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In the “do-it-yourself” internet era, along with the rise of hardware stores like Lowes and Home Depot in most areas, home improvement has never been more approachable for the average homeowner. But for all the ways to save a buck working on your home, a mistake in working on your electrical system can come at a much steeper cost than just some extra cash. Last year, in the US alone, approximately 1000 people died as a result of electrical injuries, along with at least 30,000 shock incidents, leading to burns and other complications. Regarding self-evaluating electrical systems, the risk rarely outweighs the reward. Here are times when it’s more than a good idea to hire an electrician:

Moving to a New Home

Finding a new place to call “home” is an exciting time with many moving parts before taking possession of it. To protect yourself and anyone who may live with you, it’s highly recommended that a licensed electrician inspect the property for any electrical issues before moving in your belongings.

While some electrical shortcomings might appear observable to the untrained eye, many residential electrical problems begin in the electrical panel and can go unnoticed until a large problem arises. Namely, fire hazards.

Reduce the chances of problems right out of the gate to set yourself up for long-term success in your new place. 

Warm Outlets or Switches

Perhaps one of the simplest tests for potential electrical issues can be conducted with the back of your hand. 

When you enter a room and turn on the light switch or plug something into an outlet, place the back of your bare hand against the cover plate. If the plate is warm to the touch, this could be a sign of a wiring issue behind it that’s generating heat and needs further inspection.

Treat this as a home maintenance routine, and test your switches and outlets periodically throughout the year. Just because one switch was fine six months ago doesn’t mean it still is today. Wiring problems can be a slow-growth issue for a long time that suddenly escalates into a much larger problem.  

Pesky Flickering Lights

Flickering lights are usually a sign of an overloaded circuit or a wiring issue and require the services of an electrician. A flickering light that returns to normal after a short amount of time may be a mild inconvenience for daily living and, therefore, easy to ignore, but it can lead to whole home outages, so it’s best to face the problem head-on as soon as you discover it. 

Trip-Happy Circuit Breakers

Have you ever plugged a hairdryer in and suddenly the power stops working? This may be a sign that the breaker was tripped. 

The good news is that those circuit breakers that trip protect you by avoiding a fire when a circuit is overloaded. But when it happens all the time, it’s a telltale sign that your electrical panel box may need some work.

Burning Smells

This is the most obvious, and scary, sign that you need an electrician right away. If you ever notice a burning smell in your home and no electrical items like the oven are in use, immediately turn off the power in your home and pick up your cell phone to call a professional.

Most importantly, get yourself and any other occupants to a safe spot away from the home before calling to hire an electrician.  

Safety First

If you notice any of these signs or are experiencing others that just “don’t seem right,” it’s time to bring in a professional.

This applies not only to moving into a new home but also to building a new home. Hire a trusted electrician to install your electrical system to avoid potentially dangerous electrical issues later on. 

Be sure not to try electrical work yourself. Doing so could result in serious harm, burns, and even death.

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