that allows the electricity to flow unrestricted and the voltage to spike. Whenever the voltage spikes, it can cause the wiring to overheat. Again, this creates a substantial fire risk. The solution to this problem is often to have an electrician rewire the circuit. However, the problem could also lie with a particular light fixture or outlet on that circuit. It may need to be repaired or replaced. If the breaker that controls a dedicated large-appliance circuit keeps tripping, it can also indicate that the appliance itself has an electrical issue that is causing it to frequently overload the circuit.

Electrical Panel Feels Hot or Makes Unusual Sounds

An electrical panel may feel slightly warm, but it should never feel hot when you touch it. If it does feel hot, you should immediately shut off the main breaker. Otherwise, a fire could start. This issue usually indicates that one of the wires in the circuit is damaged or one of the connections is loose. A loud humming sound coming from your electrical panel is also an emergency situation where you need to shut off the power. This sound almost always indicates that one of the circuits is overloaded. The breaker for that circuit didn’t trip like it’s designed to. This is another potential fire hazard since it can cause the wiring to overheat. A buzzing sound coming from your electrical panel is an even more serious issue that indicates there is a dangerous arc fault. Arc faults can cause extreme burns or fatal electrocution, so you shouldn’t even touch the panel or go near it in this situation. Instead, we’d recommend contacting your electrical company’s emergency number. They will need to shut off the power to your home before an electrician can safely inspect the electrical panel and repair the issue. Eck Services is a top-rated electrical contractor that serves Kansas customers in Wichita, Pratt, Kingman, and the surrounding areas. We’ve been providing area residents with top-notch electrical repair services for more than 15 years, and we’re always available 24/7 to handle any electrical emergencies that may arise. Our team also specializes in all types of electrical installation, including EV charging stations, whole-home surge protection, home generators, lighting, and more. We’re also proud to be the number-one choice for heating, air conditioning, and plumbing services. When you choose us for any of your home service needs, you can be confident you’ll receive outstanding customer service and exceptional workmanship at a fair, affordable price. Whether you need an electrical inspection or any other home service, contact Eck Services today to get the expert assistance you need.